Writing without being published is like getting all dressed up with no place to go. Largely due to the efforts of Salt Lake Community College instructor Lisa Bickmore, one Bruin student, Sabriel Parker, has earned the opportunity to see her craft published in print. The publishers call SLCC home also, as members of one of Bickmore’s classes have gained real-world experience by publishing the entire book on their own.
“The English Department thought it would be a great addition to our curriculum to have the capacity to publish things both print and digitally so that we could help students learn the whole idea about circulating…we wanted the students to have the opportunity to see a publication through from start to finish,” Bickmore said.
Thus, the Chapbook Contest was born. Open to all students last fall, Bickmore explained that entries were to be a short fiction manuscript, and that the winner would have his or her work published. Parker was the chosen victor.
Enter Bickmore’s Publication Studies class. At the beginning of the semester, the students split themselves into teams. Each team was responsible for one facet of the production, whether it was layout, art or public relations.
“The whole idea is that everyone would get a chance to get their hands on the actual printing and binding,” Bickmore said.
“It’s really cool because it’s a great opportunity for students. We’re not just memorizing multiple choice. It’s actually something concrete you can add to your resume,” Jillaire Jackson, a member of the public relations crew said.
The class is doing much more than putting binding on some pieces of paper.
“The cool thing about it is that the cover was designed by the student art team. We have some students who are documenting the whole process of what it takes to publish a book,” Jackson said.
She also added that as part of the public relations work, a website and Facebook page are being created to market the book.
“Our goal is to distribute 250 copies. We’ll be distributing them at the readings and the opening release at the Nox Art Gallery and then after that we’re going to put any leftover copies in coffee houses and places like that,” she said.
Then there’s Parker, the contest winner. Though she says she was “really grateful” when she found out she was the winner, to her, this work means much more than merely winning a contest.
Entitled God’s Country, Parker describes her entry as “mostly non-fiction. It’s kind of autobiographical as well.”
A struggling teenager, Parker moved to Israel in 2008 to live with her grandparents for six months.
“It’s [the book] about my journey there and my search for God,” she said.
She shared her gratitude for the opportunity to enter the contest by saying, “Putting it all together was really important. It was like a completion of the journey. It was really cathartic. It helped remind me of the experiences that I had while I was there.”
An aspiring author since she was a little girl, Parker said, “I had this story in mind for a long time and this is what got me able to put it all together and have a deadline. It was the motivation to get it out. It was really good for me.”
Featuring a reading of God’s Country by Parker, the opening release of the book will take place on Thursday, April 14 at 7:00 p.m. at Nox Art Gallery, 440 South 400 West, Suite H in Salt Lake City. On Friday, April 15, another reading will be held at noon in Room 226 of the Administration Building at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus. Both events are free.