Matthew Stepanic was sitting in his creative non-fiction writing class last winter when his instructor, English and Film Studies professor Janice Williamson, threw out an idea to the class.
“She said, what if we put all our best pieces [from this class] into a magazine?”
That day, Glass Buffalo was born, a magazine created by students and recent graduates in order to provide a publishing platform for writing and design students.
“People are writing excellent work here at the U of A, and no one but classmates and professors are reading it,” Stepanic said.
Stepanic and some of his classmates collected work from the 11 students in their WRITE 399 class and applied for a grant from the Collective Body for Arts Students so they could print copies.
“At first, that was kind of the end of it, but then we thought, wouldn’t it be great for other students in other writing classes to have this opportunity [to publish] too?” he said.
Now, he and his fellow students are trying to establish the magazine as a regular feature, as other Canadian universities have done to share the work of writing students . Ideally, it would be published twice a year, with submissions from creative writing and design students.
“The mandate now is to try to share the work of U of A students with the wider community, whether that is the rest of Edmonton or even the rest of Canada,” Stepanic said.
“Many people don’t know that the U of A has a great creative writing program.”
The name for the magazine, Glass Buffalo, originated from prolific local author and Arts alumnus Todd Babiak (’95 BA). In his novel The Garneau Block, a cast of Edmontonian characters suggest that the city build a museum in the shape of a buffalo head, made of glass. The first essay in the magazine, written by Dorothy Roberts and entitled “Glass Buffalo,” plays on that idea from Babiak’s novel, and suggests that a new downtown Edmonton arena could be shaped like a “Glass Buffalo” too.
“We liked that it was a literary, and local, reference. We also thought it sort of implied the mythic power of the U of A and its writing students,” Stepanic said, “which is an idea from Todd Babiak as well.”
He said he hopes that this project will take off.
To find out more, read articles and stay up-to-date with the magazine, follow Glass Buffalo on Twitter.