As the months have raced by and we find ourselves realising that the College year is fast coming to an end, Trinity News takes a look at what some of College’s many publications have done this year.
Publications are an integral part of a vivid and participatory campus life. Whether it’s newspapers, magazines or creative writing journals, thousands of students have the choice to freely pick up stories that matter to them. Many of these publications are long-standing pillars of Trinity, with Icarus dating all the way back to 1950. However, this year has also seen new, up-and-coming publications blossoming around campus. The feminist journal nemesis and SUAS-run magazine Stand have proved worthy additions to discussion and debate in College. Trinity Life has compiled a selection of publications and an overview of their achievements during the past year.
Trinity Film Review
The Trinity Film Review was founded in 2008 by a passionate group of film students, making this its ninth year of publication. It is a dedicated film magazine that strives to cover the full spectrum of cinema, from the arthouse to the multiplex, the silent era to the present. The magazine takes pride in the freedom they allow their writers to express themselves and in their love of film, and prints reviews, interviews, opinion pieces and retrospectives.
Trinity has a strong film culture, and TFR is one of the only publications in College that provides a unique space for students to critique and creatively delve into the film industry. Its singular focus allows it to cover a more diverse range of film-related topics than other magazines.
An easy-going publication to get involved with, there is no requirement for any specialist academic ability or creative interest, nor are stressful demands imposed on the writers. Many TFR writers go on to be involved with other publications, as the open and accessible nature of the magazine provides a perfect opportunity for students to start writing for a College publication.
This year, TFR has strived to consolidate its strength heading into the future. There has been a great buzz surrounding both of the issues put out this year. TFR is a small enough publication but has a huge amount of enthusiasm attached to it. Over 40 students contributed to the magazine over the course of the year, either in print or online. There has been a wave of new writers and a myriad of distinct voices joining forces to offer Trinity a thought-provoking, forward-looking film review.
Of the two issues published, the first, titled Women in Film, was released in December and received a great response from readers. The second issue, Music in Film, has only hit campus recently – students can pick one up in numerous locations around College.
The editor of TFR, Liam Farrell, described every aspect of the publication process as enjoyable: “It’s really exciting to watch the magazine grow from a few ideas into a fully realised publication over the course of a few weeks. It’s always great when pieces start to come in from our writers, as they are all absolutely mad about cinema. It really shows in their writing which is consistently inventive, entertaining, and surprising. The publication weekends are stressful but good fun too.” He then mentioned that the biggest joy is always the moment when you get the first print copies in your hands.
Icarus was founded in 1950 by Alec Reid, a professor who came to Trinity from Oxford, as a creative writing journal that fosters a vibrant discourse surrounding the arts amongst a population that can often forget about art. According to some, its halcyon days came in the early 1960s when the magazine was guided by the most prominent “campus poets” of the time, including Brendan Kennelly, Rudi Holzapfel, Michael Longley, Derek Mahon, and many others.
As a publication, Icarus strives to maintain an active conversation about the arts by covering both what’s happening and what’s coming. Icarus showcases student work to Trinity students as well as to the outside world, and there has been increased focus recently on bringing in extremely talented and internationally renowned Featured Writers whose work can provide readers with lessons on craft – important in a college with very little instruction in creative writing, especially poetry. Icarus is published three times a year, corresponding roughly to College’s three terms.
The vision of the two editors, who are elected annually, shapes the magazine in a different manner each year, but that vision is always a response to a fixed set of aims. There has been a thread running through the history of Icarus, but notable differences have emerged from year to year. Last year, Icarus focused on its function as a student publication and thus prioritized the showcasing of work that, while uniformly good, aimed to achieve a wide variety of ends from an aesthetic point of view. This year the magazine was taken in a different direction, trying instead to circulate the most experimental work emerging from a space in which this sort of work is not ordinarily talked about. There is a focus on trying to disrupt the forms of experience people generally think of as the stuff of art.
One of this year’s editors, Leo Dunsker, stated that reading the submissions was the biggest joy in the publication process. All are assessed anonymously, and there aren’t many chances to read student work as one might read the work of a successful poet. “Anything that we publish, as well as much of what we reject, has gone through a great deal of scrutiny. Learning to pay attention in that way to the work that others are producing is a uniquely challenging experience. Suddenly, we’re no longer writers, but readers,” said Dunsker. This clarifies that the selection process and artistic weaving-together of each issue takes quite a lot of hard thought, in order to evaluate potential and function within the framework of each collection.
The Attic is a creative writing journal produced annually by the Trinity Literary Society. It first appeared under the name “Fighting for the Sofa” in 1997, and as “The Fridge” the following year. It was in 1999 that the journal first appeared as “The Attic”, the name which the society then adopted as its permanent title. The Attic showcases creative work from members of the Literary Society and other students. The journal stands out from the other creative writing journals in College as one that actively eschews a specific tone or genre so as to receive as diverse a range of submissions as possible. As its name suggests, The Attic aims for an eclectic mix, featuring works which might easily slip through the woodwork in other more formally categorised journals.
It becomes quite protean as a result. This year’s Volume XX melds fantasy and speculative fiction, comic magical realism, polemic poetry and experimental drama, among other themes and forms. One of the most rewarding tasks for the team that works to publish The Attic is the forming of such disparate works into a cohesive whole. Still, the pieces retain their independent impact and engagement with each other against an underlying structure which changes from year to year depending on submissions. The Attic is an innovative and unpredictable creative journal; one can stumble upon anything while flicking through its pages. Last year’s Volume XIX was nominated for Best Journal at the CSC awards.
The Trinity Literary Society pours a lot of energy into their publication and every issue is an act of synthesis, featuring a mismatched yet soothing collection of pieces. The selection process is assessed anonymously by the president of the society (this year, Ruth Atkins) and is then discussed with other committee members in order to create compelling issues brimming with brilliant student and staff work.
Stand is one of the latest additions to College, being only in its first year of print. The magazine is a SUAS initiative, functioning as a platform for global development and discussion. It stands out in more than one respect as a different kind of College publication by breaking stories overlooked by other publications. Stand endeavours to provide accurate facts and real evidence, fulfilling a quest for the concrete despite being conceived in the era of “alternative truth”. It aims to leave its readers more informed about the world around them, and to encourage them to become more proactive within society.
It seems reasonable that Stand would be designed to capture a student’s attention. Big bright images and featured photography make up a significant part of the magazine. The magazine’s focus is to make an impact and raise awareness of issues that stretch beyond College life, while connecting the two in intricate ways. Stand is published once a semester and placed around campus for students to enjoy.
Stand’s current editor, Úna Harty, expressed how happy she is with the impact the magazine has already had. “As editor, I am happy with all that we’ve achieved this year, but I hope that next year’s editor, Niamh Lynch, can take it up a notch and spread it around campus but maintain the structure from this year. The biggest joy has been the launch parties. We had Colm O’ Gorman who came to speak at our first, and Lynne Ruane [came to] this semester’s launch.”
Stand was nominated for Best Society Publication at the CSC awards this year and was also nominated for Best College Society Publication at the Smedias, the only Trinity publication to be nominated for this award.
Nemesis is another up and coming Trinity publication which sets itself apart as a platform wherein marginalised voices in College can be prioritised within a feminist framework. Nemesis had its genesis in Hilary term of last year, and its first issue was launched this term. Editors Laura McCormack and Jenny Moran felt that there was a definite space in the realm of College publications for a journal that explores discussions around contemporary feminism through a variety of writing styles and media.
Nemesis accepts academic writing, features and opinion pieces, as well as interviews and creative writing. Student artwork and photography are also a central part of the publication, opening up the possibilities of exploration and inquiry within feminist discourse to a myriad of different platforms. The philosophy behind nemesis is the prioritisation of feminist discourse which aims for an intersectional approach that recognises that gender does not exist in a sociopolitical vacuum. It is important to recognise other axes of oppression when discussing issues of gender.
The second issue of nemesis will be launched at the end of April and is currently in production. Both McCormack and Moran have singled out the submissions period as the most exciting time during the publications process. “It’s fantastic to have the opportunity to read through the works of the incredibly talented contributors who submit to us.” Nemesis holds launch parties with the publication of every issue, where featured writers read their work and copies are offered to the public.
The Piranha is Trinity’s satirical newspaper. Originating as a magazine and formerly known as Piranha!, it was rebranded in 2009. The first edition claimed it was established in 1863, though official College records state that it was founded in 1978. Since 2010, the magazine has been transformed into a newspaper, changing its format to Berliner, and typically releases five issues each year, including an “Election Special”. In this, The Piranha undertakes a caustic parody of the candidates in the Students’ Union elections. According to the current editor, Hannah Beresford, The Piranha’s only mission is to make people laugh. “It doesn’t get more complicated than that. It is the only publication on campus whose primary purpose is humour.”
The Piranha varies substantially each year depending on the editorial team and their coordination of humourous content within each issue. The general philosophy of The Piranha is not to take oneself too seriously. Beresford’s main aspiration is summed up in the motto: “Be gas.” This is reflected in the newspaper’s caption on the Trinity Publications website, where new writers are encouraged to join the world of satire, “unless they’re shit”.
Beresford’s biggest joy in editing The Piranha are the moments during the writing day when the team comes up with something outrageously hilarious, leaving everyone in fits of laughter. “I also love when I see people reading it around campus and giggling away to themselves,” said Beresford. The Piranha is a publication that jocularly satirises the happenings in College whilst also poking fun at our underlying social intricacies and prejudices.