There’s a lot more to majoring in English than just sitting through classes and submitting assignments. The English department offers countless opportunities for current Concordia students to show their writing skills and talents outside a classroom setting by encouraging them to write for various student publications such as the newspaper, The Concordian, and contributing to the student literary magazines such as Ascent and AfterWork.
Published every spring, AfterWork is open for student submission for all forms of English writing such as literary review of fiction, poetry, essays and art. AfterWork is the first venue for aspiring writers to have their work published. It also sponsors readings by student and faculty writers, which serve to bring a community of writers and readers together at Concordia College.
Anna Bushy, the student editor of AfterWork, got involved with the magazine her sophomore year of college as the literary editor. Double majoring in English literature and global studies with minors in women’s and gender studies and environmental studies, Bushy returned as the editor-in-chief for AfterWork her senior year and now she leads an enthusiastic team of writers, copy editors, graphic designers and artists.
Originally from Arthur, North Dakota, Bushy oversees the bigger picture of the magazine publication which involves curating the image of the journal, advertising, managing social media and contacting printing companies.
Bushy is interested in making AfterWork a stronger presence on campus. The word about the magazine was lost at its time of publication in spring 2020 because of the COVID outbreak that sent students home and made them unable to pick up copies of AfterWork and learn more about their peers’ talents and the mission of AfterWork.
“I have a creative and energetic team of editors and we are ready to pour our soul into this journal. I want everyone to pick up this journal and feel like they could relate to art and literature in it. I want it to be super accessible to everyone because covid made it fade away,” Bushy said.
Sonja Flancher, AfterWork’s 2020 editor-in-chief, expresses a similar sentiment to Bushy. In her words, “it was bittersweet,” when Flancher received an email from the printing company in March 2020 telling her that AfterWork copies were ready to pick up.
“We know in March that was when the whole world collapsed. So when I returned to Concordia to pick up my things, I ensured that the copies got distributed to multiple departments although students were not there,” Flancher said.
AfterWork has planted the seed that helped Flancher move forward with her career in publication and English writing. Currently interning at Macmillan Publishers as a marketing intern in New York City and working towards getting a masters degree from the New School, Flancher credits AfterWork for giving her the experience to discover her love and passion for English writing and books in general.
“AfterWork was my first experience related to publishing. I fell in love with the idea of seeing the behind scenes and the work that goes into the making of something like a book or a journal,” Flancher said.
The magazine started in 1987, and it has been published every spring semester by students. In the past, the magazine was split into two sections; a literature section and an art section. But in more recent editions, art and literature were integrated together where the reader can find art on one page and literature on the next.
“We combined them because they complement each other, making the reading and viewing experience more enjoyable, exciting and makes it more fresh,” Bushy said.
Bushy says there’s no right way to read AfterWork, just like there’s no right way to interpret art pieces. Julia Walk, assistant professor of mathematics and the chair of the Students Affairs Committee also sees the magazine in the same way.
“One of the fun things about Concordia is (that you can) be involved in a range of activities and clubs. AfterWork, as the student literary magazine, is a great place to put your writing whether it’s your interest, your passion, or are just doing it for fun. AfterWork is a place to showcase people’s interest regardless of what your major or what they usually spend their time doing,” Walk said.
For Bushy, contributing to AfterWork helps make sense of students’ experience and the world around them.
“There’s something for everyone in any copy of Afterwork,” Bushy said. “You pick it up and you find something that speaks to you in any way, whether that is a certain line in a poem or a beautiful painting,” she said.
AfterWork is receiving submissions until December 10, 2021. All works of fiction, nonfiction and art can be submitted to email@example.com.