Lit. J. Launches Online Creative Magazine

KIOSK, which is the first stand-alone publication of the UC Irvine Literary Journalism program, and includes a staff of student contributors, editors and faculty members, published its first issue last month. The magazine aims to provide students with an alternative medium to showcase their writing talents.
Patricia Pierson, the assistant director of the Department of Literary Journalism, spearheaded the project and is the publication’s editor. In the ‘Welcome’ section of the online version, Pierson described the down-to-earth material that the magazine plans to cover: ‘KIOSK will privilege the small story over the grand and will showcase the modest narratives of the everyday.’
In addition to Pierson, lecturer Amy DePaul served as the magazine’s reporting mentor. The pair was joined by a healthy crop of students, composed of numerous contributors and more than a dozen editors.
One individual who worked as a student editor on the publication was Lauren Biron, a fourth-year double-major in literary journalism and history. Biron, who worked on the magazine from the beginning, explained the transformation that KIOSK went through from its initial conception to the release of its first issue.
‘Initially, our publication was intended to be more of a journal similar to the Virginia Quarterly Review, rather than a magazine. However, the group decided that a slightly more relaxed and accessible feel was appropriate for showcasing these pieces that really highlight the human condition and everyday life,’ Biron said.
Journals such as the Virginia Quarterly Review typically consist of a diverse range of submissions, including poetry, fiction and essays, among other types of writing. By contrast, KIOSK exclusively highlights literary journalism pieces, which tell detailed stories through such means as physically descriptive accounts and turning real-life individuals into characters in the traditional narrative sense.
Although KIOSK is composed of a narrower range of writing types than a traditional college journal, the same cannot be said of the material the publication looks to cover.
Based on the stories showcased in the magazine’s first issue, the scope of the publication looks to be boundless as topics range from societal taboos to aspiring stars.
KIOSK’s inaugural issue opens with ‘Fantasy Female,’ which tells the story of a mother who pays her daughter’s tuition working as a dominatrix. Scrolling down to the bottom of the Web page is the issue’s closer, ‘The White City,’ an account of an abandoned landmark and one man’s unique view on preservation.
Other stories detail the streets of Los Angeles and a writer returning to their native country of Kenya.
Members of KIOSK celebrated its launch on Dec. 6, 2007 at the UCI Bookstore with food, music and live readings.
According to Biron, while the magazine has proven some success through the production of its first issue, the second issue may be the key for KIOSK to truly establish itself.
‘The first issue of KIOSK contained work only from UCI students. My main hope for KIOSK is that it will gather works from individuals outside of the school. Just to see it published for two years consecutively would [to] me [be] amazing, because it would mean we have established a tradition,’ Biron said.
With one issue under its belt, KIOSK has taken the first step toward establishing itself as a literary tradition at UCI. In the upcoming months, time will determine to what extent the group can maintain and improve upon the standard of quality set by its first issue.
Although much has been completed for KIOSK’s next issue, the group is still looking for new writers and will accept submissions for the fall 2008 issue of KIOSK until Oct. 3, 2008.