Budding writers, aspiring artists, and literary enthusiasts can all find a niche and showcase their talents in Dunbar’s literary community. One venue for those talents is a publication called Incriminating Ink. Affectionately known as “Mr. Egan’s brainchild,” Incriminating Ink is Dunbar’s premier student-run literary magazine.
Dunbar’s Creative Writing 2 and 3 students are in charge of the preparation, publication, and distribution of the magazine. They release one new edition every school year. Seniors Hailley Wheeler and Maggie Garnett are the magazine’s editors, and the entire staff works under the advisement of Mr. Gary Egan, the magazine’s faculty advisor. “[Mr. Egan] steers us in the right direction and acts as a buffer against any biases we may have towards any of the pieces we review,” editor Hailley Wheeler explained.
Preparing a new edition of Incriminating Ink begins with a call to the Dunbar community for original student work. Students are encouraged to submit pieces directly to the magazine, and some English teachers offer extra credit to stimulate submissions. During this period the magazine staff receives anything from poems to original drawings; according to Wheeler, the most popular submissions are love poems, science fiction/fantasy stories, and personal pieces.
After the submission period, the staff carefully selects the pieces to include in the new edition of Incriminating Ink. Their selection process resembles that of a college admissions office. All submissions are read and then discussed. Following discussion, Wheeler and Garnett lead the staff in a vote to determine whether or not the reviewed piece should be accepted for publication.
Some pieces already accepted for the 2013 edition of Incriminating Ink are senior Lauren Comberger’s poem “Growing Pains,” senior Maggie Garnett’s poem “Escaping You,” and junior Art Xu’s story “The Potatoes, Part 2.” Part one of Xu’s story was published in the 2012 edition of Incriminating Ink.
Once the content of the new magazine is finalized, the staff edit the accepted pieces and determine the placement of each piece in the magazine. This process takes up almost the entirety of second semester and culminates in the release of a new edition of Incriminating Ink towards the end of the school year.
“[I really like] seeing all our hard work being published into a real literary magazine,” Wheeler said. “We feel that these kids whose pieces get accepted should get recognition for their talent, and we really do believe that our literature is worth a spot on your bookshelf.”
The magazine staff sells current and previous editions of Incriminating Ink at a price of three dollars for one and five dollars for two. The Incriminating Ink staff continues to have a great vision for their publication.
“[We would really like] more students to know about it,” Wheeler explained.
Incriminating Ink gives students who enjoy creative writing and art a unique voice within Dunbar’s literary community. With the ambition and hard work of the student contributors and the staff, Incriminating Ink undoubtedly has the potential to become a Dunbar best-seller.
The staff will be at Joseph-Beth Booksellers on June 6 to sell and sign copies.