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50th anniversary approaches for literary journal

Halie Johnson

Mills’ undergraduate literary journal The Walrus is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year with a new Web site and a special anniversary issue. It is now accepting submissions.

To raise funds and encourage submissions for this year’s upcoming issue, The Walrus staff is inviting the Mills community to join them for a reading and fundraiser Nov. 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the Student Union.

The Walrus has requested more funds from the Associate Students of Mills College (ASMC) this year to ensure this year’s publication goes off without a hitch.

“Last year’s budget was quite low – several thousand dollars less, in fact, than what it had been as far back as 2001,” said senior Lucy Kee, Walrus editor, adding that the budget should increase slightly each year to continue to produce a quality literary journal.

She submitted a new budget request to the ASMC on Oct. 4, requesting $7,700. Although Kee said that the ASMC had decided on a new budget as of Oct. 31, The Walrus account balance read the same as before. Even if the budget was increased to the balance the ASMC student representative supposedly quoted Kee, The Walrus will still need to raise an estimated $1000 or more.

At press time, efforts to aquire information from the ASMC directly have not received a response.

For the first time ever, The Walrus has launched a Web site, designed by Kee, at It includes the history of the journal, links to pieces in the current issue of The Walrus and instructions for submitting work for the 50th anniversary issue. An archive of past issues is soon to come. The Walrus Web site can also be reached from the Mills College Web site’s student publications page.

The reading will have refreshments for sale and there will be a suggested, but not required, donation of $5.

While Walrus staff hoped to serve beer and wine, staff member Belinda Perez, also a senior, said they can’t due to strict school policies requiring additional public security at undergraduate events that serve alcohol, which they can’t afford.

Last year’s edition of The Walrus did not find its way into student hands until the beginning of fall semester instead of the regular end of spring handout. This was due to a variety of problems, including communication with the journal’s printer and an extension in the submission deadline, according to Kee. This year, Kee is considering other printers, but The Walrus staff is depending on more funds from the ASMC and additional fundraising efforts.

The Walrus publishes works of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry and all two-dimensional forms of art, including photographs of sculpture and music.

“I would definitely like to see more fiction in this issue and in particular young adult fiction, which doesn’t seem to have been submitted much in the past,” Kee added. “Basically, we’re just hoping to get some of everything.”

They are particularly interested in Alice in Wonderland-themed art for this issue because the journal’s title has its origins in Lewis Carroll’s poem “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” according to last year’s co-editor, senior Amelia Chandler Lewy.

Because of its origins, Kee said it seemed natural to do a Wonderland theme.

“The Wonderland theme is only going to be applied to the design of the issue, not necessarily to the writing that is published in it,” Kee said.

The deadline for submissions is Dec. 1 so that The Walrus staff can review them over the holiday break. Kee said she does not intend to extend the deadline this year due to last year’s difficulties.

Although this is an undergraduate-run literary journal, The Walrus accepts submissions from all members of the Bay Area community, including Mills faculty. This year, the staff anticipates submissions from distinguished visiting writer Daniel Alarcon and poet, Mills alum and former editor of The Walrus Dorianne Laux. In the past, the journal has published works by Stephen Ratcliffe, Elmaz Abinader, Chana Bloch and Truong Tran.
The Dec. 1 deadline may be difficult as it is right before finals, but The Walrus staff is encouraging as many submissions as possible, Alice in Wonderland-themed or not.

Kee said, “For those of you who are thinking about submitting to The Walrus but have not yet decided, you have nothing to lose but the envelope. The Walrus staff this year is made up of individuals with extremely varied tastes, so whatever your style is, there will likely be someone who appreciates it. We value the work of our fellow students and hope to include a good mix in our 50th issue.”