Article by Sidney Belleroche <firstname.lastname@example.org>
There are quite a few events to be excited about in October. The fall season, Halloween, pumpkin spice lattes, and the approaching holiday season, just to name a few. However, one month-long October event is the most important at Ursinus: The Lantern Submission month.
While that last statement is definitely arguable, the Lantern has been a fixture in the Ursinus community, with roots stemming from the early 1900s. The Lantern, named after the Pfahler Hall tower light, officially debuted as the student-run and produced literary magazine we know today in 1933. It features varying types of writing, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, book reviews, and more. Additionally, artwork, like the cover art, is also published. In the ninety years since, countless students have offered their works, hundreds of which made it to publication, and thousands of hands have helped in this annual tradition. Yet only a few can claim to have been the editor-in-chief for the Lantern and the responsibility that comes with it. The person now serving as the 97th editor-in-chief for the Lantern is Grace Wurzer ’24.
Grace is not a stranger to the Lantern. The senior has been involved with the magazine since she was a freshman. In the past four years, Wurzer has been a reader, bio editor, creative nonfiction/drama reader, and a senior reader before becoming the editor-in-chief. When asked what keeps her returning, she said, “So many talented writers submit yearly! All the pieces are so diverse!” According to Wurzer, being around the Lantern for so long has given her an idea of what readers want. In particular, she cited her time working as a senior reader for the 2022-2023 Lantern edition as an experience that helped her in this aspect immensely. “When Dr. Volkmer sent out the application [for the editor-in-chief role], I decided to give it a shot.”
Wurzer was also able to give a bit of insight into the process of the Lantern’s operations. “A reader reads their section anonymously before creating a spreadsheet with the anonymous stories and discussing them with the section editor.” She continued, “The editors have a major meeting to discuss each section. Even if a piece was not well-received in a section, there is still another chance for it to get published.”
With the number of submissions the Lantern gets every go-around, a few works will inevitably fail to reach publication status. This reality has been true for the Lantern’s entire existence, but it is especially true since it condensed into an annual issue in 2009. However, the quality of the work submitted is not the only thing considered. “How each piece fits into the other works in that year’s Lantern is also crucial,” Wurzer said. “There are a lot of factors that go into what is published.” After the student works are officially selected, the Lantern staff create bios for each, and the publishing process begins.
Wurzer stresses that these stipulations should not deter anyone from submitting their work. “PLEASE SUBMIT,” she exclaimed (note: Grace asked for this statement to be in all caps). “There is nothing to lose. The Lantern is a celebration of Ursinus. Stretch those creative muscles!”
One person took this sentiment to heart last year. Senior Elliott Hannam decided to take the leap and submit his work to the Lantern. Hannam, a Health and Society major and Creative Writing minor, had never submitted to the Lantern before last year. He was admittedly hesitant due to the nature and genre of his writing.
“I have ADHD,” Hannam said (note: Hannam gave permission for this to be in this article), “And my mind tends to wander when writing creatively. That has its ups and downs, but I bring things in from the corners of my brain to incorporate into my writing.” Hannam, who specializes in humor fiction, tinkered with some of his work and submitted three to the Lantern.
“I decided to submit because why not? It’s a great way to spread my writing around, and I finally felt confident enough with Ursinus and the Lantern to submit my work,” Hannam stated. “I looked to the other great writers and thought to myself, ‘Why not me too?’”
The decision paid off for Hannam, as he was awarded the annual Alfred L. Creager ’33 Prize for the most outstanding work submitted to a Ursinus campus publication for his short story, The Genie and the Scotsman.
As for Grace Wurzer, this year serves as her swan song with the Lantern and Ursinus. She had one last wish for the community as part of the Lantern staff: “Everyone should be more involved with the Lantern! Everyone is different, and the Lantern is a way to show that off. I want to see more of that uniqueness!”