So, another academic year has come to a close. I hope you’ve all had safe journeys home if that was your destination, and have been enjoying the beautiful weather we’ve been having of late.
With the end of the year also comes a change of committee, and the chance to look back on the previous twelve months. There are several members of this year’s team who are changing roles or moving on who I’d like to thank for their service.
Secretary Martha Griffiths was one of our hardest working committee members this year, and we wish her all the best for her year abroad. Martha was instrumental in our Globetrotting zine and also was great with generally promoting and ensuring the smooth running of the society, a constant presence at our socials and events. We hope to see her back in 2019!
I’d also like to thank the other departing committee members for their work, Cam Howe (Workshop Co-ordinator) and Aliyah Rawat (Equality and Diversity Officer).
Finally, I need to talk about my Vice-President Mireia Molina Costa who graduated this summer. It’s no exaggeration to say that the Undergraduate Creative Writing Anthology we successfully launched at the end of last year would not have happened had it not been for her hard work and tenacity, even when print and essay deadlines were getting scarily close. She was a great asset to the society, also bringing to reality the Amnesty International Human Rights zine, and I'll really miss having her on committee.
There have also been a couple of changes within the committee for next year. Previous First Year Rep Alex Paulley is remaining on board, moving to Health and Safety Officer, with her former role to be filled in October. Lucy Caradog has moved from Health and Safety to her new role of Secretary. Last year’s Social Secretary Ellie Reeves made a real difference to the committee when she arrived, and it’s great news that she’s going to become Vice-President and have a more hands-on role in the everyday running of the society.
Amelia Court will stay on as our Union Council Rep and we officially welcome our new committee members Farah Mostafa (Equality and Diversity Officer) and Francesca Giuliani (Treasurer).
That, then, means there will be a new President – Eve Mathews. As Treasurer for the first half of last year before her studies took her to Amsterdam, Eve was one of the most committed members of the society both at events and stalls, and behind the scenes. Alongside Martha, she was instrumental in creating the Globetrotting zine, putting in long hours in the Media Suite well after most of us had gone home. Eve is now back after her semester abroad, and we can’t wait to start working with her.
So, let’s have a little look back – what have we done this year as a society?
First of all, we attended Societies’ Fair, which was a great opportunity for our new committee to say hello to UEA and gauge the interest of some very keen new members. We enjoyed a busy first fortnight of the year, also having stalls at the Arts and Humanities Opportunities Fair and the Media Suite’s digital trail (creating a digital zine looking at the space's potential) where we were further able to welcome students to UEA and get the word out about our society.
The committee were all amazed by the superb turnout for our pizza social – there was standing room only in the bookable room and it made us realise the passion UEA has for publishing as we planned the Globetrotting zine.
Said zine was a while in the making as we made sure it was as good as it could be and got to grips with InDesign – many committee members for the very first time after a training session delivered to us by Tracey in the Media Suite. When that was released we held a successful launch event where we sold plenty of copies and met some of our contributors for the very first time in person.
Throughout the winter we were a regular presence on campus. Then-Treasurer Eve sat on a Norwich Radical panel representing Egg Box in a discussion about the role and direction of student media. We had stalls at several SU-organised enterprise fairs in the Hive, plus the wonderful Christmas fair in the LCR (thanks to Victoria and all in the SU office for organising and running these). We also helped out our fellow UEA Publishing Project imprint Boiler House Press sell some of their beautiful products at the Norwich and London MA anthology launches and annual UEA Autumn and Spring Literary Festivals, where we met many successful authors and literary figures.
As Spring came around, the Zig Zag festival was a highlight, where we were able to listen to some wonderful live music, chat to other stallholders (including our friends at the Diaspora Diaries) and soak up the beautiful sun outside in The Street with the ‘Beast from the East’ which sadly caused the cancellation of the Literature Society’s annual book fair a distant memory.
As the second semester carried on, we held a successful bar crawl social into Norwich City Centre with Creative Writing Society. We created the Human Rights zine, a collaboration with the UEA branch of Amnesty International led by our Vice-President Mireia, featuring some great words and art from members of both societies. It was launched with a packed event at the Birdcage in Norwich, where stocks of the zine sold out on the night!
As is customary for the end of the year, attention turned to the fifth edition of the Undergraduate Creative Writing Anthology, produced and edited once again by the Egg Box society – with many thanks due to Nathan Hamilton of UEA’s Publishing Project for his invaluable help, expertise and problem-solving. After the long production process, Underline was released with a superbly attended launch event in the Norwich Arts Centre bar, where we were treated to great readings from some of the featured authors.
If you're interested, you can still buy copies from our stalls next year or direct from us here for the discounted price of just £8 (RRP £9.99).
Next year is going to be an exciting one for the society as we look to increase membership and zine production through workshops and events and build on previous years’ successes with the sixth Undergraduate Creative Writing Anthology.
We’ve already got our first event of next academic year sorted out, our first Do Something Different event for over two years! From 1-3pm on Wednesday 26th September in Bookable Room 1 upstairs in Union House, we’ll be holding a zine workshop where we can make a start on our first collaborative zine of the year and our committee can hopefully meet lots of new friends. You can find out more information on the Do Something Different website here.
To our members who are graduating this year, we wish you all the best for your future, and to those who will be back in Norwich in September, we can’t wait to see you and enjoy another year of publishing!