Collaborative effort results in anthology of emerging writers

December 5, 2016

Student club project ties together faculty and students from English, communications and design

It all started with Shawn Hamm’s vision. He wanted to start a creative writing club open to all students across the university, not just in the English department. Anyone who considered themselves a writer could join—whether they were studying science and math or lugging literature textbooks home each night. A year later, his vision was realized when 40 works by student authors were published in the club’s very own anthology.

“The Bolo Tie Collective is my brain baby,” says Shawn, Bachelor of Arts, English Honours alum (’16). The name was inspired by the portrait of the university’s namesake located at the entrance of Building 7. In it, Dr. MacEwan wears a bolo tie. “It’s essentially how we ended up on the name—because it ties to the namesake of the institution, but not any one department.”

Shawn explains that it’s up to the writer to decide whether or not they’re a writer; the club makes no rules. If you’re writing, you’re a writer, he says. Part of his interest in starting the Bolo Tie Collective was to see the wide variety of stories others are writing.

Shawn started the club by talking to a chair in another program—the Bachelor of Communication Studies—about recruiting students. “I decided the best way to show students outside of English that anyone could participate was to go to a different department to start the club.”

He wanted the Bolo Tie Collective to be more than just a place for students to hone their creative writing skills. He saw it as an opportunity for budding writers and editors to learn about industry practices. Publishing the anthology is a culmination of everything the club does.

Image-bolo_tie_anthology“So we thought if we can collect enough short stories, why not do a yearly anthology?” says Shawn. “It was really exciting because no admin or professor I talked to thought it was a bad idea. They loved it. But at the time, it was just talk. You still have to go do it.”

On November 16, after much writing, editing and polishing, the club launched The Bolo Tie Collective Volume I, featuring short fiction and book reviews. Student editors worked with student writers, and a student designer helped with the initial design elements. But Shawn says none of it would have been possible without the support of numerous faculty mentors, including Barry Boroditsky, who handled the overall design. (Design Studies student Chanelle Paradis contributed the cover illustration.)

“I'm extremely happy with the quality of each and every story,” says Shawn.

The Bolo Tie Collective Volume I is available to purchase at the mstore.

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