The "Bolo Tie Collective Volume IV" launched on October 17. While the intention isn’t for volumes to have a theme, according to executive members Amy St. Amand and Ashley Bilodeau, one always seems to emerge. They describe Volume IV as having a dystopian, speculative and tech-driven focus. Submissions for the fifth edition of the student-published literary journal are now open.

The Bolo Tie Collective marks fourth year of self-publishing success

November 1, 2019 | Arts & Culture, Campus Life
Over the past four years, hundreds of students from across MacEwan University have become published authors and editors thanks to the Bolo Tie Collective, a student group that publishes a literary journal by the same name.

“Seeing your name on the page as a published author or editor in an actual book with an ISBN is huge,” says Ashley Bilodeau (BCS ’19), president and publications manager for The Bolo Tie Collective Volume IV, and one of the founding members of the student group. It’s an experience about 80 students share each year as they help take each volume from concept to printed book. Unlike literary magazines at other universities, which are typically managed by faculty members, administration or graduate students, The Bolo Tie Collective is run for and by undergraduate students.

“It’s part of what makes us unique and what brings us together as a community,” says Ashley.

Although the group originated from an effort to forge stronger connections between students studying English and communications, contributors and editors now come from faculties and programs across the university. Anyone interested in creative writing – as readers, writers, editors or marketers – are welcome to take part in whatever way works for them.

Because publishing the anthologies involves an overlapping production schedule – work on the next volume begins before the current volume is published – there’s never a shortage of things to do. When submissions close in January, the executive team begins selecting stories for the next volume. Then teams made up of one student author and two student editors (to provide a balance of opinion and variety of feedback) spend the next three months (most of the Winter semester) working together. Copy editing and proofreading happen over the summer before the final product heads off the printer so it’s ready to be launched in October.

“There's really not much breathing room, but we’ve worked really hard on the process to make sure the project would keep going. Now that the foundation is in place and we have a system that works, I’m excited to see what the next group of students can do,” says Ashley, who handed over the reins to a new crop of students, led by president and publications manager Amy St. Amand, a fourth year Bachelor of Arts, English Honours student.

“Our focus now is on making The Bolo Tie Collective the best it can be and finding new ways that students can be involved and learn,” says Amy.

All four volumes of The Bolo Tie Collective are available in the mstore. While the intention isn’t for volumes to have a theme, one always seems to emerge. Amy and Ashley say Volume III has an earthy, nature-focused feel, while Volume IV has more of a dystopian, speculative and tech-driven focus.

Submissions for Volume V are open until January 8 and editors can apply until December 16. Visit for details.


Writer in residence helps students explore connections

"What I would want to do with anyone who comes to see me as the writer in residence, is to try to see them in their writing and say, "What is it you want to say? What's the song you want to sing? And let's get you there." 

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