Literary culture is expanding at the Claremont Colleges. This past week saw the inaugural meeting of Pomona’s new Jane Austen Book Club and the kickoff of another year for the Grove House Story Slam series. Additionally, a new academic journal for the Claremont Colleges, called FIVE, is in the works.
Grove House Story Slam
Last Thursday night saw the successful return of the Grove House Story Slam at Pitzer College, during which participants stand and tell impromptu short stories in under five minutes. Organized by Sarah Evers PZ ’13, Charlotte Pradie PZ ’13 and Brian Robbins PZ ’14, this particular event had the biggest turnout to date—about 70 to 80 people, most of whom were Pitzer first-years.
The theme for the night was “transportation,” and the ideas brainstormed on the event’s Facebook page included the back of the bus in middle school, taxi drivers and hitchhiking across the country.
One of the most memorable stories was that told by Elise Hilsinger PZ ’13 about a “road trip tale featuring a large unicorn stuffed animal and a run-in with a conservative Texas cop,” wrote Evers in an email to TSL.
The idea of a story slam came about last year after Evers, Pradie and Michael Landsman PZ ’12 attended a story slam in Los Angeles organized by The Moth, a non-profit organization dedicated to the craft of storytelling based in New York.
“We thought the concept would be a lot of fun, given the wide variety of experiences that Pitzer students have had,” Evers wrote.
A story slam also “enables participants to share and listen to stories in a creative and comfortable environment,” Pradie said.
Their goal is to hold one event a month, and based on last week’s turnout, the story slams are likely to become highly anticipated across the 5Cs.
The Jane Austen Book Club
“I fell in love with Jane Austen in a high school literature class and have been obsessed ever since,” said Nicole Ross PO ’15, founder of The Jane Austen Book Club, an organization new to the 5Cs. “I love her characters, her stories, her often sharp-edged wit and her social critiques, which I think are still very applicable.”
A transfer this semester, Ross said she believes “that starting a Jane Austen Book Club [will] help make this new community feel more like a home.”
Ross’s ultimate hope for the club’s future, aside from having it become official and receive funding, is to create a relaxed atmosphere complete with lighthearted discussion and reflection, as well as the occasional movie viewing, games from the Regency Era and perhaps even a ball. She also envisions creating a partnership next semester with the Jane Austen Book Club she founded at her previous school, Vassar.
The club’s first meeting was last night, Thursday, Sept. 26, as a general interest and introductory gathering.
FIVE: A Claremont Colleges Student Journal
Being a published author in any field is an accomplishment many students hope to achieve someday, and now students have the chance to do just that. FIVE, a journal co-sponsored by the Claremont Colleges Library and the Writing Centers of all five undergraduate colleges, allows students “the opportunity to publish some of their best work” and to “showcase outstanding examples of Claremont Colleges student writing both within our community and in the broader undergraduate academic community,” wrote Gale Burrow, one of FIVE’s three Managing Editors and a staff member at Honnold/Mudd Library.
With many colleges across the country now having undergraduate work published in online journals, the creators felt it was time the Claremont Colleges did the same.
Despite a not-so-successful start last year due to lack of submissions, FIVE is back in full force this year.
“I think the one thing we hope to improve is having better representation from across the 5Cs—both in work submitted and selected for publication and in student and faculty participation in the publication process, especially as members of the Board of Reviewers,” Burrow wrote.
The board has made an effort with publicity this year, advertising through email and various events websites.
“We [are] also [counting] on word-of-mouth advertising from students who work in the Writing Centers,” Burrow wrote.
The call for submissions was sent out Sept. 16 via email, and submissions are due Oct. 8.