Plum: GCC’s Tasty Treat for the Whole Community

November 7, 2013

In an area known for many talented writers, there is a new venue for local writers to be published and for everyone to read their work. Plum, GCC’s online literary journal, launched last spring and will publish its second issue in December. In keeping with GCC’s mission of serving the community, Plum publishes writing by GCC student writers alongside new, emerging, and established writers from western Massachusetts and southern Vermont. The inaugural issue of Plum included poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, and reviews by GCC students, faculty, and area writers, as well as an interview with Northampton’s Forbes Library Writer in Residence Susan Stinson. December’s issue will feature an interview with local novelist Jedediah Berry.

Susan Stinson applauds Plum, saying “Being interviewed by Erik Risinger was such a great experience in reflection, interaction, and presence. He reminded me why what I do matters. It’s a huge gift to local writers and readers to have a new literary magazine with such a lovely, open, adventurous spirit welcoming us.”

Plum does more than publish great local writing, it also provides real-life lessons in journal editing and publishing for the students on the journal’s editorial board. Student editors study with faculty advisor Maria Williams-Russell and earn credit for their Plum work. Senior Editor Abby Connolly, in her second semester working on Plum, is joined by April Albrecht, Daniel Desrochers, and Star Felshman on the board. The student editors evaluate all submissions based on three criteria: clear voice, fearless honesty, and unique perspective.

Senior Editor Abby, 32, an English major who lives in Amherst, said, “Being in the Editor role has changed my writing and brought into focus what works and what doesn’t work in a piece of writing. There was an art gallery at GCC, but no place to display the writing that students create. My message to writers in our area: Submit to Plum! It is the only literary journal that focuses on writers, new and established, solely from this area. Plum showcases local talent and brings like-minded people together to support and inspire one another. Publish locally!”

Maria Williams-Russell teaches writing and literature at GCC and is the founding editor of Shape&Nature Press. Commenting on Plum, Maria said, “The student board members are very critical readers, with high standards for what we publish. I hope members of our community see Plum as a quality literary journal where they can exchange stories, perspectives, and experiences.”

Recognizing the value of Plum, GCC Dean of Humanities Leo Hwang said “Plum is a fantastic opportunity for the GCC community to create something that engages a readership beyond the classroom or a specific peer group. This is about civic engagement, learning real world editing and critical reading skills, and giving writers access to a venue to share their work with the world. Plum helps writers’ voices be heard in our community and beyond.”

Plum is online at Plum editors’ Facebook page is at

By Mary McClintock ’82

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