SUU’s student-run literary journal ‘Kolob Canyon Review’ to host its biggest launch party yet

“Kolob Canyon Review,” Southern Utah University’s annually published student-run literary journal, is preparing to host the largest launch party in the journal’s history. 

The event will take place on April 15 at 6 p.m. in the Sharwan Smith Student Center Ballroom and promises to surpass last year’s impressive turnout. Those that arrive after 5:20 p.m. will be treated to two live performers while they wait for the event to begin.

Founded in the 1980s and originally named “Tailwind,” “KCR” has only continued to grow over time, earning recognition and awards while pushing the limits of what is possible for a student publication. The launch of the 2023 edition marks the journal’s 31st issue. 

“It’s a literary journal by the students and for the students,” said Shauri Thacker, the project’s current editor-in-chief. Thacker has been involved with the publication for the past three years. 

Along with student work, the journal also accepts submissions from SUU faculty, alumni and staff.

Over the years, “KCR” has given undergraduate students opportunities to get involved and gain real-world publishing, editing and design experience. 

“It’s really nice to have a team like this that supports you and becomes your community,” said Thacker. “It’s also really nice to make these connections early so that when I am out in the real world, I have these people that I can talk to and trust.”

Although the launch party has traditionally been held at the Southern Utah Museum of Art, the overwhelming turnout from the 2022 issue’s launch prompted staff to relocate it to the Ballroom to make room for the ever-expanding event. The scaled-up size of this year’s party has only made staff more enthusiastic.

“I’m really excited to be able to introduce everybody to the theme of this year’s edition,” said Thacker. “I’ll be dying my hair for the occasion so that they match.” 

While the theme of the edition is attendance-only information, Thacker believes that the design team has done an amazing job. 

“They’re trying out new techniques and pushing the boundaries of what ‘KCR’ has been and can be,” Thacker said.

The launch party is also a time for contributors to celebrate their work, with the opportunity to sign up to read during the event. For many, “KCR” is their first publishing credit, which makes the launch a huge moment to showcase their skills, boost their confidence and share their work with an invested audience.

“People should come to the launch party if they want to be immersed in what the literary world has to offer,” said Thacker. “I think a lot of times people see readings as really pretentious when really and truly it’s just a bunch of us that want to be proud of ourselves and our own work, and I think it’s really important to support the literary community here on campus.”

The launch party has no dress code, and attendees are encouraged to arrive in whatever makes them feel best. Copies of the edition and exclusive merch will be available during the event. 

“KCR” publishes poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and visual art. For more information regarding upcoming submission calls, how to get involved and past editions, visit their website.

Story by: Tara Dole
Photo courtesy of Kolob Canyon Review’s design team