The “Kolob Canyon Review,” Southern Utah University’s annually published student-run literary journal, dropped its latest issue to the public on April 15 at their extremely successful launch party.
In prior years, “KCR” has held their launch party at the Southern Utah Museum of Art, but in anticipation of a larger crowd this year, they transitioned to the more spacious ballroom of the Sharwan Smith Student Center. The attendance reached over 300, exceeding the “KCR” staff’s expectations.
On top of a huge spike in attendance from the past, “KCR” received tons of support through purchase of their merchandise and books, surpassing their sales record by over 50%.
A record 67 contributors were included in the publication, many of whom shared their work aloud in celebration of the “KCR” launch.
“As sad as I am to be leaving the project after three years, I’m really proud of how my final launch party went. I’m extremely proud of my staff and the work they’ve put into ‘KCR’ this year,” editor-in-chief Shauri Thacker said. “Between my staff’s work and that of the design team, we pulled off a record launch party with our best edition yet. I can’t wait to be back in the fall to support the project as a potential contributor and audience member.”
Another surprising difference from past years was that the issue itself was separated into two books packaged together. Volume 31 showcases writing, while volume 31.5 showcases visual art.
Thacker proudly described the theme of the 2023 publication as “things are not as they appear.”
“When we selected pieces in the fall, we couldn’t help but notice these writers’ eagerness to subvert your expectations as a reader and dig into the humanity that we don’t normally unearth,” the editors’ note in the literary journal reads. “We hope your perception of reality shifts just a little while reading these pages.”
With the theme finally public, Thacker shared the editors’ choice awards, which highlight one work from each of the journal’s four genres:
— Creative nonfiction: Kymberlin Johnson’s “Sunshine Pancakes”
— Fiction: Audrey Gee’s “Job Blues”
— Poetry: S. M. Beal’s “When I Say My Favorite Color Is Red”
— Visual art: Jove Tripp-Thompson’s “The Troubled”
To look through these pieces as well as over 140 others, readers can request to purchase issues through the “KCR” socials or their email address directly. Readers can also access individual pieces for free on their website.
Story and photos by Kale Nelson