FROM READERS: Why do writers write?

Saturday, April 13, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

Grace Pittman is the editor-in-chief of the Stephens College literary magazine Harbinger.

One of the questions that readers often ask writers is: Why do you do it? The renowned Canadian author, Margaret Atwood, tries to give us an answer by creating a list of reasons: “To record the world as it is. To set down the past before it is all forgotten. To spin a fascinating tale. To amuse and please the reader.”

Harbinger launch party

There will be a launch party, public reading and reception at 6 p.m. Friday, April 26, at East Side Tavern. The launch party is free and open to the public, and East Side Tavern will offer drink specials along with light hors d’oeuvres.

The magazine will be for sale there for $6. It's also available at the Stephens bookstore.

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As a writer, I have struggled with this question myself. Why do I write? Why do any of us write, especially in a field that is anything but lucrative? I think that Margaret Atwood’s list of reasons gives us an answer: We write to connect. 

This is where publishing helps writers. Literary arts magazines provide writers with a platform where they can show their voices, spread their messages, and connect with their communities. Aspiring young writers especially need a place where they can do this. That is Harbinger’s goal. 

When I transferred to Stephens I had never considered what it would be like to work on a literary magazine. When I was introduced to Harbinger, I knew that I wanted to be a part of it. Creating this year’s issue “Bombshell” was an intoxicating experience. I became closer with my staff members, learned editing skills, and the ins and outs of the submitting process from an editor’s standpoint. The main reason I loved working on Harbinger was because my staff members and I helped writers and readers connect.  

We worked hard on finding the perfect title for this year’s issue. Since most of the pieces in Harbinger 2013 have to do with emotionally explosive events, we decided “Bombshell” was a nice fit. So pick up an issue and enjoy the read. Become a reader for new authors.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising Editor Joy Mayer.

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