For­mer Bishop’s stu­dents launch Mon­treal-based lit­er­ary jour­nal

Sherbrooke Record - - LOCAL SPORTS - By Michael Boriero - Lo­cal Jour­nal­ism Ini­tia­tive Re­porter

It took nearly an en­tire year, but af­ter count­less nights spent re­view­ing and edit­ing es­says, po­ems, fic­tion and non-fic­tion sto­ries, the team be­hind Yolk, a bi-an­nual lit­er­ary jour­nal, dropped its first ever is­sue on Fri­day.

Alexan­dre Marceau, the jour­nal’s fic­tion editor and a for­mer Bishop’s Univer­sity stu­dent, never imag­ined he and his friends would be able to get Yolk off the ground. It all started last fall, he ex­plained, when he gath­ered some of his clos­est friends at a park in Mon­treal.

The 24-year-old Gaiter got the idea to start a jour­nal while he was busy dig­i­tiz­ing The Mitre, the univer­sity’s long-stand­ing an­nual, stu­dent-run pub­li­ca­tion. Josh Quirion, au­thor and a for­mer Bishop’s stu­dent, was one of the peo­ple hud­dled in the park with Marceau that day.

“Ev­ery time he would come down to Bishop’s we would sort of leave the par­ties and talk lit­er­a­ture, drink our beers and whiskey,” said Marceau. “We sort of had this dis­cus­sion about how cool it would be to start a jour­nal.”

Quirion now car­ries the editor in chief ti­tle at Yolk. Ac­cord­ing to

Marceau, pro­duc­tion for the jour­nal quickly ramped up. They re­ceived hun­dreds of lit­er­ary works from all over North Amer­ica and other parts of the world.

As fic­tion editor, Marceau said he re­ceived roughly 70 sub­mis­sions. He ul­ti­mately de­cides which sto­ries go into the print edi­tion and which sto­ries get posted on­line on yolk­lit­er­ary.ca. The goal is to find the right bal­ance be­tween ama­teur and sea­soned writ­ers.

“We’re pub­lish­ing both es­tab­lished and emerg­ing writ­ers, and so I think the writ­ing it­self a lot of it is very con­trolled, while a lot of it is al­most de­lib­er­ately un­con­trolled,” Marceau said.

In or­der to ful­fill on­line or­ders, Yolk part­nered with a print­ing com­pany in the East­ern Town­ships, Pré­ci­grafik. Marceau chose the print­ing press be­cause of its con­nec­tion to The Mitre. The first is­sue, a bound book, con­tains 146 pages.

“With this first is­sue what we’re do­ing is sort of go­ing back to the past, tak­ing the el­e­ments we want to use, to res­ur­rect, to bring for­ward, while also lo­cat­ing that in the present with today’s writ­ers, so it kind of comes around full cir­cle,” he said.

Yolk also sets it­self apart from other jour­nals in Que­bec due to its English­language

roots. English is the uni­ver­sal lan­guage, Marceau ex­plained, it’s a good way to bring to­gether many dif­fer­ent peo­ple and cul­tures.

“I think that the English voice en­cap­su­lates so many dif­fer­ent voices from Canada, but I think, and a lot of peo­ple don’t re­ally re­al­ize this about Que­bec, but there’s some­thing spe­cial about the English lan­guage here and some­thing very pow­er­ful,” said Marceau.

With one printed is­sue un­der their belts, the team at Yolk, which con­sists of an­other Bishop’s stu­dent Sean Small­wood, is con­fi­dent about the fu­ture of the jour­nal. It took six months to get ev­ery­thing in or­der for the first is­sue, but now they have a pro­ce­dure set in stone.

Yolk plans to team up with the Que­bec Writ­ers’ Fed­er­a­tion in hopes of con­duct­ing writ­ing work­shops. They also want to host writ­ing com­pe­ti­tions on their web­site. And the team is or­ga­niz­ing unique lit­er­a­ture-fo­cused events.

“Our first event, in­stead of clap­ping and what not af­ter a po­etry read­ing, we were dress­ing the po­ets up in a yel­low sort of coat and billy boots and throw­ing eggs at them, so kind of egg the poet,” Marceau said.

There are a lot of in­ter­est­ing ideas and themes float­ing around, he con­tin­ued. How­ever, at the mo­ment, Marceau and the rest of the Yolk team aren’t be­ing com­pen­sated for their work. Ev­ery­thing is done in their spare time, from edit­ing to dis­tribut­ing the work.

Marceau said he and Cur­tis Mcrae, the jour­nal’s cre­ative direc­tor, han­dled the ship­ping process on Fri­day. He hopes Yolk can one day be­come a well-oiled ma­chine. For now, though, the team is look­ing for sup­port from or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing The Canada Coun­cil for the Arts.

“We’re either stu­dents or work­ing full time, so it’s fully in­de­pen­dent and vol­un­teer-based, but the goal is to get some grants and fund­ing,” said Marceau.

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