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Concordia student literary journal wins Forces AVENIR award

The Headlight Anthology editorial team is recognized for revitalizing the 25-year-old annual publication
November 7, 2023
From left: The Headlight Anthology editorial team Alex Affonso, Carlos Pittella, Ariella Ruby and Misha Solomon.

Concordia student-run literary journal Headlight Anthology recently picked up a Forces AVENIR 2023 prize for its revival after a short hiatus. The journal accepted the award in the Arts, Literature and Culture category at a Quebec City gala in September.

Forces AVENIR is a Quebec-wide competition that aims to recognize and promote student engagement. The awards recognize students and student-led projects that demonstrate socially conscious leadership and dedication to their communities.

Operating since 1998, Headlight Anthology is an annual literary journal led by graduate students in Concordia’s Department of English. The journal publishes poets, writers and artists from the university, Montreal and beyond.

After a pause — the first one in the journal’s long history — brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the editorial team worked to revitalize Headlight Anthology. They set out to renew partnerships at Concordia and in the community and introduced audio versions of pieces read by their authors.

The team also developed a digital archive of past issues and improved the submission process.

The journal’s editors, who are all in the MA in English – Creative Writing program, reflect on the award as well as Headlight Anthology’s past and future.

‘Montreal always seems to be at the forefront of artistic trends’

Misha Solomon, editor-in-chief: I’ve had the pleasure of joining the Headlight team after having a piece published last year. I got involved in an editorial capacity as last year’s team, led by Carlos Pittella and Sherine Elbanhaway, was preparing for Forces AVENIR. As a born-and-bred Montrealer, I’m so happy that Headlight exists within the Concordia ecosystem as a place for great writing from our city.

Although we accept and publish writing from outside of this fair island, our existence within an institution based here means that the majority of our submissions and accepted pieces come from Concordia and Montreal/Tiohtià:ke. I genuinely believe there’s no better urban centre for writers and other creatives. Although the world might not always recognize it, Montreal always seems to me to be at the forefront of artistic trends.

Read Misha’s piece “Tubes” in Issue #24 of Headlight Anthology.

Ariella Ruby, senior fiction editor: This award is a magical acknowledgment of the hours we poured into Issue #24. The award has an even stronger takeaway: it speaks to a very promising future for Headlight Anthology. So much of the team’s work last year was about honouring Headlight’s legacy and bringing it back to life post-pandemic.

But investing in the past inevitably bleeds into building for the future. I think that this is evident in the innovations our team introduced last year, from creating a digital archive of past issues to introducing an audio component and a brand-new submission system.

This award feels like a pat on the back for the work we’ve done to amplify new and emerging voices and a push to keep on doing it. Keep your eyes peeled because soon we’ll be opening for submissions — and continuing to welcome the strange, the exciting, and the electrical words you’ve been storing in your hard drive. Time to share ’em with the world.

Favourite piece: “A&W” by Ari Mazur.

Alex Affonso, managing editor: It has been an honour and a pleasure to continue the work that started in 1998 with the publication of Issue #1 of Headlight. It’s work that has been done by various editorial teams for over a decade, work that was interrupted by the pandemic but continued last year, stronger than ever.

While each issue is unique in its own way, the innovations that Ariella mentioned from last year have expanded Headlight’s digital presence. These changes have increased the journal’s accessibility, marking a turning point in its history.

Issue #25 now has two legacies to follow. First is the long history of serving Concordia’s and Montreal’s literary communities. And second is the recent turn toward digital innovation, toward finding new ways to adapt to our ever-changing world. But legacies can be complicated. What truly matters to me is to continue the work of sharing powerful stories and stirring poems that, I hope, will add some joy into the lives of our readers/listeners.

Favourite piece: “The Tending of Small Gardens” by Tina Wayland.

Headlight Anthology is accepting submissions
until November 30.

Discover more opportunities about getting involved and advancing student-led projects on the Concordia Student Life website.

Learn more about Concordia’s MA in English – Creative Writing program.





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