Name: Carey Shook
Year: Senior, graduating May 2018
Major: Creative Writing and Publishing
Hometown: Holly Spring, North Carolina
HC: What all are you involved in on-campus?
CS: Since my time here, I’ve been involved with a lot of on-campus organizations, but this year I am dedicating my time solely to Atlantis, UNCW’s creative magazine, where I am the Editor in Chief.
HC: What made you interested in Atlantis, the literary magazine on campus, when you first came to UNCW?
CS: When I was applying to transfer from Wake Technical Community College, I looked at three different schools: UNC Wilmington, UNC Chapel Hill, and Winthrop University. These schools all had impeccable writing courses, so it was hard to choose as I was accepted to all three. I made my decision on the fact that UNCW had Atlantis, an award-winning magazine. I had been Editor in Chief of Wake Tech’s literary magazine, The Wake Review, and I knew I wanted to continue working with another magazine. When I finally transferred here in Fall 2016, I couldn’t find anything around campus on Atlantis. I finally asked a professor, who told me they actually had a meeting the next day. I went to the meeting and ended up joining the copy editing committee. I also wrote a feature that semester. In late September, the Editor in Chief announced he was stepping down, and I knew I was immediately interested. I spoke to him about the position, interviewed with the Student Media Board, and was hired about a month later to be the next Editor in Chief.
HC: What have been some of your favorite memories of working for Atlantis?
CS: The first one to pop into my mind was this past submission deadline, September 8, 2017. I was at work (I’m a desk receptionist in Belk Hall) until midnight, which was when the deadline was. Throughout the shift I was constantly looking through submittable account and trying to count, extremely anxious that we wouldn’t hit my goal of 700 (the previous semester was around 630 submissions.) The way I have to count submissions is by going into each one and counting how many are in there. After midnight hit and I was off duty, I had an RA and one of my friends help me count. I told her the numbers as she calculated for me, not showing me anything. When I was done counting, she asked me how many. I said maybe 800-something. Then she showed me, and the total was 1,223. I actually cried, because not only did I double my numbers from the previous semester, but I also broke the overall record. For the next meeting, I surprised the staff with blow up balloons from Party City and a bunch of pizza.
HC: What was it like creating the most recent issue of Atlantis? What was the release party like?
CS: This past issue was a lot of fun, especially since it was my second magazine with Atlantis. We broke our submission record, so we had a lot of potential content to go through. We narrowed it down to some of the most amazing, beautiful pieces of prose, poetry, art, and photography. From 1,223 to 22 (for the print version). We also had a half-new staff, so it was a learning curve for everyone.
As for the release party, it was a lot of fun! In the past, the release parties have been at bars downtown and more music-based. I wanted to make the party more intimate, more accessible to the underage students, and more focused on the content and contributors. I decided on a coffee Shop, Lucky Joe, and we had one music act.
HC: Did you have any favorite pieces from the latest issue or from past issues you have worked on?
CS: I fully believe issue 76 is the most beautiful magazine Atlantis has put together. “Our Mother, Our Father” by Katya Harris (pages 23-24) is my favorite art piece in this issue. “My Brother the Sun” by Nikki Kroushl (pages 29-32) is my favorite written piece, because I love a good sibling relationship.
HC: You got into NYU for graduate school. How did that feel and what do you plan on studying there?
CS: So, I applied to NYU’s Masters in Publishing back in July. I talked to the admissions counselor, and they originally said they would be able to let me know soon after I applied. I received an email in August stating they needed my Fall 2017 grades before deciding, therefore I wouldn’t know until January/February. So, when I got an email in early November stating they made a decision, I was extremely surprised and thought it was bad. I was in the publishing laboratory in the creative writing department and next to my best friend. I opened it and cried. I’ve wanted to live in New York City since I was fifteen and attend NYU since I was sixteen, so it’s a dream come true. I found out later that day that only ~110 students are in the two-year program at one time, meaning they only accept ~50 per year. I feel so honored and lucky, and I can’t wait to study what I love (publishing) in my favorite city in the world.
HC: Lastly, what advice do you have for anyone interested in working for literary magazines or in book publishing?
CS: Don’t give up. Working in publishing of any type (books—which is my goal—literary magazines, etc.) is an extremely hard field, especially as most people believe books are becoming obsolete. Reach out to people you may know, get as much as experience as you can with school magazines or internships. Just don’t give up.
[Photos courtesy of Carey Shook, taken by River Bondurant]