FAU’s Master of Fine Arts program launches new literary journal

The “Swamp Ape Review” will feature works that are “surprising, dynamic, and defy expectations” from writers all over the U.S.


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Tucker Berardi, Features Editors

For lovers of literature and art, Florida Atlantic’s Master of Fine Arts program has a new compilation of written and visual works that will be released Thursday.

The journal, titled “Swamp Ape Review,” will feature national literary works of nonfiction and fiction, poetry, visual art and a miscellaneous “swamp” category for work without a set medium.

“We are truly thrilled with our inaugural issue, and I deeply respect my MFA colleagues for all of the work and discernment that’s gone into selecting these final pieces,” Natalie Rowland, an MFA candidate and the journal’s manager, wrote in an email. “Last summer we began reading more than 800 pieces and narrowed them down week by week, so the final product has been carefully curated, to say the least.”

The journal was founded by Becka Mara McKay, who is the director of FAU’s MFA program and a faculty advisor.

The “Swamp Ape Review’s” name “pays tribute, in part, to a concept behind a mysterious myth that is wholly Floridian,” according to a press release on the journal. “The Swamp Ape is a legend that reflects Flordia — its mythology, its weirdness — as well as the human desire to create a narrative around that which we cannot explain.”

The journal will feature pieces from frequently published authors as well as new writers from all over the United States. According to the press release, the pieces are “surprising, dynamic, and defy expectations.”

“We differentiate ourselves with a ‘Swamp’ genre for pieces that defy form to the extent that the writer/artist is unsure where they belong, and we heard from individuals all year long expressing excitement about that,” Rowland wrote. “One of the best parts about this process was the reminder that art’s origins are unpredictable; we have pieces from prize nominees, professors, bartenders, [and] a Swamp piece from a German writer in the Alps.”

The “Swamp Ape Review” website will go live on Thursday, Jan. 26, and will feature a variety of previously unpublished content from new and old writers who have created pieces just for this journal.

You can access the journal here.

The university is also hosting a formal launch event on Wednesday, Feb. 15 from 6-8 p.m. in the Culture and Society Building Atrium, Room 301, which Rowland wrote is open to all who want to attend.

“The launch event is a unique opportunity for the journal to ‘come alive’ with virtual readings from selected authors, the chance to mingle with our editors and staff and, like any true campus event, free snacks,” Rowland said.

Tucker Berardi is the features editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @tucker_berardi.