This week, we’re highlighting another undergraduate-run publication at Ball State, the Digital Literature Review (DLR)! We caught up with Allen Warren and Emily Turner to talk about their roles as editors, the theme of this year’s journal, and how you can submit your work!


Meet the Editors

Allen Warren is an English Studies major with French, Political Science, and African American Studies minors. Allen is Managing Editor of the Digital Literature Review this year. Allen is from Wabash County, Indiana. This is Allen’s third year at Ball State.

Emily Turner is a senior, majoring in English Studies with minors in creative and professional writing. Emily is this year’s Lead Editor of the Digital Literature Review. Reading and writing is her passion, and she is excited to serve as an editor for this year’s issue of the journal.

Tell us a little bit about the DLR.

Allen: The Digital Literature Review is Ball State’s online, undergraduate-run academic journal. We partner with the English Department to publish an annual publication whose topic changes from year to year. For students, this course is a two-semester commitment focused on immersive learning, with the spring semester counting as the senior seminar (ENG 444).

Emily: It’s an immersive learning class that students can take, where, over the course of the school year, we create, design, and publish an academic journal based on the issue’s theme. In the fall semester, we study and immerse ourselves in the year’s theme while advertising our call for submissions. Anybody is welcome to submit their academic essays to us, and in the spring semester, we edit the accepted essays for our issue. By the end of the school year, we will have published our 2021 issue of the DLR.

How can someone submit their work to the DLR?

The deadline to submit is January 15, 2021.

The DLR is looking for scholarly works that entertain discussions of food in literature, film, television, or popular culture, particularly discussions exploring socioeconomic, political, racial, and other issues of inequality. Submissions should be between 2,500 and 5,000 words and adhere to MLA citation and formatting guidelines, including using double spacing and 12 pt. Times New Roman font. Essays should also be submitted as Word documents. You can find more information about submitting here and you can send your submissions to the DLR by emailing dlr@bsu.edu. If your essay is accepted, then it will be published in the 2021 issue of the DLR, which is a great credit to have on your résumé and for professional experience in general.

What are the roles within the DLR? Can you tell us about your role?

Allen: I am the one who sets team deadlines and makes sure those deadlines are feasible. This semester, I have been mostly working with the rest of the editorial team to copy edit blog posts in preparation for copy editing our paper submissions in the spring.

Emily: The DLR is divided into three teams: editorial, design, and publicity; each team has an equally important role in the making of our journal. The editorial team oversees the reading and rating of each submission that we receive. After we go through and accept or reject the submissions, we copy edit the pieces that we accepted. The design team is responsible for maintaining our aesthetic across the journal, website, our social media, and other aspects of the journal. And finally, we have the publicity team. The publicity team runs all of our social media, which is important for networking within the writing community. Along with social media, the publicity team handles the call for submissions: their goal is to reach a wide audience span, so that as many people as possible know that we’re currently accepting submissions. Anyway you look at it, the DLR wouldn’t be the great journal that it is today without each team and its members.

Tell us about the theme for this year’s journal.

Allen: The theme this year is “Food Matters in Literature and Culture.” In How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Thomas C. Foster devotes an early chapter to the analysis of food in fiction, a recognition of how “acts of communion” can transcend meal-hood and become symbolic of the people eating (or not eating). I am sure that part of the direct inspiration for this year’s theme was the attention that food and cooking have received in recent popular media, from peaches in Call Me by Your Name to cake in Parasite to the popularity of The Great British Baking Show. What is so promising about this year’s theme is that it allows us to look at food in relation to race, sex, class, and other identity markers against the backdrop of social upheaval that is 2020.

Emily: We’re looking for engaging academic essays that discuss the different ways that food affects and influences us culturally throughout the media. For example, how is food represented in the media? Or how does food function within a certain text? 

How have your Honors classes helped prepare you for the work you do in the DLR?

Allen: I took HONR 199 last semester with Dr. Emily Rutter, who is now the lead editor of the DLR. In that course, we studied rap and hip hop as an American art form, focusing on Blackness and its intersections with sex, class, and sexual orientation as indexed through rap music. Having that background for the DLR has been invaluable, since our team is hoping to weave the realities of traditional inequities into our conversations on food.

What’s your favorite part of being in the DLR?

Allen: My favorite part has been interacting with texts (fiction, film, critical essays, etc.) with food on the mind and learning to value the symbolism of food more. I have also been enjoying the unintentional impetus from this course to cook more!

Emily: Due to COVID-19, our class is fully online; however, that doesn’t stop the class from having the best experience possible all while being safe. Outside of copyediting and publishing the journal, my favorite part of the DLR is spending time with my classmates. In just nine weeks, I feel like I have created a strong bond with my fellow editorial team members, which is amazing, but I also appreciate that during class time, I am able to talk to the people in the different teams that I don’t work with often. We have a stellar group of people this year, and I’m confident that together, we will make the best issue of the DLR yet.