Literary magazine takes home national awards


Ben Schneider

Waidelich and students in the creative writing classes with their magazines and awards.

The Clover Hill literary magazine, Paths of Clover, received first place in their school size bracket from the American Scholastic Press Association in their 2022 publications awards.

Paths of Clover won the national award for last year’s edition of the magazine, for which the theme was “fantasy.” They then earned another national recognition with an excellent designation from the Realm Awards, which are from the National Council of Teachers of English. They also received second place in a state competition. 

To enter the competitions, the literary magazine team mails physical copies of each edition to the judges, who evaluate it and provide feedback and awards. According to creative writing teacher Daniel Waidelich, the group tries to enter several competitions a year to test the quality of the magazine. 

“There are several national and state awards for literary magazines and we try to enter multiple contests each year just to give us a benchmark to go against,” Waidelich said. “We’ve gotten really good marks on our professionalism, our table of contents matches the pieces and the pieces are all professional and laid out nicely. [It’s] just a way to show us that we’ve done good work.”

Last year’s fantasy edition represented Paths of Clover’s return following two years where there was no literary magazine as a result of the pandemic. Waidelich is proud that they were able to come back with an edition of the magazine worthy of winning awards. 

“We came back with one of the best editions that we’ve ever done,” Waidelich said. “The fantasy edition was amazing. And we won the awards but also the work just speaks for itself when you look at it. It’s just a really good lit mag. It’s awesome to know that students came back ready and willing to do such a great job.”

According to Paths of Clover editor-in-chief Maddy Bills, last year’s edition included a section at the end that contained works from 2020 and 2021 to showcase writers whose pieces were not published during the pandemic. 

“That section was called second chances,” Bills said. “And it had both literary pieces and art pieces from the previous two years.”

The main theme of the 2022 edition was fantasy, and Bills emphasizes that the group’s focus was on including pieces that represented what fantasy was to each student writer whose work was in the magazine. 

“So we had pieces that ranged from unicorns, trolls and all sorts of fantasy creatures like dragons to pieces that were about daydreams, so basically your version of a fantasy,” Bills said. “It was whatever fantasy meant to you.” 

The theme of this year’s magazine is “nostalgia.” According to art director and design editor Lindsay Mull, the students in the creative writing class pitched ideas and then voted to choose it. And, like the fantasy magazine, this year’s edition contains pieces that represent what nostalgia means to individual writers. 

“We have some that are talking about what they did in childhood or nonfiction stories that just involve nostalgia, the wistful longing for something from the past or for something to come back,” Mull said. 

They are still accepting submissions for this year’s magazine. All students, whether they have art or creative writing experience or not, are eligible to submit. 

“We have fliers around the school with a google form link where people can submit art and writing,” Mull said.

The deadline will be March 3 because the group has to compile the work and design the magazine. However, Waidelich encourages students to send in their pieces as soon as possible because they accept submissions on a rolling basis. 

“The sooner you get it in at this point, the more likely it is to be in the magazine,” Waidelich said. “We want your art but sooner rather than later, to all the artists out there.”

The Paths of Clover team is confident that they can make this year’s edition even better than last year. Mull believes that the evaluations they received from the fantasy edition will help them improve their work in the nostalgia edition.

“Now we have the feedback from the fantasy to make nostalgia even better,” Mull said.