Deep in the art of Texas: Students create literary magazine to honor the South

I published this story for the College of Liberal Arts website on July 7, 2016. It’s about two liberal arts majors who created their own literary magazine to celebrate their southern culture. You can read more here:

Today, crowdfunding campaigns can make almost any idea profitable. The College of Liberal Arts prepares students to thrive in this world of small startups even before graduation by teaching teamwork, confidence, and entrepreneurship. Enter Josh McCormack ’18 and Alex Cowan ’17, liberal arts students who launched their own literary magazine, Southern Knuckles.

English major McCormack and English and Women’s and Gender Studies double-major Cowan both share a desire to work in the publishing industry. They met a year ago while working together on The Eckleburg Project, the student-run literary magazine at Texas A&M University, and discovered they are both Texas natives who share an appreciation for the culture and beauty of the American South—an appreciation they both wanted to publicize.

According to the “A Word From the Editors” section of their first publication, the magazine’s title is a reference to the region’s people “who will throw their knuckles to the grindstone to fight for what they believe in.”

“I think when we started, we wanted to feature artists from the South and to highlight Southern culture and to celebrate it,” said McCormack, who is also the Life and Arts editor for The Battalion. “It’s tough, but I think we’re making progress.”

McCormack and Cowan learned how to create a magazine through The Eckleburg Project, which also provided important writing connections. Through these and social media outreach, they received many submissions before their April deadline. Together, they review submissions, develop the layout, and send it off to print.

They also collaborate on the day-to-day operations of Southern Knuckles, including social media management and advertising.

“I’d say it’s a pretty even split,” Cowan said. “There’s nothing in particular where we’re like ‘that’s your job and this is my job!’ It’s more of ‘what do we need to get done? Let’s do it together.’”

Southern Knuckles is still in its first year of business and is planned to be bi-annual. Their first summer issue features three stories, three works of art, and seven poems. McCormack and Cowan have plans to put copies of the magazine for sale on Amazon, at a date yet to be determined.

They also rely on social media to spread the word. They share news, updates, and links to articles on their Facebook page, Southern Knuckles, and their Twitter handle @SKLitMag.

Submissions for the winter issue of the magazine will open during the Fall 2016 semester. Check their social media for announcements on the exact date. Those interested in submitting should email Visit their website at for submission guidelines.

Southern Knuckles


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