'The Newtowner' Enters Final Stages Of Production

Published: October 29, 2010 at 12:00 am


‘The Newtowner’ Enters

Final Stages Of Production


By Nancy K. Crevier

The first layouts for The Newtowner, Newtown’s first literary magazine devoted to showcasing local talent, are in the hands of editor-in-chief Georgia Monaghan, and she is as excited as a new mother.

“The layouts are stunning,” said Ms Monaghan. “It is like looking at an ultrasound, and now we are in the final trimester,” she exclaimed.

Since spring, The Newtowner has been gestating under the watchful eyes of Ms Monaghan, six other founders, and a staff with a wealth of knowledge put to good use. They have tapped into the creative treasures of this area — artwork, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, music and photography — and have solicited advertising. They have sorted through enough submissions “to fill two issues,” and have spent weeks reading, editing, and selecting the pieces that will make up the very first issue of the journal, which will be released December 1.

The magazine has been “birthed” through the volunteer efforts of many, said Ms Monaghan, and most recently she has been pleased to add the expertise of three new staff members.

Wendy Wipprecht, previous editor of The Yale Review, is serving as fiction editor and is the chief copyeditor for the journal.

Aimee Pokwatka, an award-winning short story writer and former editor of Salt Hill, the literary journal published by Syracuse University, started out with The Newtowner as associate editor, but now serves as the managing editor.

Rounding out the staff is writer Sharon Cohen, features editor, who is a nonfiction author and communications specialist.

Ms Monaghan was born and raised in Australia, and graduated from the University of Sydney with a degree in English Literature, European and American History, and Education. For 15 years, she taught English literature, creative writing, history, and drama in various private high schools, and was promoted to head of English. As office manager to a photography business while living in the Whitsunday Island region of Australia, Ms Monaghan became a travel writer. She has been published in Australian magazines and newspapers, and has traveled extensively. She teaches and facilitates the C.H. Booth Creative Writing Group, and is working on a literary novel set in Australia. It was through the enthusiasm of the writing group that she first realized the potential for a local literary magazine.

“We definitely got a wonderful response to our first call,” said Ms Monaghan, “and we know that once the first issue comes out, we’ll be flooded.” The staff is ready for and welcomes that rush of submissions. Seventy percent of the content of each issue is devoted to that by Newtown and Sandy Hook residents, even though submissions from anywhere are considered.

“In this global world, we don’t want to be exclusive, but we want to keep that Newtown flavor. There’s a value put on arts here, and Newtown seems to act as a magnet to people interested in the arts. There is a New England feel here, but then there is that cosmopolitan vein, too,” she said.

As the editorial staff has settled into place, The Newtowner has worked to fulfill a piece of its mission to “Create a community-based literary and arts project involving as many locals as possible across all ages and demographics.” Among those efforts is a volunteer internship program now in place. In looking to feature a youth section in upcoming issues of the quarterly journal, The Newtowner wants to fill a junior staff to shadow the senior staff.

“They will be given autonomy for that section. It’s a wonderful learning experience and they will actually be making editorial decisions for the youth section,” said Ms Monaghan. The Newtowner is pleased to welcome the first intern, Grace McKinley, a Newtown High School junior, to the staff.

“Every internship is tailored to the individual,” explained Ms Monaghan. Applications can be requested by sending an e-maili to

She is also working with a local homeschooling group, The Community Learning Project, to provide the children with a hands-on experience about the publishing world.

“They are a fantastic group of bright, talented kids doing amazing things,” said Ms Monaghan, who hopes to spark an interest in the publication industry in the school children.

In a further effort to reach out to the local and global community, in August, The Newtowner launched its Facebook page. “The benefit,” said Ms Monaghan, “is that there are so many people, I can quickly communicate any updates, and get immediate feedback on ideas. It’s been a great place for people to comment, as well.”

The deadline for the December 1 issue of The Newtowner has passed, she said, although a few smaller articles could still be considered for publication, if authors or artists are quick to contact the magazine. “But it is not that long before our next issue, for anyone who misses this deadline,” she said. Deadline for the March 1 issue of the magazine is January 1.

Subscriptions and gift subscriptions are available online at, and individual copies will be sold at Drug Center Pharmacy and other local businesses and cafes after December 1.

The public is invited to a Launch and Cocktail Reception planned for Saturday, December 11, from 6 to 9 pm, to be celebrated in the meeting room of C.H. Booth Library.

“This is an opportunity to meet the artists featured in our first issue, and to meet the staff,” said Ms Monaghan. “There will be readings and a slide show, as well as signings of the premier issue by the authors and artists, and of course, refreshments and champagne. We would love to see the public there,” she said. Space is limited, however, so registration for the free event is required and can be done at

“I am so excited,” said Ms Monaghan. “All of us are a part of creating something out of nothing. We are breathing life into it.”

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