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The Community Editor Apprenticeship provides a way for people from diverse backgrounds to come together and have conversations about cultural sensitivity, equity, and social justice, and our role in creating change as individuals and as a literary journal. Apprentices come from a variety of ethnic and social-economic backgrounds, ages, gender identities, and levels of writing and editing experience.

This year our Community Editor Apprenticeship was streamlined due to funding. We had only six in-person meetings. We discussed the mission and purpose of the Almanac and the kinds of stories we hoped to publish. We had only three months to read and rate 100 submissions and to determine whether they were a good fit with the mission of Saint Paul Almanac. We used a rubric that included: heart-felt, authentic, important and necessary, well-crafted, and intriguing. We also investigated how to honor a writer’s voice while editing and how to develop relationships between writer and editor through the editing process.  

The process of the Community Editor Apprenticeship is a simple one: during each session we read a packet of stories and poems and discussed them in small groups. This is the heart of the Almanac’s unique method because we all learn from each other, even experienced editors like me, as well as those new to editing. We do not always agree, and the conversations are not always comfortable. The process requires openmindedness, deep listening, and thoughtfulness. Sometimes we laugh and sometimes we sigh. Not only are we putting together a magazine that will appeal to readers, create community, and offer fresh perspectives, but we also learn how stories can go beyond being appealing and interesting―they can be eye-opening and transformative. We come to understand how doing this work and paying attention to each word and each idea will enable us to be better citizens and neighbors, and better readers, writers, and editors.

Many of our community editors want to pursue a career in the publishing field. An apprenticeship with Saint Paul Almanac is a step in the right direction. It offers an opportunity to study in a dynamic, experiential, and practical environment, where apprentices become empowered to choose and advocate for the pieces they believe in. We can’t wait to see what they will do next and the impact they will have on the world.




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