NIU’s literary magazine deserves your donations

By Phil Case

Ever think about dusting off that old play you wrote for your “Introduction to Theatre” class or learning how to play a few chords so you can put some music to your notebook full of song lyrics?

Well, Towers Literary and Creative Arts Magazine may provide you with an extra incentive to finally finish some of your neglected endeavors. What is Towers, you ask?

Towers is a yearly magazine that has been published since 1939,” said Alisa Smith-Riel, president and co-editor of Towers. “It is organized and run completely by students and features the original work of NIU’s students.”

The publication accepts submissions from all NIU students in six categories: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, art/photography, drama and song lyrics.

In addition to being published, students who are finalists are eligible for prizes that range from a $100 Editor’s Choice Award to having your drama entry presented at a staged reading.

“From these staged readings, a group of judges, which includes both theater department faculty and Towers‘ editors, will select one play to receive a full production treatment and publication in the 2011 edition of Towers,” Smith-Riel said.

If you are not the type who has a spare poem laying around somewhere, perhaps joining Towers as a member is more your speed. If so, the publication offers several other benefits.

“Members can gain experience that they can take into their majors and future careers: meeting deadlines, cooperative work toward consensus, editing, as well as formatting layout and design aesthetics for a public audience,” Smith-Riel said.

Besides the fact that is a great opportunity for aspiring writers and artists, students should support Towers because it not only reflects well on those who get published, but also the university as a whole.

NIU has widely-renowned theatre and music departments, and much of that reputation is due to the fact that their students get to demonstrate their proficiencies often in the public arena. I would like to believe that the English department at NIU could achieve similar notoriety and Towers gives students with proclivities in writing and art a chance to showcase their talents.

Unfortunately, not everyone is so convinced that Towers is worth investing time and money into.

“This year, we are in particular need of financial support, and we are working to raise additional funds because, like many other organizations, our funds were cut significantly by the Student Association,” Smith-Riel said.

If you have artistic sensibilities, a few extra dollars, and a human heart, and you would like to help support Towers, there will be several upcoming opportunities to do so.

“We are having a Halloween-themed bake sale on Tuesday, Oct. 26 and Wednesday, Oct. 27 in Reavis Hall from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. in the first floor lobby,” Smith-Riel said. “We will also be holding a Thanksgiving-themed scavenger hunt on Friday, Nov. 12.”

For all those who are interested, submission guidelines and materials can be found at the Towers website at