UWEC English alum Katelyn Sabelko has accomplished what many writers work hard to achieve: publication in a scholarly journal.
Katelyn (BA ’17), who is currently pursuing her master’s degree in the Library and Information Studies program at UW - Madison, submitted an essay composed in her Fall 2017 Brontë seminar to The Oswald Review, an international undergraduate English journal. The essay, titled “Recasting the Garden: Anne Brontë’s Subversion of the Victorian Garden Trope in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall,” appeared in the Fall 2018 issue.
When recalling her initial interest in the seminar, which was taught by Dr. Jenny Shaddock, Katelyn reflects on her own literary passions. “The Brontë sisters have been my favorite authors since I read Jane Eyre at age fourteen,” she explains. “Since then, I’ve read and re-read every novel the Brontës wrote. So, when I saw that Dr. Shaddock was teaching a seminar on the Brontës during my last semester at UWEC, I knew I had to take that class.”
When it came time to compose her essay, Katelyn drew from her interest in both feminist theory and the use of nature symbolism by authors in order to perform subversive acts in literature. “The pairing of the subversive garden imagery and the feminist critique in Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was a natural place to begin for me,” she describes. “Professors often tell students to write about something that interests them—and that’s truly the best advice when writing a research paper,” she adds.
However, Katelyn did more than just draw from her interests to compose her essay; she initiated the next step in the writing process by pursuing publication in a scholarly journal. She explains that, as a journal that exclusively publishes content written by undergraduates in the humanities, The Oswald Review (TOR) was a sound choice for the publication of her essay, which, she describes, “[O]ffers a new interpretation of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, adding to the conversation around Anne Brontë’s novel.”
For Katelyn, the first step in the publication process was to submit her essay with a professor’s (Dr. Shaddock’s) endorsement to the editor of TOR. Once she received an email stating that her essay had been accepted, she dove into the revision process, which is where she put the skills she had gained as an English major to work. “Overall, the publication process was a great experience—a challenge that my English studies at UWEC prepared me well to meet,” she says.
After being published herself, Katelyn shares the following advice for other English students who seek publication of their scholarly works: “Approach each paper you write as a chance to break new ground in the world of literary criticism. Your classes are an opportunity for you to experiment and take chances with your writing—so do just that. View yourself as a scholar (because you are), sitting down at a table with other scholars, adding to the conversation around your topic. Say something new! Then talk to your professors about publication to find a good fit for your piece.” She also highlights the value of the librarians at McIntyre Library for assistance with literature reviews, as well as the Center for Writing Excellence for help with any and all writing questions.
Katelyn’s accomplishment exemplifies not only how the writing process involves drawing on one’s passions and interests to compose scholarly works, but also how perseverance and dedication to these works will produce rewarding results.
Katelyn’s essay can be accessed with the following link: https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/tor/vol20/iss1/