Cherry Pitt Literary Magazine prepares for spring 2022 launch


Aaiush Jain | Staff Photographer

Caroline Waters (left), Paige Taylor (center) and Abby Morgan (right) are the head editor, web designer and president of Cherry Pitt, a new Pitt literary magazine for undergraduates.

By Jessica McKenzie, Senior Staff Writer

During her first year at Pitt, Abby Morgan used to joke with her friends about starting a literary magazine exclusive to Pitt students, called Cherry Pitt. She spontaneously applied a month ago to register the magazine as a student organization, which is now on track to debut next spring.

Morgan acts as the club’s president, which is now accepting submissions in all genres of writing and visual art. Now a sophomore English literature and communication and rhetoric major, Morgan said she was inspired to start Cherry Pitt because she was an active member of her high school’s literary magazine.

“In high school, the literary magazine gave me such a strong sense of community because everyone in the club was super close,” Morgan said. “As a Pitt student, I wanted to create something that would be wildly creative and super collaborative.”

Cherry Pitt meets on Thursday nights in the Cathedral of Learning and any Pitt student is welcome to join. The magazine does not have an official meeting room yet, but Morgan notifies students of a meeting place via email when they fill out the club’s interest form.

Morgan said Cherry Pitt sets itself apart from other literary magazines on campus such as Collision Literary Magazine and Forbes and Fifth because Cherry Pitt submissions are exclusive to publishing Pitt undergraduates. Students can submit fiction, nonfiction, poetry or visual art by visiting Cherry Pitt’s Instagram page, which has a link to a Google form to upload work.

According to Morgan, one of the most important elements to consider when submitting art and writing is authenticity.

“Each issue will have its own cohesive theme that you can see throughout the magazine, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t accept writing and art of all kinds,” Morgan said. “I think we’re just looking for people who are creating things that are really honest and represent who they are — that’s usually where you find the best work.”

Morgan said the Cherry Pitt team aims to publish their first issue at the end of next semester, with about 40 submissions. After the first issue, Cherry Pitt will publish once each semester.

Morgan said she is impressed with the submissions the publication has received so far, although the team has not decided on a theme for the first issue yet.

“We’ve gotten a few poems and some short stories so far. One of my favorite pieces to review have been the poems,” Morgan said. “We’ve gotten some writing pieces that are not only interesting content-wise, but they’re very visually cool looking. The form kind of plays into the meaning of the poem.”

Paige Taylor, a sophomore communication and rhetoric major, acts as head of web design at Cherry Pitt. Although the website has yet to be published since the club is awaiting full administrative approval, Taylor said as Morgan’s roommate, she felt compelled to be a part of Cherry Pitt Literary Magazine.

“It’s been really healing for me to tap into my creative side. I feel like there’s a lot of people that believe that they’re not creative, but I think it’s all about self expression,” Taylor said. “Sharing your art is so intimate, so we wanted to create a space where everyone can share their stuff and just have a welcoming area.”

Taylor said one of her favorite aspects of joining Cherry Pitt is the people she has met within the organization, many of whom joined through advertisements on social media and by word of mouth from mutual friends. According to Taylor, Cherry Pitt has about 27 members who hold a mutual love for literature and art, which fosters a welcoming environment for artists and writers.

“We’re all very down to earth and relaxed. We honestly just want to share people’s art,” Taylor said. “Everybody that is a part of this truly wants to be a part of this — they’re giving it 100% and sharing all these different ideas of what the magazine can turn out to be.”

According to Morgan, the organization is split into separate committees, all of which are accepting members to help choose submissions and craft the magazine — design, creative writing, event planning and copyediting. Students can choose to be a part of one or multiple committees, which each meet weekly. Since submissions are reviewed anonymously, anyone can submit work, including members of Cherry Pitt.

Caroline Waters, sophomore English literature major, is head editor of the magazine. She said Cherry Pitt is hosting an open mic event called Coffee House In the Park on Thursday at 8 p.m. at Schenley Park’s Flagstaff Hill in an effort to promote the club. 

“We’re trying to recruit new members in a number of different ways — we’re very active on social media, but now we’re kind of using this Coffee House event to find talented people at Pitt,” Waters said. “People are going to play music and read poetry, but all kinds of performances are welcome.”

Waters said she wants to use her leadership position at Cherry Pitt to amplify the voices of Pitt’s writers.

“Pitt is a very STEM-heavy school, so it can be hard to find pockets of people that write. This has brought a community of writers at Pitt,” Waters said. “There’s just so much potential for the magazine to be amazing.”

Waters said many of the skills she uses as head editor aligns with her career goals, so she is passionate about launching the magazine next semester.

“I have an editorial internship now and that really made me want to join this because I already have some experience editing — taking that into the club and being able to exert more control and influence over something like this was cool,” Waters said. “One of the reasons I love this magazine is that it goes hand-in-hand with my career goals.”

Morgan said she looks forward to receiving more submissions because she wants the magazine to be an outlet to spotlight Pitt students’ creative expression.

“Creative writing is a good way to document who you are as a person. You can look back on it and see how much you’ve grown,” Morgan said. “I want to use this magazine as a way to highlight students’ individuality.”