An Inward Look - Our Vision

In/Words is a literary magazine that is published through the Department of English at Carleton University. It is "little" in that it involves no profit motive in its publication, thereby ensuring freedom of expression and artistic integrity. However, In/Words' goals and visions are large. Its fundamental mandate is to provide a safe space in which writers and artists - regardless of academic discipline - can test and develop their voices among a community of like-minded individuals.

In/Words is a little magazine that challenges, inspires, consoles, irritates, disturbs and delights those who give it meaning. It reaches out beyond borders to writers who are a breed of people who often feel alienated and isolated and makes them realise they are not alone. It gives students the potential to express themselves, and to begin their writing careers. And it gives Carleton University a creative presence and a literary voice.


In/Words is a co-operative, made up of people who share a passion for writing. There is no hierarchical structure inherent in its organisation; each person contributes by doing what they love most - or what they most want to learn. In this way, In/Words is a means by which students can have direct hands-on experience in publishing and, as a by-product, the magazine constantly evolves and grows.

Apart from vetting submissions, the In/Words team do all the design and input for the physical and web-based magazine; they provide constructive feedback to authors who submit their work; they make all editorial decisions about what should and should not be included; they attend weekly meetings in which budget, marketing, community involvement, and all other issues concerning the magazine and press are discussed; they oversee the production and distribution of the magazine and they organise and host regular literary events on campus and in the community at large.


In/Words has been in existence for six years. It began as a reaction to a first year seminar course taught by founder Professor Collett Tracey in which students were encouraged to write. As more and more creative, interesting and stimulating work began to be produced the next step became getting the students' work "out there" in order for more people to be able to read it, and concurrently, to continue to nurture the desire in students to write. Researching possible local publishing avenues towards which these writers may find direction proved futile. The University of Ottawa, for example, has no literary magazine. And while there are many literary groups in Ottawa, none publish a little magazine that welcomes avant garde work by a variety of writers. And so, In/Words began.

During the first year, only two issues saw publication, consisting of perhaps 30 submissions. Since then, however, In/Words has continued to grow and now publishes six issues per year, receiving up to three hundred submissions per issue. Furthermore, while the original idea was to provide a publishing avenue for first year students, particularly English students, we now receive and publish work by students from every year (including graduate students) and every discipline at Carleton, including Engineering, computers, the sciences, etc.

In addition, as In/Words has continued to expand, it has become part of Ottawa's writing community by distributing its publications to various locations around Ottawa, including bookstores, Starbucks and Second Cup locations, in addition to hosting Open Mic Nights and literary gatherings at Rasputin's, Zibibbo's and other local restaurants.

Our Editors

Under the leadership of Collett Tracey, several editors have committed themselves to bringing In/Words forward. They include:
  • Cameron Anstee
  • Amanda Besserer
  • Nick Culhane
  • David Emery
  • Peter Gibbon
  • Justin Million
  • Mark Sokolowski

This year In/Words wishes to continue to challenge Carleton students to write and publish their best work in the magazine and in an ongoing series of chapbooks. In/Words sees the need to provide more of a sense of community to Carleton writers through interactive discussions about their work and about literature in general, writing workshops and book clubs on and off campus.

The launch of In/Words' new website not only features the magazine and chapbooks that we publish, but also provides interactive discussions about the poems, short stories and other texts that are included. In addition, the site offers oppotunities for writers to discuss their work in progress via forums and live commenting.

A more professional appearance will increase the presence of In/Words within the community, as will the increase of our distribution network via local bookstores and other outlets.

To augment the stature of In/Words, and to solidify the idea of writers being part of a larger national community, In/Words appeals to Canadian writers across the country to offer an original piece of work that it might publish.

Since, historically, universities are the axis around which most writers and readers revolve, In/Words hopes to develop a network of literary magazines across the country which, co-operatively, could establish a writing competition which would result in the publication of an anthology of the best of Canadian university students' writing. The magazine looks forward to working with appropriate organizations to flesh out its vision and welcomes the interest of sponsors to achieve great things for writers from coast to coast.