Rusted Radishes celebrated its fifth year of publishing on Friday, September 8, in AR_KA, a coffee shop and workspace on Armenia Street in Mar Mikhael, Beirut.
Rusted Radishes is a literary and art journal housed in the American University of Beirut’s (AUB) English department. Established in 2012, the journal has published five issues, featuring exclusive work from both students and established writers. It is edited and designed by staff of both students and faculty from the Departments of English and Architecture and Design at AUB.
With a different theme for every issue, Rusted Radishes has explored different aspects of the Lebanese psyche through artistic work. A self-proclaimed Beirut-based publication, the journal attracts members of the city’s creative community to combine their efforts into publishing a journal that showcases the talent present in Lebanon and abroad.
The fundraiser event featured live readings from previously published writers, as well as pieces from the upcoming issue, and a brief open-mic session. An after-party followed with music from the 2000s that kept the attendees on their feet and dancing until the morning hours.
The lineup included Christy Choueiri, Muzna Mughal, Rami Abi Ammar, Lynn Cheikh Moussa, and Nour Annan, five current AUB students who took to the stage and addressed social and political issues such as war, poverty, and immigration through their readings in front of a crowd of over 120 people.
The event ended with a closing note from Editor-in-Chief Rima Rantisi who took to the stage to thank the attendees and Rusted Radishes team.
“We are non-profit and not looking to make a lot of money, only enough to cover our expenses, which is why we held this event here today.” explained Managing Editor Vicken Margossian. “The fact that we have reached so many people goes to show how important what we’re doing is, not only in Lebanon, but [abroad] as well.”
The journal’s reach has gradually grown since its conception in 2012, with submissions coming from all over the world from writers of different nationalities.
“Browsing through the issues, you can notice how far we have come since our first issue, which was small and mostly full of immediate contacts from the English Department and friends of friends. Now we are getting submissions from all around the world. Last year we had submissions from over 20 countries besides Lebanon, and it is amazing that we have this wide reach now. I have to stress again that [the team working on this is completely student and faculty based],” continued Margossian.
When asked about Rusted Radishes’ future plans, Margossian mentioned the launch of an online version of the publication starting with the sixth issue in order to make accessibility easier for readers abroad and establish an online presence. He also mentioned starting a Rusted Radishes club at AUB to involve students in activities and hold on-campus readings and workshops about creative writing, among other things, in addition to the possibility of the production of a previously published play.
The sixth issue of Rusted Radishes is set to launch in late November.