Rusted Radishes celebrated the launch of its sixth issue – “Underground” – on Saturday, Nov. 25 at ‘Haven for Artists’, a creatively-revamped old villa in Mar Mikhael.
Currently headed by Editor Rima Rantisi, Rusted Radishes is a Beirut-based literary and art journal, housed in the English Department at the American University of Beirut (AUB).
The publication features “the best of student and faculty writing and art at AUB as well as of writers and artists from abroad,” as mentioned on its website.
The event brought together approximately 150 people, who all gathered in the quaint space presented by Haven. 15,000 L.L. was the standard fee of entry, which came with one drink and a copy of “Underground”. The launch was catered by Jai, and included a selection of Thai/Indian finger food.
The launch opened with entertainment by guest singer Rawan Chaya, and guitarist Joe Zakhia, known together as “Row and Joe”.
The night continued with introductions from Editor Rima Rantisi, Managing Editor, Vicken Margossian, and Faculty Drama Editor, Milia Ayache.
Explaining the theme of “Underground”, Margossian said, “It’s what comes from within, beneath, what’s tucked away, repressed, what’s growing where it shouldn’t.” Rantisi further clarifies and describes the theme in the first page of the issue.
Performers – whose works were featured in the publication – then took to the stage and presented their dialogues, poems, prose pieces and stories. In order of appearance, the readers included: Zein Saleh and Sam Hrawi, Theresa Sahyoun, Mustapha Jundi, Joe Poladian and Rana Issa.
“I submitted my writing to Rusted Radishes because I think it’s very important for writers to put their work out there. At one point the most guaranteed way to improve is to put your work out there and see what other people have to say,” Sahyoun told Outlook.
She continued by adding that, “Performing is always very scary but I love doing it. There’s always a sense of solidarity between people. Not because they respect your work and listen to you but also it’s because what you’re trying to say is relatable to many people. It’s a nice feeling.”
Rusted Radishes is edited and designed by students and faculty members from various departments at AUB, all of whom volunteer their time to bring the publication to life.
Margossian proudly spoke of Rusted Radishes and the accomplishments he believes it has achieved, as well as the team’s plans for the future:
“With five issues under our belts already, I look at issue six as the beginning of a new page for Rusted Radishes. I feel like we’ve firmly planted our roots, and we know who we are and who we want to be. We have so many plans we’re excited for, coming in the near future, and so the idea of planting our roots seems fitting.”
Issue seven of Rusted Radishes is set to be published next November, with the theme to be announced later this year. The submission period extends from January 1 to March 15 of next year.