“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
So began the 2023 edition (Volume 44) of Brewster’s literary magazine, Outcroppings, as the publication once again featured creative work in many forms produced by the Brewster community. In early January 2024, Brewster received word that Outcroppings had won a REALM First Class award—a national recognition of excellence in student literary magazines bestowed by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). The award recognizes the student staff: Editor in Chief Sylvie Skibicki ’23, Managing Editor Liam Fahey ’24, and Art Editor Zak Maxey ’23, as well as Outcroppings’ advisor, Director of Library Services Jen Dumont.
“I was super excited to hear that Outcroppings had won this award. It was inspiring to see the art and writing of Brewster students being recognized in this way,” said Fahey, who remains on the staff this year as editor in chief. He says that the best part of working on the 2023 edition was collaborating with friends Skibicki and Maxey, creating a piece of art that was representative of the 2022-23 school year. “The process of curating the magazine is much more than picking art,” Fahey explains. “Arguably the best part about making Outcroppings is deciding which pieces go together aesthetically to make for a page-turning experience.”
“Last year, my responsibilities consisted of helping Sylvie pick pieces and curate cohesive spreads,” Fahey continues. “Sylvie and I had some friendly banter about what we should’ve included in the magazine. We both had our fair share of convincing and compromising to do. This year I am taking on the role of Editor in Chief, and I am ecstatic to do so and collaborate with my peers Audrey Burke '24 and Logan Cliche '25.”
Ms. Dumont has served as the advisor for Outcroppings for many years, and says each year she is proud of how beautifully the issue comes out. She admits that there is a point in every school year when she secretly panics that the magazine won’t come together, and is grateful that she’s always proven wrong. “Last year, working with Sylvie and Liam, I did not have this worry,” she says. “These two students are such fantastic and dynamic creative souls. Their work is present throughout the book, but they also worked painstakingly to select works from other students that they felt were representative of the creative spirit and to weave the text and art together in a meaningful way. This award truly belongs to all of these students and faculty members who were published in this magazine, and especially to Sylvie and Liam.”
The appreciation is mutual: “Ms. Dumont has been such an amazing faculty leader for Outcroppings,” Fahey says. “She truly leaves the project up to us and offers nothing but her unwavering support.”
REALM, which stands for Recognizing Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines, is designed to encourage all schools to develop literary magazines that celebrate the art and craft of writing. “Outcroppings is a fine example of this mission in action, and the REALM committee looks forward to seeing future publications from your school,” said Emily Kirkpatrick, Executive Director of the NCTE in her notification to Brewster of the First Class honor.
The winning issue includes photography, artwork, poetry, and prose. Written pieces run the gamut from a Shel Silverstein-esque poem by Finnian Sawin ’24 entitled “Death of the Homework” to a poignant personal essay by Grace Watson ’26 about her grandfather’s passing called “Flowers and Tree Trunks.” Photographs by students and faculty also grace the pages, from sweeping shots of nature to pensive studies of light and shadow.
“I hope that everyone in the community has had a chance to read through last year's issue, and please know there are copies available in the library if you would like to pick one up,” Ms. Dumont says, adding that the 45th volume of Outcroppings will be published in May 2024. To be a part of this award-winning publication, please consider submitting your creative work—poetry, prose, short stories, essays, and artwork such as paintings, sculptures, drawings, and digital art—to Ms. Dumont.
View the 2023 issue of Outcroppings here.