“Filling a Publishing Gap” Through Point Loma Nazarene’s New Literary Journal Last Syllable

Logo courtesy of the “Last Syllable” Journal’s website.

By Sam del Rey

The new Writing Master’s program at Point Loma Nazarene University seeks to “fill a gap in publishing,” according to Writing Professor Katie Manning, through the launch of the program’s  long-form literary journal titled Last Syllable.”

The “Last Syllable” website officially launched on Oct. 16, 2023. The journal began accepting submissions that same day, though no submissions from current PLNU students or faculty will be accepted. Within a week, the journal received around 150 submissions. 

The journal’s decision to exclude PLNU submissions, according to Josiah Roberts, a writing master’s student and website designer for “Last Syllable,” is to help legitimize the journal in the public literary sphere by incorporating outside voices and engaging with different members of the literary community. 

There are four main categories that writers can submit under: poetry, non-fiction, fiction and open genre. “Last Syllable” is run exclusively by the master’s writing student cohort and supporting faculty. 

The final publication will be narrowed down to 12 submissions, ideally three from each category according to Manning, the publisher for “Last Syllable.” 

Manning began developing the model for “Last Syllable,” a long-form journal, when designing her Editing and Publishing class for the Writing Master’s program. 

The purpose of the class is for students to learn practical editing and publication skills to aid them in their future careers as writers, according to Manning. 

Long-form writing pieces are rarely accepted in traditional literary journals due to space constraints and other industry factors, which is the very reasoning behind “Last Syllable”’s exclusively long-form format. 

“[It] seemed like a really obvious thing to me that there is this huge gap in literary publishing and that we could fill it,” said Manning.

This sentiment is echoed in the “about” section of the official “Last Syllable” website, where it states “We aim to make a space where long-form pieces are the expectation — not the exception.” 

The fact that “Last Syllable” is an online publication removes the space constraint issue print journals often run into, though Manning states that the limited number of accepted submissions stems from the desire of wanting the journal to “still feel like an issue you can read” and stay within budget, as “Last Syllable” is committed to paying their contributors. 

Manning has noticed enthusiasm from the students for the professional work experience and industry skills they are learning through their involvement in “Last Syllable.” 

Denise Magloire, a writing master’s student and social media manager for “Last Syllable,” speaks to the value of experiencing “the other side of things,” referring to the publishing procedures of the professional literary world. 

Magloire has seen this experience influencing her own writing. 

“All that comes into play when managing a journal is now in the back of my mind when I submit,” said Magloire. 

Beyond the practical applications of this experience, Magloire touches on the social aspects of working on Last Syllable,” explaining that “you feel like you are really a part of the literary community.” 

Abigail Franklin, a writing master’s student and genre editor for non-fiction submissions, also touched on the communal aspects of working on the journal and the influence this has had on her writing, saying it, “Makes me a better writer getting exposed to other people’s work.” 

The first edition of “Last Syllable” is expected to be released in December 2023, according to Manning. Visit for more information.