USD students looking to a pursue a career in publishing now have a hands-on class in which to improve their skills.
The Astrophil Printing Press is an independent publishing house created by USD lecturer Duncan Barlow. Its establishment goes back six years, but this is its first year being taught as a class on campus.
Undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in Astrophil will have the opportunity to experience what working for a printing press is like, learning both the inner workings of Astrophil and publishing in general. This includes working with InDesign, creating spread sheets and promoting Astrophil through social media. Students will also work with book distributors.
Barlow said his class will allow students to learn new skills that can help them in future publishing roles.
“(It) is an excellent opportunity for students to understand both sides of the publishing world,” he said.
Barlow said he hopes the press will continue to grow in student enrollment and in published work. Astrophil has published six works so far, and Barlow is looking to publish another by the end of 2016.
Those who have not taken the class but are interested in Astrophil Press can inquire about working with it in some capacity, Barlow said.
He also said anyone still interested in being involved with the press can still help out once they’ve completed the course.
Grant Riedel, a graduate student enrolled in the class, said the press is “a unique asset to the community.”
Riedel said he hopes to continue working with Astrophil after completing the class, and would eventually like to work for the South Dakota Review, a literary print journal.
With a background in graphic design, Riedel said he’s able to effectively utilize his skills in class.
The press has already become an admired part of the English department, not only as a unique class, but also a means to give back. All profits made from the press will go back to the department.
Darlene Farabee, the department chair, feels the press is a good addition to campus.
“The English Department is pleased to be able to offer students such exciting opportunities with Astrophil Press,” she said.
Brian Evenson, one of the press’s published authors, is scheduled to come to USD in October for a book signing and a question and answer session with students who are interested in learning about what it takes to be an author.
So far, Evenson is the only Astrophil author scheduled to visit campus.
(Photo: USD lecturer Duncan Barlow talks with his new Astrophil Printing Press class students on Sept. 11. Mollie Bertrand / The Volante)