The Mochila Review, published at Missouri Western since 2002, held its annual book launch on Monday, April 16. The international undergraduate journal has brought world-renowned writers such as Nikki Giovanni and Taylor Mali to speak on campus for the past four years. These writers primarily serve as judges for the Undergraduate MoRe Prize, an honorary title chosen by The Mochila Review staff and a special guest judge.
While university students from all over the world were encouraged to submit their work to Western’s international literary journal, students at Western benefited from getting to see meet this year’s guest judge in person. Although the #1 New York Times best seller is best known for her series such as Witches of East End, Blue Bloods and The Isle of the Lost, Melissa De La Cruz has published over 45 novels.
In honor of De La Cruz’s appearance, The Mochila Review, edited and advised by Marianne Kunkel, invited students from the university theater department to create renditions of some of the author’s most popular work. The students were asked to not only recreate scenes from De La Cruz’s collection, but to perform at the event.
Although student playwright Rachel Segbawu, sophomore, is no stranger to the acting world, she says adapting an author’s work to the stage is no small task. “It had its own kind of scrainess…. I was worried she’d [De La Cruz] be like ‘Well, that’s not how I imagined it’,” Segbawu said.
Da Vion Huey, junior, is a staff writer for the Mochila Review and has attended the event for several years. “They [authors] say the things that are always on your mind as a writer. Like how you can get rejected so many times and still keep going,” Huey said.
In addition to unveiling the 20th volume of The Mochila Review, the Monday’s even also held an advanced signing of De La Cruz’s most recent novel from the ‘Hamilton-centric’ Alex and Eliza series.