Skip to content
Lehigh Carbon Community College

Students’ creativity shines through in LCCC’s literary magazine

By Gianna Destefani

The top priority for most students during their academic career is their coursework. But for those who seek a creative outlet, students can contribute to Lehigh Carbon Community College’s literary magazine, Xanadu.

Named in the 1816 English Romantic poem “Kubla Khan” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Xanadu has been published at LCCC for decades and continues to be a way for students at all of LCCC’s campuses to share their creative work with others. The magazine includes poetry, short stories, essays and photography.

“I think inclusion is key,” says Anne Ryan, Xanadu’s faculty advisor. “We want to include in Xanadu all types of writing, levels and styles. I want to include everybody.”

Ryan teaches English courses at LCCC’s Donley Center in downtown Allentown. With a lifelong passion for creative writing and a love of teaching, she has big plans for Xanadu after being named the magazine’s new faculty advisor last year.

She helped to create a page insert for a previous edition of the magazine that featured students’ creative writings in Spanish and German, which were such huge hits that she hopes to incorporate additional unique features into the magazine.

Two student editors work alongside Ryan to create Xanadu. In spring 2018, those students were Jasmine O’Neal and Yeisiel Rios. Both O’Neal and Rios share Ryan’s love for creative writing and had their works published in the spring 2018 edition.

“I felt really excited because I had my own creative work published in a magazine,” said O’Neal, who continues to work as a staff member for Xanadu.

O’Neal plans to transfer to a four-year institution to pursue a bachelor’s degree in English and also wants to pursue a career as a writer.

“I love the free creative reign,” O’Neal said. “I can do what I want, and I can take on my own ideas without anyone telling me what I have to write about.”

O’Neal prefers writing short stories, although she hopes to eventually write a novel. Like many writers, she has multiple unfinished works, but she credits her mother as the support that drives her to finish as many of the stories as she can.

The Xanadu staff often needs to be creative just to compile each edition. Due to scheduling conflicts, O’Neal and Rios were unable to collaborate on the magazine with Ryan face-to-face. The entire process was done online, using tools like Google Docs and email.

The process of building the magazine starts with Ryan organizing the submissions that fit Xanadu’s guidelines. She then sends them to the student editors anonymously to eliminate any potential bias. The two editors rank the submissions, which affects how they are organized in the published magazine. Ryan and O’Neal both said that they enjoyed reading every submission.

“I appreciate all of the different styles of writing that are in the magazine,” Ryan said. “As a creative writer, I’ve always wanted to work on creative writing with students. That’s my favorite thing about teaching – the interesting ideas that come out of students’ work.”

Students can submit their work to Xanadu by emailing Poems, stories and essays sent as either Google Docs or Microsoft Word attachments are accepted. Submissions are being collected through the end of the fall 2018 semester for publication in the spring semester. For more information, email