Parallax Literary Magazine has been published by the Creative Writing department of Idyllwild Arts Academy since 1997. Idyllwild Arts Academy is a college preparatory boarding high school dedicated to the passion of young artists. Created, designed, and run by students, Parallax has always championed the high school writer by publishing the best of Idyllwild students’ creative writing and visual art. In 2011 Parallax expanded by adding an online component, which accepts submissions from high school students worldwide. The website also showcases student book reviews and writer interviews for the first time.
The story of Parallax is tightly bound to the story of the Idyllwild Arts Creative Writing department. Parallax began in the early ’90s as a small chapbook called Writer’s Block developed by Sharon Adams, the Dean of Academics at the time. She created a small creative writing class in the academics block and pushed for creative writing to become its own art department. In the mid-’90s, everything came together in favor of a creative writing department. The school administration was looking for ways to expand the school, student interest in creative writing had peaked, and Sharon Adams decided it was time to solidify the school’s writing mission. In 1995 the creative writing department opened its doors. Don Put had become the first department chair one night when he received a phone call from the academy administration. The woman that they had intended to chair the department had run away to New England to “find her tribe.” Would he be interested in taking over? As it turned out, he would. That week he was handed a Post-it note with a number scribbled across it. “Here’s your budget,” said then-Dean of the Arts Nelms McKelvain, “Let me know if there’s anything you need.” That year, Put started off the Creative Writing department with eighteen students. He gathered them together and told them about the idea he had for a new literary magazine, a step up from Writer’s Block. It would be more impressive, include visual art, and display the writing in a double-columned format as a throw back to old newspaper publications. A student suggested the name Parallax.
History compiled by Becky Hirsch