Meet the Staff! – Layla

Have you ever been curious about who makes the handbound books BatCat Press produces?  As we go through the second half of our 2015 – 2016 year at BatCat Press, we’ll introduce you to all twelve of the staff members that work year-round on creating our beautiful journals and publications! We hope you enjoy!

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Layla is our next featured staff member, and our first sophomore! This is her first year on staff, but she’s been looking forward to being a part of BatCat since she was in sixth grade.

NAME: Layla
AGE: 15
FAVORITE BOOK: Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
FAVORITE AUTHOR: George R.R. Martin
FAVORITE GENRE TO READ: Fantasy or realistic fiction
FAVORITE GENRE TO WRITE: Creative non-fiction
OTHER INTERESTS: volleyball, dogs

Layla has been at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School, BatCat’s home, for four years. “BatCat is what made me join the [Literary] Department,” Layla said, “because coming in, I was like, ‘Do I do theatre?’ but then I heard about BatCat, and I knew that this is where I wanted to be.”

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“Just feeling like I’m actually part of something bigger in the literary world drew me in,” she explained, “because we’re actually putting out something, and it’s actually making a difference in [the author’s] life.” Layla also likes working on Press because it’s one of her goals to get published. “It’s not my main goal, but I just want to do something in the literary field. Even if I’m not the next JK Rowling, that’s all I want to do.”

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Layla also has a really big passion for bookbinding, which she channelled into a class earlier this year. “It started off as Haley just kinda saying it as,  ‘Oh, this is a stupid idea,’ but it wasn’t, so we made it happen.”

The class took place on March  12, and we had about fourteen participants, including Layla’s mother, grandmother, and great-aunt. “It was really cool to see everyone actually learning to [bookbind],” she said. “Sitting there and trying to watch my family do what I do every day — it kinda hit me that making a book is a lot harder that we give ourselves credit for. It’s a difficult thing to do.”

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(left to right) Layla’s grandmother, great-aunt, and mother with the books they made.

She added, “It was nice to see that we could expand this if we wanted to; we could bring more people in and show the bookbinding world to more people — people did seem interested. Sometimes it seems like it’s a dying art, but it’s not something that has to vanish.

“I think sometimes,” she continued, “coming to this school and comparing it to my old school, I forget that outside of here, a lot of people don’t care about arts, so it’s good to see that there’s still a good amount of people that want to learn more about it.”

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The prototype book Layla designed for the class

Layla also discussed how being a part of BatCat was different than she expected it to be. “I was surprised that Mrs. Baringer doesn’t run the entire thing,” she said. “I was surprised we have so much input. I thought she made the decisions and we were just the henchmen, but we’re actually kind of equals. It’s nice.”

Check back for more staff members!
Olivia C, Staff Member

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