Diamonds in the Rough – A Literary Magazine

University of Duisburg-Essen

Department of Anglophone Studies

Diamonds in the Rough is a joint effort at the University of Duisburg-Essen between students and their faculty advisor, Dr. Melissa Knox-Raab. The magazine will appear regularly and feature essays, narrative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and the occasional recipe.

Self-discovery, self-analysis and the search for a true self all infuse the Summer, 2023 issue of Diamonds in the Rough. Our essays explore the urge to collect things, a longing to figure out the motives of a younger self, and the pitfalls writers face in approaching life writing. Short stories re-create a doomed evening in a club,  a break-up and a moment in the lives of the one percent. A book review praises Jennette McCurdy’s tell-all memoir, I’m Glad My Mom Died, and poems from students as well as a Ukrainian lawyer express a myriad of emotions. We’re fortunate to share a number of images and photos as well.

Our Winter 2023 issue is a contemplative one, filled with explorations of states of mind, of motivations, of cultural and social pressures, of human motivation, and of personal success. Rich in poetry, we’ve included a short story, many essays, some illustrations and some recipes. We hope you enjoy our work!

Our Summer 2022 issue is concerned with social justice and the urgent need to speak one’s mind. Essays cover important political issues like abortion and women’s rights, gay rights, free speech and free thought when democracies are increasingly at risk. We also have some light-hearted writing—an essay on not being a duck—and a critique of a TV series, One Tree Hill. I’m happy to say we have some wonderful art work as well—a series on beer bottles with commentary: “Beer Stories,” and four paintings. As a last word, I’m reprinting a favorite “Coming Down with Covid” chicken soup; you don’t have to endure Covid to like it. 

Our Winter 2022 issue concerns perserverance in pandemic times: determination, grace under pressure, and humor characeterizes the student work included here. Topics range from death as an Uber ride to a better place to preparing children for the worst, judging jokes that haven’t aged well, relinquishing childhood securities to become an adult, learning from literature how to live and how to die, resoluteness in the face of adversity. There’s also joy: on listening to Taylor Swift and the necessity of the arts, especially in trying times. The issue provides a photo by Tina Wolf, author of an essay and a defense of the arts, as well as a range of art works by Kat, also known as Ann-Katrin van Loosen.

Our Summer 2021 issue provides pragmatic solutions. Advice about how to write your first song in the key of C Major, insights into sexism in politics, the advantages and disadvantages of unusual upbringings, reasons to listen to music, what menstruation means to the uterus, a wonderful recipe revealed by a less than wonderful relative, and an invitation to enjoy Anglophone Studies and Philosophy are among our topics. We offer thrills, too, in the form of an action-packed suspense story. Poetry and stunning art round out this issue.

Our Winter 2021 issue explores the paradox of home, in pandemic times a refuge as well as a prison. Feeling at home with oneself, one’s body, one’s culture, one’s ethnicity—or feeling like an outcast—is the common thread binding these essays together.

The idea behind our name is rooted in our location: industrial work as well as mine work represent the Ruhr area (Ruhrgebiet), where the University of Duisburg-Essen is located. Hence, Diamonds in the Rough is a suitable name for this project: our authors are like rough diamonds that shine through their writing. Our name is a homage to the Ruhrgebiet and the diminishing coal industry which has made space for new productive forms, such as art, literature, and theater. 

We are proud to present our first issue here. Our second issue spotlights topics of great concern to us all, namely sexual harassment and the “Me, Too” movement as well as harmful varieties of religious experience. A course on American Women and Cults produced a number of thoughtful essays on the ways in which religious ideas can be misunderstood. Two of these essays are included here. 

Finally, I’m offering another easy-peasy set of recipes . . . this time, for getting published in English-language literary journals. At least 4,000 online (and some print) sources are looking for good writers.

Our first issue of 2020 explores the personal as well as the political. Covering urban sketching, the perfect Döner, poetry, writing as a help toward making life choices, and magical worlds, our authors (and painters) also respond to the world of COVID-19, the Black Lives Matter movement, the uncanny magnetism of America’s leader, and the costs of taking any side in politics.

Starting with the 2o2o issue, the magazine offers a Pandemic Journal. All are invited to contribute for as long as we’re coping with COVID.

If you are interested in submitting to this literary magazine and/or would like to obtain more information on the project, please feel free to contact us.