Professor Gina Shaffer oversees the award-winning WALL


The cover of WALL 2020 illustrates how COVID-19 has infiltrated our lives this year. Matthew Morris/Courtesy

WALL Literary Journal is a literary magazine that has been published annually since 2001 at Saddleback College. WALL features poetry, short stories, personal narratives, photographs and artwork that have been selected among submissions from Saddleback students. A printed copy of the journal circulates on campus at the start of the fall semester every year.

“This year’s edition has a more sociopolitical message to it with the mask on a woman on the cover representing COVID-19 and Martin Luther King’s quote, ‘Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can’ on the back cover,” says Gina Shaffer, faculty advisor for WALL.

The back cover of WALL 2020 is a statement to address the turbulent times society faces. Matthew Morris/Courtesy

Since 2012, WALL has won several first place awards in national competitions among college literary magazines sponsored by the American Scholastic Press Association. This organization designated the 2017 and 2018 editions of WALL as “Most Outstanding Community College Literary-Art Magazine.” The journal also received recognition from the Community College Humanities Association winning a first place award in 2018 and a second place award in 2017 in their national competition.

WALL is created each year by students enrolled in English 160, a three-unit class devoted to the production of the journal. Students are involved in reading, selecting and editing submissions as well as doing layout, design and publicity. 


Professor Gina Shaffer of Saddleback College is an accomplished writer and serves as the faculty advisor for WALL. Gina Shaffer/Courtesy

Gina Victoria Shaffer is the faculty advisor of the WALL and professor of English 160. 

Shaffer has written several plays that have been staged in theatres throughout Southern California and off-Broadway. She is affiliated with the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights, as well as a member of the Dramatists Guild. 

In 2000 and 2001, she won the Tomoko Chino Graduate Award in English Literature. In 2001, she also won the University of California President’s Dissertation Year Fellowship.

Her two-act play, “Under the Cuban Moon,” was presented in a staged reading at Repertorio Espanol in New York City, and was chosen as a finalist in the MetLife Nuestras Voces National Playwriting Competition. 

Her one-act play, “War Spelled Backwards,” was published in The Literary Experience, an anthology used in college classrooms. 

“I wrote my first story when I was about six years old about a shoemaker and when I was in high school, I was trying to figure out a way to turn my writing into a career,” Shaffer says. “I wanted to teach English and I wanted to do journalism.”

 Shaffer worked as a news reporter, magazine editor and theatre critic. She worked on the staff of The Daily News in Los Angeles, The Miami Herald in South Florida and The Orange County Register in Santa Ana and earned recognition from the San Fernando Valley and Orange County press clubs.

Shaffer’s journalistic training began with writing obituaries, then she moved to the police beat covering crime stories from bank robberies, hostage situations to murder-suicides in Miami.  From there, she covered higher education, religion and social issues. Human interest stories were a favorite topic for Shaffer to cover in Orange county.

“I feel my background in journalism really helped me in my teaching,” Shaffer says.

Her educational background began at University of Southern California where she received two bachelor of arts degrees — one in journalism and one in English — as an undergraduate in a special program. Later, she graduated from the University of California at Irvine where she received her Ph.D in English. Now she teaches classes in creative writing, literature and composition at Saddleback.

Shaffer began her teaching career at University of California, Los Angeles writing programs in the English department where she taught composition, argument and research classes. She’s been teaching at Saddleback since 2010 and became faculty advisor for WALL in 2012. Her English 160 is the class responsible for putting together and publishing WALL.

“I love teaching at Saddleback,” Shaffer says. “The campus is wonderful and so supportive of students.”

Shaffer’s role in the class is overseeing the process of students putting WALL together. There they receive hands-on practice writing short stories, personal narratives or poems. Classes are divided up by committees that do the selection and editing, then the graphic designers put together the artwork.

“This year’s distribution of WALL was difficult because the campus was closed,” Shaffer said. “On September 11, there was a partial distribution day where I set up a table and students drove by and I handed them out,” Shaffer says.

There will be a drive thru distribution of WALL 2020, on Friday, Oct.16, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the bus stop circle from the Medical Center Drive entrance off Marguerite Parkway

WALL is available in a digital format online, as well as archived editions.

This year’s public reading will be presented in a virtual format at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29 on YouTube through the sponsorship of the Liberal Arts and Fine Arts division.

If students are interested in submitting a short story, poetry, personal narrative, fiction, photography or artwork for consideration in WALL 2021, download submission form here. You may submit more than one entry for consideration. Submissions will be accepted until Jan. 27, 2021.