Art and writing major


Basil Gates

Working with authors for “Bridge: The Bluffton University Literary Journal” has made Basil Gates a stronger writer.

Basil Gates writes, runs and explores 

Basil Gates ’25, a Bluffton University student from Galion, Ohio, was planning to go to art school. Then, he came on a recruitment visit for cross country and found the perfect major right here.

“I heard the art and writing major was an option and I was like, ‘oh, that’s perfect. That’s exactly what I need,’” said Gates.

Now, he’s gaining experience in the literary field as a member of the editorial team for, “Bridge: The Bluffton University Literary Journal.” While Gates’ focus is on the fiction and non-fiction submissions, “Bridge” also publishes art, screenplays and poetry from writers aged 14-24. Each semester, the editorial team reviews hundreds of submissions before deciding what ultimately makes it to print.

“I think it’s really fun,” said Gates of selecting the stories. “There’s such a big array of talent and diversity. You’re not going to get the same story twice. We get submissions from India, China, everywhere in the world.”

In addition to selecting the top pieces, members of the editorial team often work with the young authors to edit or polish their writing ahead of publishing. Gates believes the practice has made him a stronger writer. He also credits the mentorship of Tobias Buckell. 

“I’ve basically had him every semester,” said Gates. “He’s been super helpful with showing me how to organize my writing and take advantage of my creativity.”   

Gates has a few pieces of fiction he is currently refining with plans to submit them to literary journals. While he has yet to see his name in print as a fiction writer, he’s had a few journalism pieces published in, “The Witmarsum.” 

Outside of “Bridge,” Gates is also a member of the cross country and track and field teams at Bluffton. Running not only pushes him physically but, because he’s putting in long distances, mentally to “keep going and finish.” 

He describes his teammates and coaches as family and appreciates that running is both a team and an individual sport. 

“I love competing with others,” explained Gates. “There’s nothing more satisfying than beating somebody at the very end, but it’s also so satisfying to beat your own best time.”

Last summer, Gates had another significant college opportunity thanks to Bluffton’s cross-cultural program. Gates took part in the Civil Rights tour of key southern historical landmarks, museums and cities including Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans. Students also heard firsthand accounts from people directly involved in the Civil Rights Movement including participants of the Selma to Montgomery march and the sister of a victim of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. 

“It was a heavy trip, but important for understanding issues that we still deal with today,” said Gates.

Following graduation, Gates’ ultimate goal is to become an author/illustrator of graphic novels. 

Bridge, spring 2023 issue

Spring 2023 Bridge

“Bridge” spotlights literary works by 14-24 year-old writers, chosen by a passionate group of  Bluffton University students.