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The name Hair Trigger was chosen to reflect the moment of creative impulse in writing: the all-at-once action of imaginative seeing and telling in one’s own voice, while shaping the story movement, in progress. This active process of storytelling in-creation is the centerpiece of the Story Workshop methodology, an approach to teaching creative writing originated by the late John Schultz, Master Teacher at Columbia College Chicago and creator of the Hair Trigger literary journal.

Hair Trigger has always been about inclusion—representing the range and diversity of student voices, and showcasing content that exemplifies the College's mission for students to author the culture of their time. 

Hair Trigger devotes three of its four issues to work produced by Columbia students in the Creative Writing program, Photography program, and the Illustration and Design programs, and one issue to solicited and unsolicited work in poetry, flash fiction, fiction, nonfiction, and visual art.