There are moments when news—really bad news—inspires writers and poets, and in that inspiration we read works that are indubitably relevant to our present condition. Rhimi’s To Motherless Aleppo and Mallik’s Veil of Warfare are poems that contribute to the ever-growing literature on Aleppo, instigating a consciousness of responsibility on us to raise our voices and not to remain silent, like the rest of the world that has chosen to conveniently ignore the suffering of millions for far too long. With the same virtuoso, Jain’s Don’t Move a Finger is a short but concise story showing the disturbing victimisation of rape victims in India. Through only dialogue between a couple, we experience the views from opposite genders, loaded with cultural tropes and innuendo.
On a lighter note, we are excited about publishing a couple of character-driven speculative fictions. Linam’s The Forrest Princess is a fable that has a wild girl in the place of a traditional animal, but it is far from being a simple morality story; rather, it is primarily a tale of love. Vargas’ A White Noise is part mystery and part science fiction, we can only speculate with what has taken place to the protagonist. And while many publishers turn an eye on stories with a writer-protagonist, we could not resist Seymour’s Artisan Roast, as anyone who writes can relate to the challenges the protagonist faces, and the humanity within us that we want to have prevail above all else.
Further, the issue contains a personal essay, Heat by Mirelle Tinker, and poetry, most of which explore issues of identity or loss—loss of self, or of a loved one. The poems have stirred us with their themes, imagery and brilliant use of language, like poetry is supposed to. The passion of these poets is anything but shy or conserved; Bochra’s I Had A Dream is the voice of oppressed women, while Ali’s A Small Death is a painful look at a fallen woman who is—again—a rape victim. And these are but a few of the poems.
We hope that this edition will bring you much reading pleasure.
Cecile, Samir, Sofia, Vanessa
Cecile’s Writers Magazine editorial team