From The Kaddu Wassa Archives, photographs by Andrea Stultiens in our September issue
As the year winds down, we reach out to our most important constituency, you—our readers. 2011 was another banner year for us. Amidst a sputtering economy, our team (your team) marked the following milestones:
Our first commissioned embed. With the help of the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute, Guernica sent contributing writer Malcolm Garcia to embed with the U.S. military in Afghanistan to report on their ugly habit of using burn pits. Yes, they burn everything, TVs, bicycles, human waste—sending toxic fumes from U.S. bases wafting across the landscape. Reporting like this, alongside the art and literature you love, is a big part of our mission.
Local and national. With more than half a dozen monthly Guernica meetups, panels, and readings in New York, a summertime meet-up in San Francisco (in tandem with BOMB Magazine), and panels at LWC}NYC, The Brooklyn Book Festival, The Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and at AWP in Washington, D.C., Guernica is very much spanning the map, and stirring discussions.
Global. Though we publish from the U.S., we are a global magazine. Our writers wrote on or from dozens of countries, including those in transformation like Libya, Egypt, Syria and Tunisia, and linked these with the Madrid, European and Occupy Wall Street protests, which we’ve covered robustly from day one. Our editors and contributors also did Skype panels with the likes of the University of Leipzig and were cited in media around the world. We also co-sponsored our first literary contest, The Disquiet International Literary Program Award, which sent the first-place winner to workshops in Portugal and was judged by Chris Abani.
A Nobel Prize. Not really (but sort of). Tomas Tranströmer’s contributions to Guernica came via Robert Bly’s translations in 2005 and 2006. Naturally, we were delighted when the Swedish poet received the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature. (We also published Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen’s piece on another Nobel Prize winner, Rabindranath Tagore, in April.)
Best American Essays 2011. When Guest Editor Edwidge Danticat and Series Editor Robert Atwan read Bridget Potter’s memoir of the hurdles she faced in the days of illegal abortions, titled “Lucky Girl” (from the March 2010 issue of Guernica), they knew how essential it was to the anthology. Congratulations to Ms. Potter.
Winning awards. This year Guernica was recognized twice at the PEN Awards. Poet Adam Day won PEN’s Emerging Writers Award for his Guernica poem, “The Gods Describe Building Bodies, Like Badger’s.” And Elliott Holt was the one runner-up in fiction, for her story, “The Norwegians,” selected by guest editor Claire Messud.
Triple the readers. Thanks in part to increased efforts on our Daily site, our readership in 2011 was just shy of three times what it was in 2010. That’s a growth rate we’re sure to top in 2012. And to that end, we will announce a new partnership in the second week of January, an arrangement we were so busy working on since summer, we literally didn’t have time to plan a benefit this year.
This is why we ask that you please make a tax-deductible year-end gift, so that 2012 will be even more successful than 2011 has been.
And when we say that Guernica is global and that it’s yours, we mean it. We invite you to call or email and let us know what you’d like to see us consider covering more of in 2012. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org. And our phone numbers are (917-280-1443, for Michael) or (646-981-3937, for Joel).
All the best for 2012,