Dear readers,

In this issue, we examine global education and the shifting gap between rich and poor countries. "Into this gap," writes author Zadie Smith, "well-meaning people tend to pour in two large groups: the Church Workers and the Aid Workers." When it comes to education, Smith writes, "there were so few people writing development stories from a human perspective. Stories that were not especially concerned with a man's eternal soul or his statistical representation, but with his life." Enter Writers Bloc, a group of renowned scribblers launched into far-flung corners of the globe to report humanely on schools: Aleksander Hemon on Bosnia and Herzegovina's ethnic education enforcers; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Nigeria's schools as battleground for politics; Kamila Shamsie on the struggles of education reformers in Pakistan; plus, Nathalie Handal on Haiti, two years after the earthquake. Nor is the United States spared this scrutiny. Former Gates Foundation education entrepreneur Tom Vander Ark and Waiting for Superman's Michelle Rhee discuss why Latvia and Russia are surpassing Americans in schooling. And more great poetry, blogs, art; and for fiction--instead--a play. And Guernica launches the global education issue with a pair of events in London, one of which is here.


FEATURES: Mind the Gap: By Zadie Smith: On global school reporting without the wonk.

FEATURES: Why Are You Here?:  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: On branding, charity, and class in Nigeria's schools. 

FEATURES: National Subjects: By Aleksander Hemon: Ethnic identity training in Bosnia and Herzegovina begins in the classroom.



FEATURES: The Battle over Pakistan's schools: By Kamila Shamsie: Can a small group of reformers modernize Pakistan's education system?

INTERVIEWS: Waiting for Nobody: Michelle Rhee on improving mobility, the gap between the U.S. and other developed countries, and why she's optimistic.

INTERVIEWS: OK, Computer: The former Gates Foundation director thinks technology will help ready American students for college and careers. But they (and their parents) ought to work twice as hard as they do.

FICTION: Turnabout: A one-act play by Daniel Reitz: What are years? Just so much backed-up vomit and shit. But look at me digressing. How rude of me. When you want money.


ART: 7 Rooms: Photographs by Rafal Milach: In Russian, a language in which there is a separate word for everything, the word "country" means both the territory and the government.

POETRY: The Last Bestiary: By Daniel Bourne: When all animals have died / even the ones in books.

POETRY: Bamboo Grove and A Place Named for Deer: By Wang Wei, translated from the Chinese by Billy Merrell. 

BLOG: Anthony Kammer: America's Libertarian Pendulum: The return of libertarianism shouldn’t shock you.

BLOG: What's A Park For: The battle over whether or not to allow the cultivation of oysters inside a California national park.


The second annual Dzanc Books / Guernica International Literature Award is seeking poetry, fiction, or nonfiction that takes North American literature beyond borders. One winner will receive airfare, tuition, and accommodations to the DISQUIET International Literary Program in Lisbon (July 1- July 13, 2012) and publication in Guernica.

Final judge: Colson Whitehead. Reading fee: $15. Postmark deadline: Jan. 31, 2012.

Contact or visit for complete guidelines

In support of Writers Bloc, and this issue, Guernica will be co-presenting a launch event Tuesday at London's Free Word Centre. Details here.