Hossein M. Abkenar is an Iranian fiction writer and screenwriter. His 2006 novel, A Scorpion on the Steps of Andimeshk Railroad Station, received numerous awards and has been translated into multiple languages. His screenplays include No One Knows About Persian Cats, which earned a prize at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. His books are banned in Iran, where they have been stripped from bookstores and libraries.
Geoffrey Babbitt’s poetry and creative nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Pleiades, DIAGRAM, Colorado Review, CutBank, TYPO, and elsewhere. He currently teaches at Hobart and William Smith colleges.
Don Bartlett has translated novels by many Danish and Norwegian authors, among them Jo Nesbø, Roy Jacobsen, Lars Saabye Christensen, and Per Petterson. He lives with his family in Norfolk, England.
Controversial Italian poet, novelist, essayist, playwright, and gay activist Dario Bellezza (1944-1999) was championed by such luminaries of twentieth-century Italian literature as Elsa Morante, Alberto Moravia, Dacia Maraini, and Pier Paolo Pasolini. He won wide acclaim, including the Viareggio Prize in 1976, as well as the Montale Prize—another highly regarded lifetime achievement award. As an openly queer writer, who died a premature death caused by AIDS-related complications, Bellezza’s work remains somewhat marginalized and not readily available to an English-speaking audience. These poems are translated by Peter Covino from Bellezza’s posthumous collection, Proclama sul fascino.
Robert Brunk’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Iowa Review, The Michigan Quarterly Review, The Gettysburg Review, Conversations, and The Bear River Review. He is also the editor of May We All Remember Well: A Journal of the History and Cultures of Western North Carolina. He resides in Asheville, North Carolina. His essay “A Samuel Beckett Song,” published by Michigan Quarterly Review, was selected as a notable essay by Best American Essays 2014.
Christos Chartomatsidis grew up in Bulgaria in a Greek political refugee family before moving to Greece in 1980. He has published work in Bulgarian as well as four novels, two short stories collections, and four plays in Greek. He is a doctor and works at the General Hospital of Komotini, Greece.
Stephan Eirik Clark is the author of the novel Sweetness #9 (Little, Brown 2014) and the short story collection Vladimir’s Mustache (Russian Life Books 2012). He teaches in the MFA program at Augsburg College and lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Jehanne Dubrow is the author of five poetry collections, including Red Army Red (2012) and Stateside (2010), from Northwestern University Press. Her new book, The Arranged Marriage, is available from University of New Mexico Press. Her work has appeared in Southern Review, The New England Review, and Prairie Schooner. She is the director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House and an associate professor of creative writing at Washington College.
Witness blends the features of a literary and an issue-oriented magazine to highlight the role of the modern writer as witness to his or her times. Launched in Detroit in 1987, the magazine is best known for showcasing work that defines its historical moment; special issues have focused on political oppression, religion, the natural world, crime, aging, civil rights, love, ethnic America, and exile. The issues “New Nature Writing,” “The Sixties,” “Sports in America,” and “The Best of Witness, 1987 – 2004” eventually appeared as university press anthologies.In 2007, Witness moved to Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The magazine now publishes one special print issue and two general online issues each year and increasingly seeks out work that contextualizes the American experience by highlighting issues of global concern.
Lee Foust is a fiction writer and performer from Oakland, California, who has lived in Florence, Italy, since the mid 1990s. He teaches literature and creative writing for various American universities abroad and is the father of one. He is the author of Sojourner (Infinity 2013), a collection of short stories and poems, and the forthcoming Poison and Antidote, nine bohemian tales of San Francisco during the Reagan era. His fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in various journals, magazines, and newspapers in Europe, Australia, and the United States.
Emily Geminder’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, The New York Observer, and elsewhere. She is currently a Durwood Fellow at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Derek Henderson earned his PhD in English and creative writing from the University of Utah and is a founder of the publishing house Blue Night Press. His first book, Inconsequentia (BlazeVOX 2010), is a dual sequence of poems written in collaboration with Derek Pollard. In 2011, he published Thus & (if p then q), an erasure of Ted Berrigan’s experimental 1964 collection, The Sonnets. His latest book, Songs, an interpretive translation of the film cycle by Stan Brakhage, was published in 2014 as part of the Mountain West Poetry Series.
Karl Ove Knausgaard was born in Norway in 1968. His debut novel Out of This World won the Norwegian Critics Prize in 2004 and his A Time for Everything was a finalist for the Nordic Council Prize. For My Struggle: Book One, Knausgaard received the Brage Award in 2009, the 2010 Book of the Year Prize in Morgenbladet, and the P2 Listeners’ Prize. My Struggle: Book One was a New Yorker Book of the Year and Book Two was listed among the Wall Street Journal’s 2013 Books of the Year. My Struggle is a New York Times best seller and has been translated into more than fifteen languages. Knausgaard lives in Sweden with his wife and four children.
Robin Kozak lives and works in Carmel, Indiana. Her poems have appeared in Antioch Review, Black Warrior Review, Crazyhorse, The Gettysburg Review, Hotel Amerika, Indiana Review, Poetry Northwest, and other publications. She has recently completed a novel, The Kingdom It Would Be.
Brandon Krieg is the author of a collection of poems, Invasives (New Rivers Press 2014), and a chapbook, Source to Mouth (New Michigan Press 2012). He is a founding editor of The Winter Anthology. He lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Circe Maia was born in Montevideo in 1932, but she has lived most of her life in the northern Uruguayan city of Tacuarembó. Her collected poems Circe Maia: Obra poética was published in 2011. Invisible Bridge/El puente invisible: Selected Poems of Circe Maia, a bilingual edition of her work with translations by Jesse Lee Kercheval, is forthcoming from the University of Pittsburgh Press.
Terrance Manning Jr. is a graduate from Purdue’s MFA program. He received first place in the Boulevard Short Fiction Contest for Emerging Writers, the David Nathan Meyerson Prize for Fiction, and Crab Orchard Review’s John Guyon Literary Nonfiction Prize. His work appears or is forthcoming in Southwest Review, Hunger Mountain, Baltimore Review, and other magazines, and has been selected as a finalist in such contests as the Cincinnati Review Schiff Awards for Prose, Colorado Review’s Nelligan Prize, and the American Short Fiction Short Story Award. He lives and writes in Pittsburgh.
Michael Martone was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, fifty-nine years ago, and in all that time he has only seen one person die, his grandmother on his mother’s side, Blanche. Of course, he has seen hundreds of people “die” in the synthetic recreations of the event acted out on stage or screen, but only that one time did he witness the cessation of life for real. It happened at the St. Anne Home in Fort Wayne where his grandmother had been a resident for a time. He was teaching at Syracuse University when he got the call from his mother and raced home to see his grandmother alive one last time. Later, the surviving family members, many of whom were there at the bedside as well, would say that Martone’s grandmother seemed to delay her passing long enough to allow Martone to arrive. And, indeed, it did not take long for her to finally let go (and it is an accurate description—letting go—with the gathered family all urging dying Blanche to let go). Martone was struck at how the dying appeared to be very much a labor, how it replicated the breathing and the struggle of the other kind of labor. Martone’s second son had recently been born in Syracuse, and the laboring of his mother looked a great deal like this laboring of his grandmother. St. Anne Home, interestingly, was originally built by the Catholic Church as a home for unwed mothers, and the room where his grandmother died had, at one time, been a birthing room. He returned to his classroom in Syracuse and gave an inspired lecture to his students, a narrative of his grandmother’s story ending, how we all struggle into life and then find a way to struggle out of it. This journal has asked for a contributor’s note for this issue. A deadline was approaching. Can I send a contributor’s note? The request came via the internet, an email. He is typing the note now on a borrowed laptop. He is sitting in his father’s room in St. Anne Home on the second floor, not far from the room where twenty-some years ago with his father, who now lies a few feet from him here on his own deathbed, he watched his grandmother Blanche die.
Eric Mcmillan commanded a rifle company during “the Surge,” in Baghdad and Diyala, from 2007 to 2008. His ten years on active duty included assignments in Bosnia, Korea, and two combat tours in Iraq. He received a Made at Hugo House Fellowship from the Richard Hugo House in Seattle, and his writing has appeared on TheAtlantic.com and in Gulf Coast.
Lucy Morris is a writer and translator living in Iowa City.
Peter Orner is the author of the collections Esther Stories (Mariner 2001, Little, Brown 2013), a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, and Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge (Little, Brown 2013), and the novels The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo (Little, Brown 2006), winner of the Bard Fiction Prize, and Love and Shame and Love (Little, Brown 2011). His stories have been anthologized in Best American Stories and he has twice been awarded a Pushcart Prize.
Pedro Ponce is the author of Stories After Goya (Tree Light Books 2014). Excerpts from Dreamland, his novel in progress, can be found in the Satellite Collective’s online journal, Transmission. He teaches fiction writing and literary theory at St. Lawrence University.
Kelly Puig Carroll recently completed an MFA in Fiction at Brown University’s Literary Arts Program while pursuing interdisciplinary coursework in the book arts at Rhode Island School of Design. Her writing has been published in Wag’s Revue and The Columbia Review. Her literary artist books are featured in the Artists’ Books Collection at RISD’s Fleet Library and the Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays at Brown University’s John Hay Library. Her work can be seen at spelledwithawhy.com.
Novelist and short story writer Moniru Ravanipour was born in Booshehr, Iran, in 1952. She has had eight books published in Iran, and translations of some of her work have also appeared in the West. Her story “Satan’s Stones” was selected for the groundbreaking anthology of Iranian literature, Strange Times, My Dear (Arcade 2005). Among her novels in Persian are The Drowned, Heart of Steel, and Gypsy by Fire.
Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) is one of the foremost figures of French symbolism. After a tempestuous relationship with the poet Paul Verlaine, Rimbaud abandoned poetry at the age of twenty and traveled the world, settling in Africa. Donald Revell’s translations of Rimbaud’s landmark works A Season in Hell (2007) and The Illuminations (2009) are available from Omnidawn. Rimbaud included “Les Poètes de sept ans” in an 1871 letter to the poet Paul Demeny.
Elizabeth Rush has crossed borders with Bangladeshi cattle smugglers, built homes with Lima’s squatters, and participated in the underground performance art scene in Yangon, Myanmar, and Hanoi. Her work has appeared in Granta, Orion, Le Monde Diplomatique, Al Jazeera, Urban Omnibus, Huffington Post, Frieze, Nowhere, and other publications. She is the author of Still Lifes from a Vanishing City (Things Asian Press 2015) and currently teaches at the City University of New York. She is at work on a book about North American coastal communities already responding to sea level rise.
Jennifer Sears, recipient of a 2018 NEA Creative Writing Fellowship in Prose and a 2018 Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts, has work published or forthcoming in the Kenyon Review, Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading Series, Guernica, Fiction International, Ninth Letter, Fence, Scoundrel Time, and other literary journals. Her short story “The Interrogator Recites a Love Song,” originally published in Witness, was noted in Best American Short Stories 2016 and published as an e-book by the New York Public Library in collaboration with Plympton. She teaches English at New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn.
Douglas Unger is the author of four novels, including Leaving the Land (Harper & Row 1984), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and winner of the Society of Midland Authors Award. His most recent books are the novel Voices from Silence (St. Martin’s Press 1995) and the collection Looking for War and Other Stories (Ontario Review Press 2004). Among his newer works are stories in Boulevard and Southwest Review, essays in The Writer’s Chronicle, Carve, and other publications, and he has just completed a new novel, Dream City. His honors and distinctions include a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, a Fulbright scholarship, and the Nevada Board of Regents Medal for Creative Activities. He is the co-founder of the MFA in Creative Writing International and PhD with creative dissertation programs at UNLV, where he teaches, and is affiliated faculty with Black Mountain Institute. Doug Unger also serves on the executive board of Words without Borders, as editorial advisor for The Americas Series with Texas Tech University Press, and travels extensively in support of literary activism around the world.
Marianne Villanueva was born and raised in the Philippines. She is the author of the short story collections Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila (Calyx 1993), Mayor of the Roses (Miami University Press 2005), and The Lost Language (Anvil 2009), and co-edited Going Home to a Landscape, an anthology of Filipino women’s writing from around the world. Her novella Jenalyn (Vagabondage Press 2013) was a finalist for the 2014 Saboteur Awards. Her stories have appeared in a wide range of publications, including The Threepenny Review, ZYZZYVA, The Crab Orchard Review, PANK, Café Irreal, and Your Impossible Voice. She is currently Mendocino Art Center’s writer-in-residence.
Nicole Walker’s 2013 memoir Quench Your Thirst with Salt won the Zone 3 Award for Creative Nonfiction. She is the author of a collection of poems, This Noisy Egg (Barrow Street 2010), and edited, with Margot Singer, Bending Genre: Essays on Creative Nonfiction, and, with Rebecca Campbell, 7 Artists, 7 Rings: An Artist’s Game of Telephone for Huffington Post. A recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, she is nonfiction editor at Diagram and associate professor at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, where it rains like the Pacific Northwest, but only in July.
Laura Weinert-Kendt is a fiction writer, journalist, and teacher from Southern California. Her articles and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, Newsday, and Back Stage West. Her fiction has appeared in London’s Mechanics’ Institute Review, and she recently received honorable mention in Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers. She is a senior lecturer in writing at New York University and a proud member of the Greenpoint Writers Group, the resident writing collective of Word Bookstore in Brooklyn. She lives in Queens.
Richard Wiley is a short story writer and novelist and a winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award.
Ghassan Zeineddine was born in Washington, DC, and raised in the Middle East. He holds an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University and is currently completing his doctorate in English at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is working on a novel set in Beirut in the late 1960s and ’70s. His short story “The Curse of the Al-Turks” was selected as an AWP Intro Journals Project Award Winner and appeared in Iron Horse Literary Review. His short fiction has also been twice selected as a finalist in Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers.