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Desire is complicated in that as much as it burns inside of you and demands an outlet as is it born of heart, of love, of wanting something that is so essential, that will make life so good once you tell the world, once you manifest it in your life, it can also fuck you up. This edition of Litro marks our inaugural edition in the U.S, we launch in the U.S at an extraordinary time. But writers can help us to mitigate our fears, their work can push us toward action, toward embracing our essential values in the face of being cast down, being made menial by the forces of those in power. Writers can give us hope and stoke our desires.
In this issue we have gathered a group of emerging writers including BuzzFeed Emerging Writers Fellow Frederick McKindra; Whiting Award winner Nadia Owusu; PEN Beyond Margins Award winner Laila Halaby; and Best American Experimental Writing of 2020’s s Leah Sophia Dworkin give voice to desire in a range of stories and essays that embrace the 21st Century with the empathy, anger, and poetry that makes for a portfolio of exceptional literary expressions of our time. Oh, and there’s sex too. And fear. And fun.
Some of these writers featured in this issue speak of the desires of the body, of the flesh. Some speak more to a body politic or “real” politic. They all, including the poetic writer and translator Lawrence Schimel whose prose sparkles and sears with the heat of eroticsm; Chika Onyenezi who brings us nostalgic longings; Hannah Seidlitz whose melancholic desire sings; and Ingrid Norton who offers us dreamy prose, contribute dutifully and beautifully to this exploration of this most basic and complicated thing we all share: desire. Remember their names as, over time, you’ll want to grab more of their work.