letter from the editors

letter from the editors

Dear Reader,

Last year, we reintroduced Essay Magazine to the world with a new look: Pocket Essay, containing the winner and two runners up of the Erik Kirkland Memorial Prize, along with an essay written by the judge. We launched our new website at the same time, showcasing several additional essays in a more versatile online environment. This new format, bridging the lands of physical and digital, represents the endless possibilities of creative nonfiction in an ever-changing world. This year, we are carrying Pocket Essay into the future while continuing to rethink our traditional appearance.

As we slowly start emerging into a post-pandemic world, it only becomes clearer and clearer that everything has gone through some form of transformation. So, in honoring both our rich history and this new stage of life we are all living in, we redesigned the Essay Magazine logo and website to reflect the sophistication and unwavering honesty of our contributors. These incredible essays rise to the challenge of living with history and spinning it into a new future, as “Headless Ghosts Haunting Me” travels through the layers of generational trauma and “Infant of Prague” explores the imprints that elderly residents’ past lives leave on a young employee. This edition of Essay offers a look into the tumultuous struggles of identity, disorder, grief, and family while still glimmering with everlasting hope. We are so deeply honored to publish these writers, and to partake in the future they are envisioning and reshaping.

Of course, this edition would not exist without the support of our community. We thank our wonderful advisors, Hasanthika Sirisena and Glen Retief, for all of their inspiring guidance and encouragement. We thank Heather Lang and Tony Zitta for their assistance in making this happen. We thank the brilliant Anna Badkhen for being our 2024 Cunningham Essayist and her excellent essay “The Art of Standing Up.” We also thank her for her assistance in judging the 2024 Erik Kirkland Memorial Prize. We thank our junior editor Megan Prumbach, junior design editor Emma Ritter, and website manager Haley Seitz for all the fantastic work they’ve done for this magazine. We thank our reading board members and each of our wonderful contributors. We thank our peers working on our fellow Susquehanna University magazines for their support in navigating the literary ecosystem of this endlessly creative campus. And finally, we thank you, our reader. Thank you for opening the doors and joining our tireless search for truth.

Change and its aftermath are difficult to confront, but we have faith that you will find comfort within the pages of this magazine. Dear reader, we are passing over to you this candle of hope. When you close the doors on this magazine, use this light to find your own future.

With kindness and love,

Emily Harris and Hal Dittbrenner

Essay Editors