**Thank you to everyone who helped us to hit our goal! Now that the Guernica Annual is possible, we're shooting for the moon. If you help us to reach our stretch goal of $23,000, we'll be able to pay everyone who contributes original work to Guernica Daily for the rest of 2015. This is the first time we'll be able to expand contributors fees beyond special issues and the Annual. With every pledge, you bring change to Guernica!**
In 2004, two friends walked into a bar called Guernica and thought it would be a fun place for literary events. It's hard to believe that that dust speck of an idea turned into a non-profit magazine that has published features, fiction, poetry, interviews, and art for free for eleven years. Guernica is now read in over sixty countries each month, welcomes 2 million annual visits to the site, and has an archive full of content from cultural luminaries and emerging voices that represent the world we actually live in—global, political, beautiful, challenging, diverse, and smart. The bar we began in may have shuttered, but the magazine continues to thrive and defy expectations, surviving in spite of the heavy odds against a volunteer-driven, passion-fueled, free online magazine of art, politics, and ideas.
The name Guernica may have been a fluke, a happy accident involving the right place and the right time, but it set the tone for our mission: our work explores the intersection of art and ideas; the content that we publish is multilayered and unexpected; we are interested in place and politics. We are a magazine of original content, set on representing a diverse array of voices from across the age, race, gender, and geographical spectrums.
Our digital pages include work from: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Rebecca Solnit, Kiese Laymon, Jesmyn Ward, Jami Attenberg, Lidia Yuknavitch, Alexander Chee, Bei Dao, J. Malcolm Garcia, Mark Dowie, Edith Grossman, Tom Engelhardt, Tariq Ali, Susie Linfield, Pierra Bayard, Shelley Jackson, Ayana Mathis, Richard Price, Eula Biss, Rivka Galchen, Deb Olin Unferth, Alexandra Kleeman, Anna Badkhen, Chinua Achebe, Porochista Khakpour, Mark Binelli, Margo Jefferson, Josh Weil, Jesse Ball, Ariel Dorfman, Hilton Als, Sadanand Dhume, Phil Klay, Catherine Lacey, Brenda Wineapple, Monica Ferrell, and Laura van den Berg. Guernica guest fiction editors have included Claire Messud, Roxane Gay, Sam Lipsyte, George Saunders, Francisco Goldman, and Ben Marcus.
We think Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Junot Díaz said it best: “Guernica is a desperately needed antidote to a mainstream culture that seems increasingly to favor nonsense, commerce, and simplification over art, dialogue, and nuance. The world, that terrible heaving gorgeous impossibility, is to be found shining in every edition of Guernica. And for that alone it is indispensable.”
...But we don't think Claire Messud or George Saunders were too far off, either:
While we pride ourselves on our presence as a free and accessible online magazine, we also understand that for some folks, there just isn't anything quite like a tangible book. And because we are volunteer-driven, our editors aren't afraid to take some risks (just ask them about the time they were censored by Google). So, when everyone else was singing dirges for print, we put on our earmuffs and published a beautifully designed anthology that we felt embodied the Guernica ideal: a broad and eclectic mix of voices, bound by a shared love of and respect for original art and prose. The Annual highlighted some of our favorite pieces featured in the magazine throughout 2014, including Kiese Laymon’s honest and moving conversation about race and progress with his mother, “Hey Mama”; Rachel Riederer’s timely and provocative “The Teaching Class,” on the pressures that adjunct professors in America face; and Mohamad Junaid’s “Stone Wars,” a portrait of the clash in Kashmir.
The Guernica Annual, Vol. 2
Our first-ever Guernica Annual featured authors and artists from nine different countries. They were established voices and newcomers. They were varied in race and gender. Contributors in this new volume are just as diverse: they range from college students to seasoned veterans of the writing game. They are Iranian, Colombian, and Russian and currently live everywhere from Tehran to Spain to Alaska. What they do have in common is their powerful storytelling and their enormous capacity to teach us more about humanity and the world we live in.
The pieces in Guernica's second Annual are above all about the ways we build up and break down identity, how and if and when we're perceived, the stories we tell ourselves and the ones we tell other people. They explore the microaggressions that accumulate into acts of erasure and take up exercises in image-making. They touch on our desire to connect, to relate, to be visible. As poet Claudia Rankine says in an interview featured in the anthology: "In interactions with others you’re constantly waiting to see that they recognize that you’re a human being.... You’re constantly waiting for the moment when you will be seen."
Some of the works to be included in this book come from the magazine's special issues, which this year are focused on the theme of boundaries. Almost all consider the crossroads and interstitial spaces where we locate the self; the borders we erect and the ones we transgress; the fault lines, real and imagined, that traverse race and class, religion and gender. In an interview, author Maggie Nelson discusses anticipating the birth of a son with her fluidly gendered partner. Alexander Chee describes his first time in drag and the liberating experience of “passing” as a woman—perhaps even as a white woman. Masha Gessen explores her decision to schedule a preventative mastectomy and what it might mean to lose her "women parts." "Because people you know sometimes cut theirs off so as not to look like you," writes Boston Gordon in a poem.
The features, interviews, fiction, art, and poetry here examine also how we do and do not belong to communities, nations, and the wider world around us. J. Malcolm Garcia takes a devastating investigative look at the many non-citizen veterans who have been deported for crimes since changes were made to US immigration law in the 1990s, despite their years of American military service. An interview with Kurdish-Syrian filmmaker Mano Khalil, who was jailed in the 1980s for mentioning his Kurdish identity in a magazine and later fled to Switzerland, is weighted with the pain of exile. There are pieces on the mundane loss and disappearance of our memories, the places we inhabit, and the people we love, like Alexandra Kleeman's short story on a slow, quiet apocalypse or Ingrid Rojas Contreras's on the kidnapped in Colombia.
These are stories of the everyday: the intimate human moments that make us who we are. They contemplate our privacy, our faith, our language, our homes, our bodies, our selves.
Benefits (and Benefitting Guernica)
By Kickstarting our (new) tradition of a printed Annual, you'll also be raising money to support the voices that make Guernica unique. Reaching our goal of $18,000 means we can publish the second volume of the Guernica Annual, but exceeding that goal means we can pay more contributors, and make Guernica more sustainable and more accessible. It's important to us that Guernica is open to everyone: a place to read, to write, to think about what matters. Help us continue to make sense of the world through the intersection of art and politics. Help us to always stay free, to always be online. If every Guernica reader gave us a dollar, we wouldn't need to ask for any more for quite some time.
We hope that Guernica is to you what it is to us: unique, insightful, powerful, intelligent, valuable. A community. And because we are a community, we’re thrilled that (with the help of some of our friends) we’ve been able to pull together some spectacular benefits for this Kickstarter campaign. Of course, you can pre-order the Guernica Annual here, and we hope you do, but you can also:
- Snag our classic Guernica tote bag
- Stock up on fall reading with packages from Riverhead Books, Coffee House Press, Knopf, NYRB Classics, Harper, Random House, and Grove/Atlantic
- Take a writing workshop from Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop or Catapult/Electric Literature
- Go book shopping with Alexander Chee, James Hannaham, Phil Klay, Rob Spillman, or Helen Rosner
- Attend a one-on-one cocktail-making lesson with NY Times "Drinks" columnist Rosie Schaap
- And more!
Check out just some fantastic benefits below!
Risks and challenges
Guernica is made up of a passionate volunteer-driven staff that has put out twenty-four issues a year for the eleven years, and we're proud to say that we have never missed an issue. We're confident we can make this Annual happen, even better than our first time around (print) block.
We are once again partnering with Haymarket Books, helping us reach more readers and your local indie bookstore. We are also working with the same brilliant and experienced book designer/project manager we used last year. If we have learned anything from last year's campaign, it is how to complete this project well and on time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (21 days)