About Issue #76

Frame & Focus

It goes without saying that the world around us constantly changes, but surely the pace has picked up over the past couple of years. Perhaps it’s that the COVID-19 pandemic, in breaking most if not all of our routines, has also given us a fresh perspective on what seemed normal, and the opportunity to reconsider the many ways in which “normal” didn’t always mean “good.” 

Here at Creative Nonfiction, we’ve used this time not only to redesign our quarterly magazine (a process we started long before the pandemic struck), but also to consider why Creative Nonfiction—and creative nonfiction—really matters. In this issue, we explore the deep roots of the genre and celebrate the spirit of rebellion that’s always infused it. And we consider where we are now—as writers and citizens, as artists and human beings—at this moment that feels pivotal for so many foundations of our society.

We know that our stories matter; we believe that true stories based on real-world experience are one of the most powerful tools humans have for communicating information, fostering empathy, and changing ourselves, our culture, and our world. That’s all more important than ever right now.

In the natural world, diversity creates a healthy and thriving ecosystem. This issue paints a picture of an adaptive genre that has flourished over time, contributing to a resilient cultural and literary landscape, by expanding and welcoming new stories and voices and perspectives and narrative approaches. This is the only way we can understand the past and—perhaps even more important—imagine the future.

There’s been a lot of talk about “getting back to normal.” But let’s not do that—let’s try to do something even better.