September heralds in many new beginnings; new school years, new seasons, new opportunities. Much in this trend, we’ve had our own new experience here at Noble / Gas. This season, we’ve had the honour of awarding the first ever Birdwhistle Prizes in Poetry, Short Fiction and Nonfiction to Zoha Batool Khan, Emily O’Neill and Owen Vince respectively. These cash prizes were awarded to writers as a direct result of all those who have sent in Tip Jar donations and general donations our way, and being able to put this money back into the community in this way has been a humbling experience. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to do this.
This issue features the colourful splendour of Sarah Shields’ artwork, an essay exploring the ghosts of our past amid literal ghosts from Tabitha Blankenbiller, who is also the subject of our Objects of Derision feature interview, and our Birdwhistle Prize winners’ pieces. We’ve ruminations on the mythic, on the act of language, on the nature of a body, of the alien and of the known. We hope that these writers, these artists, and their incredible work will lift you up, will give you space to think and consider, will allow you an escape from the tedium of everyday life.
To Tabitha Blankenbiller, Karen Chen, Joyce Chong, Matt Dennison, Joel Hans, Jessica Hilt, Devin Kelly, Zoha Batool Khan, Julia Rose Lewis, Douglas Luman, Jessica Morey-Collins, Emily O’Neill, John Rodzvilla, Keith Rosson, Sarah Shields, Daryl Sznyter, Owen Vince, Donna Vorreyer, Margaret Wack, Ian C. Williams, Robert Young: thank you for entrusting us with your work, for allowing us to herald you and the astonishing work you have done with your words, your art.
Thank you also to Andrew Saavedra, Joseph Spece, Sara Iacovelli, Lindsay Branca, Daniel Warner, John Boucher, Julia Dixon Evans, Andrea Hackbarth, Graham Oliver, without whom I would always be lost, and to Will Kaufman, who we hope will return to us one day.
Thank you.
Emma Fissenden