Featured Writer: Mimi Schwartz


Submit to our 2018 Literary Awards!


This year's Literary Awards are now open for submissions. Our esteemed guest judges are Michele Morano, fiction; Elissa Washuta, creative nonfiction, and sam sax, poetry.

Winners in each category will receive $1000 and publication in Ninth Letter. All entrants will receive a one-year subscription.

Go here for complete guidelines and to submit your work!

Journal – No. 7

Spring/Summer 2007 – Vol. 4, No. 1

Sample Spreads




Chris Abani, Brock Clarke, Stephan Clark, Mickey Hess, Kelly Magee, Daniel Wallace, Kellie Wells


Diana Marie Delgado, Andrew Grace, Benjamin Grossberg, Dory L. Hudspeth, Gary L. McDowell, Karyna McGlynn, Wayne Miller, John Murillo, Sara Pennington, Elizabeth Klise von Zerneck, Thom Ward, Philip White


Terry Caesar, Ben George, Kathleen Kirk, Kim Dana Kupperman, Joe Oestreich, Elena Passarello, Judith Valente, Nicole Walker


Urban Vinyl: Art Toy Phenomenon, Fabiola Elias and Jeffrey T. Jones (writers)

Where We're At

Songs and Poetry: An Interview with John Darnielle by Laura Bandy

Haunting Graceland, by Cory Holding

Halfway House: A History of Horse Thieves and Hospitality, by Amy Sayre-Roberts

Editor's Note

Happy spring everyone! Things at Ninth Letter are growing and expanding in so many new and exciting ways it’s hard to keep track of them all—we’ve got our design team settled into a new studio space on the UI campus, thanks to the good people in the School of Art & Design, and genius designer Mason Kessinger has set us up with a fantastic redesigned web site (www.ninthletter.com) where you can find brand-new online content every month to keep you satisfied during the long stretches between print publications.

Our next Featured Artist to be showcased on ninthletter.com will be Jan Erkert, renowned choreographer and head of the UI Dance Department. Jan will be working with a team of artists, including our own Daniel Goscha, to create a dance/video hybrid electronic art project.

As always, we couldn’t keep up the good fight for art and literature without the support of many wonderful people on campus and in the community. On behalf of the staff of Ninth Letter, I offer our thanks to the following people and organizations:

Institutional Support

  • The Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership
  • College of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Critical Research Initiative Program
  • Department of English, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • LAS Humanities Council
  • Office of the Chancellor, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • School of Art and Design, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Individual Sponsors

  • Publisher Robert Skiba


  • Kathleen Harleman
  • Keri Kaeding and Steve Danzer

And thanks to our faithful readers, as well as any newbies that have picked up Ninth Letter for the first time. Enjoy this new issue, and many more to come.




Jodee Stanley

Creative Nonfiction Editor

Steve Davenport

Poetry Editor

Tyehimba Jess

Art Editors

Joseph Squier and Nan Goggin

Art Director

Jennifer Gunji-Ballsrud


Natalie Berberet, Kyrsten Blinstrup, Laurie Cheng, Sam Copeland, Kelly Cree, Megan Delaney, Fabiola Elias, Diana Jarvis, Jeffrey Jones, Borami Kang, Kristen King, Jonathan Lopez, Clinton Miceli, Hank Patton, Megan Severson, Ashley Skinner Brett Tabolt, Cathy Wendt, Ho-Mui Wong

Assistant Editors

Christine Bryant Cohen, David Coyoca, Adam Deutsch, Andrew Ervin, Harmony Neal, Juan Sánchez, T ed Sanders, Amy Sayre-Roberts, Leslie Singleton

Editorial Assistants

Lillian Bertram, Jaime Brunton, Eve Eure, Russell Evatt, Rebecca Faught, Cory Holding, Brian Keyes, Aaron Madrigal, Arley McNeney, Lara Mann, Jackie May, Christy Scheuer

Current Web Edition

Winter 2018

Featuring new work by K. C. Frederick, Danielle LaVaque-Manty, Kyle McCord, Brandon Melendez, Merridawn Duckler, Jessica McCaughey, and more!




Now Available! Volume 14, no. 2 - Fall/Winter 2017-18

Featuring new work from:
D. J. Thielke, Rachel M. Hanson,
Becka Mara McKay, Kimberly King Parsons,
Jeanne Larson, Oliver Baez Bendorf,
Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley, Aaron Baker,
and more. Plus: The winners of our 2017 Literary Awards!


Submit to our print edition

Purchase an issue or a subscription

Feature: Cuban Voices



Dream Game, Memory's Palazzo

The Sun Yat-sen International Writers Residency Special Edition

edited and with an introduction by Katherine Scott Nelson

featuring poetry, essays, and stories by Ravi Shankar, Fan Dai, Larissa Boehning, Rúnar Vignisson, and more

  © Ninth Letter, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.