Summer 2020

In mid-January, when our small team of undergraduate editors landed on “Debts” as the theme of this Ninth Letter Online edition, we were barely aware of COVID-19. We certainly did not imagine this distanced and fractious summer of 2020. Instead, we chose “Debts” as a sort of looming universal, quite apparent to them as debt ridden college students, but also for the many valences of indebtedness, and obligation, and appreciation.

There’s very little exchange of money or capital in these pages, and you won’t find coronavirus in this “Debts” edition of Ninth Letter either. But it is worth noting that each author was selected only after our editorial meetings went online mid-semester per executive order. Debts and disease were present in each Zoom’d conversation. So I think you will find stories that persist in this new normal – each dealing with, or just living within, these emergent realities.

Thank you to our group of young editors, who built this distanced issue of Ninth Letter. They made that void small, whether over webcam, in a chat bar, or a crackling phoneline, sometimes in a closet, or while watching siblings, or just dealing with the news. And thank you readers – this journal is owed to you.



Creative Nonfiction

Jeffrey Liao - The Republic of Salt 

Giles Scott - In Everything Enchanted There's an Element of Trust



Soramimi Hanarajima - Transmutability

Kim Magowan - Not Talking



Geoff Anderson -  Self-Preservation

Robert Carr - I'm Reminded of What I've Forgotten

Crystal Ellefsen - When my magic runs dry

Matthew E. Henry - an open letter to my well-intentioned white educators: past, present, and future

Brad Kavo - Tin Can Man

Jennifer Met - Stranger on a Nude Beach and Tabula Rasa

Jeffrey Perkins - The Way Things Are Now

Jeremy Rock - Transcontinental

G. J. Sanford - What I Don't Know (About My Mother)

Adam D. Weeks - Instructions for Care

Corey Zeller - Vows


Editorial Staff

Editor: Zachariah McVicker

Editorial AssistantsDaniel Aguilar, Nia Ali-Valentine, Mariela Bautista, Allison Connelly, Paige Connor, Treyton Jansen, Autumn Latus, Jason Lauridsen, Luke Madden, Logan Mitzel, Christopher Nied, Bryan Pedraza, Natalie Sendun, Brianna Vargas-Gonzalez, Sarayah Villasenor, Anna Witte


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