Pride, joy, satisfaction…just a few of the words to describe our After Hours journey. We’ve watched for twenty years as After Hours has evolved: how our editorial perspectives have become sharper; how the quality of contributions has continued to amaze us with each issue; how our fledging enterprise has gained the respect of such important libraries as the Newberry, the University of Chicago, and the University of Wisconsin.
So many world events have colored the background of the journal’s content since June 2000: 9/11, war, the Obama years, Trump,and now a global pandemic. But also life itself. We tend to find themes developing with our submissions (even though we have never initiated a themed issue) as our contributors experience parenthood, illness, death and aging.
The original intention of launching After Hours, a journal of Chicago writing and art, was to create an archive of and a spotlight for Chicago writers and artists at the turn of the 21st century. As that century moves forward, we are moving with it. After Hours has grown beyond being a semi-annual journal with the publication of three books and (pre-pandemic) we began hosting the Chicago Speaks monthly open mic. We are also proud to present in this issue the winners of the second annual Mary Blinn Poetry Prize.
We continue to search out new Chicago voices, young voices and diverse voices. We’ve learned over our twenty years that there is no single “Chicago voice.” Chicago writing is as diverse as its neighborhoods. But the one characteristic that defines After Hours and Chicago writers and artists continues to be unadorned honesty. Writers who find, in Hemingway’s words, “one true sentence.”
We are grateful to our “regular” contributors and to all the new writers and artists who share their work with us each issue. We look forward to bringing you, our readers, many more issues of After Hours in the future, filled with the best that Chicago has to offer.
Albert DeGenova and Pat Hertel
We thought it important at our 20-year milestone to remember some of those contributors who have passed. Their work enriched and uplifted our magazine, and they are deeply missed by the Chicgo writing and artist community.
Rane Arroyo Effie Mihopoulous
Norbert Blei Ron Offen
Mary Blinn James Paradiso
Helen Degen Cohen E. Donald Two-Rivers
© After Hours Press 2021, Elmwood Park, IL