Letter From Our Guest Editor

Aram Mrjoian

For a long time, I joked about creating a competitor to the Pushcart Prize where writers would receive a surprise delivery pizza. The prize would not be as prestigious, but it would pay more dough. When Variant Literature reached out to make a version of this dream a reality, I was overjoyed. Now, not only will three Pizza Prize winners get to enjoy a pie, but so will three writers they’ve nominated for their support of the literary community.

Literary citizenship is often difficult to define and quantify, especially when connecting in person has become increasingly challenging. In my mind, one of the biggest challenges of being a writer is understanding how to consistently value your own work while also supporting others, knowing how much time and energy you can dedicate to opportunities that might pay little or nothing at all. Sometimes I wish we had more space for pizza parties, more concrete chances to meet and celebrate the literary community year-round. For me, reading for the Pizza Prize has been one of those opportunities, and I’m so grateful to the Variant Literature team and all the writers who submitted their poetry and prose.

I read more than 250 poems, stories, and essays in making the selections for this inaugural issue. It was so much fun, and I was overwhelmed by the breadth and excellence of submissions. Lately, the world feels perennially overwhelming, so I think we could all use a little more joy, which I sincerely hope the selections in this issue bring.

Here’s hoping we can share a slice soon.

Aram Mrjoian


© Variant Literature Inc 2021