Essays: The Meaning of Change During COVID

The latest issue of John Freeman’s eponymous literary journal features talented storytellers.

john freeman
Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times

Writer, editor, and critic John Freeman (whom you may know as the host of Alta Journal’s California Book Club) presents the latest issue of his eponymous literary journal, Freeman’s. Framed by the theme “Change,” this edition showcases the work of Ocean Vuong, Lauren Groff, Aleksandar Hemon, Sandra Cisneros, and other giant talents who trace the ways the COVID-19 pandemic has required us to reconceptualize the meaning of home, work, and our relationships with one another.

This article appears in the Fall 2021 issue of Alta Journal.

How did you assemble such a talented pool of writers?
I try to listen to what people are passionate about, translators and editors from around the world. They’re how I have most often found voices with unique music, work with its own peculiar warmth. For instance, I relied on an English-to-French translator named Céline Leroy to read a piece in the “Change” issue: Yoko Ogawa’s delicate story about a friendship that blossoms between an elderly man and a lonely child. French was the only language outside of Japanese in which it had been published. Incidentally, Leroy also pointed me to the essay by French writer Jakuta Alikavazovic. In this way, I see global publishing as more than a capitalist enterprise. It’s a community of people who are maniacs for beauty.•

Grove Press


Grove Press

Rasheeda Saka is a graduate student in fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
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