Welcome to the AGNI 91 fiction launch! (There’s also an all-genre page and a page of videos by our editors.)
For this event we’ve gathered videos from around the world, filmed by our contributors, who, like the rest of us, are isolating in response to the novel coronavirus. This digital event was spurred by the pandemic, but celebrating in a distanced way has the advantage of bringing together many who, even in the best of times, would not be able to meet up in person. Every fiction writer in the issue is represented here. And anyone with Internet access, and the freedom to point their browsers as they choose, can join the audience.
In a world of many stories to tell, and limited spaces in which to tell them, each fiction writer in AGNI 91 makes a refusal. They refuse to offer the satisfaction of simply a good story: they make, in the long moment of writing and the longer season of editing, what seems to be the only story. We suspect or know these writers have others. But here they tell this one, sentence by sentence, draft to finished artifact, and they make it impossible to look away from their unswerving commitment to form and sound.
—The Fiction Editors
AGNI 91‘s full roster of stories is available online for the next three months. Please know that, as always, this issue lives first and best in print. Buying it is just one of the ways you can support our work.
Amid Italian ruins in Martha Witt’s short story “Nuraghi,” two translators argue about words and their meanings, capturing the heady exhilaration of language—what it can express, and what it cannot.
Through narration both confiding and withholding, and in a voice like a disordered clarion call, Maurine Ogonnaya Ogbaa’s short story “Goodbye” cuts back the skin of a relationship and shows its enduringly strange, true bones.
In gritty, ardent, precise sentences, Aurko Maitra’s short story “Decades” follows a man doing time in an Indian prison who must still find a way to support his ailing young son.
Featuring dialogue both familiar and unusual, Adeniyi Ademoroti’s short story “Desire” tracks the nebulous relationship between two Nigerian men as it arrives at a point of clarity over a single evening.
As we watch rising basketball star Heather’s team on their winning streak, David Crouse’s story “The Black Bear Month” offers a lucid, sensual depiction of a restless subjectivity and all its deeply held longings.
Translated from the Italian by Sara Russell, Ivan Ruccione’s “Departures,” is a quick stab of a story, as strangely funny as it is devastating in its portrait of a family on the fringes.
In language that stirs and shocks the familiar syntactical procedures, Shauna Mackay’s story “The Bend” follows lonesomeness and desire to their reaches.
Only a story that has earned a reader’s absorption and trust can end on the insouciance of an exclamation point; nimble and glum and witty and thwarted, Susan Jackson Rodgers’s story “Lou” has and does.
In arrestingly taut prose, Ciera Horton McElroy’s story “Donny Q” conjures a boy who, forced to see a therapist, ends up asserting the freedom and sensuality of male adolescence.