This is my second year as non-fiction editor, and during my time here my coeditor and I have constantly struggled with obtaining as much work as the fiction and poetry editors. Non-fiction is a neglected form of writing, yet in my eyes it is one of the most beautiful, most personal. It allows writers to put themselves on paper, their story, their past, and their fears. My favorite part of my role on Élan staff is reading through the pieces, discovering who the writers are. I feel as though I get the chance to see a private and personal sliver of dozens of lives as papers pass through my hands.
When I was first chosen to be on the Élan staff as a junior, I was overjoyed. I had admired the magazine since I was a freshman, marveled at the eloquent and powerful pieces. However, I noticed that something was missing—the magazine featured an obvious absence of creative non-fiction. Non-fiction is a genre that I fell in love with early on in my writing career. A personal essay that I wrote in my sophomore year was my first piece to ever receive recognition, when I won a national silver medal in the Scholastic Art and Writing Contest. When I applied for the position of non-fiction editor, I took a pledge to bring a new wave of non-fiction to the magazine.
This year, Shamiya, my coeditor, and I have completely revolutionized the non-fiction submission process. We have reached out to younger writers, held workshops, met with students afterschool, and gone above and beyond to provide thorough comments on pieces. Not only have we increased to overall volume of work, but we have also improved the quality. I am so excited to leave the legacy of non-fiction in Shamiya’s hands next year. She shares my love of the genre, and I know she will do amazing things as she continues to move the non-fiction section of the magazine forward.
— Emily Jackson, Creative Nonfiction Editor