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Graphic Nonfiction for Everyone

World Literature Today - Spring 2020

Magazine Review by Katy Haas

A big fan of graphic novels (and nonfiction and poetry), I’m always thrilled when a literary magazine releases an issue featuring graphic work. World Literature Today’s Spring 2020 issue features a selection of graphic nonfiction by seven artists.

Each piece brings something different to the table. The art styles are all vastly different and each focuses on something unique: politics, history, art, ego, love.

My favorite of these is “Shadow Portrait” by Rachel Ang. Ang’s art is calming and enjoyable to look at, muted tones splayed across the page. She writes of love and ego, the ways in which we see ourselves in art, in stories, in the people we love.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is an excerpt from Guantanamo Voices: True Accounts from the World’s Most Notorious Prison by Sarah Mirk, illustrated by Omar Khouri. Unlike Ang’s calming tones, this excerpt uses bold lines and an orange color scheme which ramps up the feeling of anxiety the story produces. I’m a little disappointed at the length of the excerpt—the four pages we’re given leave on a cliffhanger that left me wanting more, though I suppose that just highlights the writer’s and artist’s skill.

This selection of graphic nonfiction has a little bit of something for everyone, and each artist/writer utilizes their craft impressively. This issue of World Literature Today is a real treat to read.

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