A letter from the editor
Where do I begin? As you’ll probably know, last summer, Aurelia had to cease publishing due to financial constraints. As a self-funded, independent publication, times are always tough but we hit a point where carrying on simply became impossible. There was almost nothing left. Then, we were hit with server errors. At one point, we lost the website entirely – everything – and I had to plead and scrimp and save so I could get pay a hefty fee in order to get it back, based on a backup our web host had luckily saved. This was probably the most stressed I’ve ever been – all of our work, everything we’d published, was gone – if only for a small while in the grand scheme of things. The main point is that we got it back, and I was reminded of just how important Aurelia is and that the work we’ve created simply has to remain. I have put my heart and soul into this, for years, and I don’t intend to stop now.
I never fell out of love with creating, editing, publishing and running Aurelia – but the money issue certainly left me wondering whether or not this was feasible in the long term. As for today, and why I’m writing this letter, it’s because I had no other option but to come to the conclusion that I simply have to keep trying, despite the odds. I turned 27 at the end of last year, and I feel lightyears away from the younger woman I was when I was clumsily typing ‘how to start a website’ into Google, sat at a desk in my old student flat. Life seemed easier back then for so many reasons, and with age and experience it’s no longer possible to ignore facts, and certainly, figures. So, long story short, we push on. But I’ve given myself a year from today to make Aurelia a success, and something that can continue for much longer – years – without ever having to take a break again. I’m learning as I go, so I will do all I can to secure our future. As ever, your help is greatly appreciated in this endeavour. We will still be heavily relying on reader support whilst reaching out to funds, and as ever I’ll be gladly using my own income, too.
To reiterate, Aurelia is coming back! It will be a slow start but we will once again be here for you, your comforting, incisive, beautiful corner of the internet, publishing powerful first-person stories by marginalised genders. I still stand firmly behind my belief that personal essays are an incredibly important form of writing, one that isn’t given the space it so deserves. Aurelia challenges and changes that. Your story matters here and I want to help you tell it.
Finally, after our initial relaunch was pushed back, I can finally say we are relaunching next Monday, 23rd of January! Now onto the more exciting stuff – we will be kicking off our relaunch with the full text of the pieces I commissioned in collaboration with gal-dem for my series The Passage That Changed Me. This guest series was a shining light in an otherwise dark time and I am so grateful to Mariel, Suyin and Riann for believing in my idea and helping me bring it to light. The pieces were originally published via gal-dem’s members only newsletter, and I’m so excited to share the incredible work with you all here.
Next, Aurelia has an upcoming series, Eat their Words, which consists of delicious recipes from writers of colour hailing from their homelands, which will also include their story of why it means so much to them. This has been something I’ve been excited to publish for so long. We have gorgeous illustrations alongside it, created by one of my favourite artists.
I can’t wait for you all to dive in. Alongside this series, my friend Alice and I have been devising supper club style events to sit alongside it in the future, so stay tuned for more information on that.
Our team is changing! We said goodbye to the incredible Shahed Ezaydi, ex deputy-editor, last year as she left to pursue different options. Working with Shahed was a career highlight for me, I watched her grow and bloom, I am endlessly proud of her and all she has achieved and continues to achieve. There is simply nobody else like her in this industry and I will forever be in her debt for all of the hard work she dedicated to my independent magazine. With Shahed, we went from strength to strength. Aurelia will miss her greatly but I am still cheering for her success every step of the way. Finding someone else to fill her shoes will be a task and a half, but the job post remains open until the 23rd for anybody looking to get into editing. I promise I’m lovely to work with!
Amelia Ellis, our assistant editor, will be staying on and I’m thrilled about that – Amelia is such a talent, a complete force, and with every idea she has and every conversation we share, I learn something new and invaluable. I’m so excited to show you all what we’ve been working on in the Spring – Aurelia is stronger and bolder than I could ever have imagined with Amelia within our ranks.
Surely your favourite book column on the internet, Literal Hotties, will be continuing with the inimitable Soraya Bouazzaoui remaining at the helm, focusing on round ups that let you know just who and what you should be reading. I’m pushing myself more this year, and as a literature graduate and book lover in general, I’ll be expanding the column to include interviews with authors which I will be contributing to. So, book PRs and writers, do get in touch!
Finally – pitching. We’re officially back open for pitches. We’ll be publishing more slowly to reflect our small budget, and we’ll be commissioning as and when, to begin printing them across the site in February onwards.
I’m on the look out for your personal essays/first person stories that you have a desire to tell whether it touches on your identity, race, faith, mental health, gender, experiences of love, friendship or connection, reflections on our society or your response to anything in the art/culture world – think books, TV shows, film, theatre or current exhibitions. I love anything that focuses on small moments, huge realisations, belonging, life lessons, and the self. You can pitch me at firstname.lastname@example.org
See you all so soon, and thank you for your enduring patience! Aurelia is back.
Love, Kya x