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Devour cover: Pink background with 3 arms. One each lighting a candle, holding a vibrator, holding a tea bag over a cup
Edited by 
Jessica Johns

Devour. Devour isn't simply ingesting. It's to consume ravishly. To completely and wholly take something in.

In June 2020, issue 43.2 Devour will be printed and out in the world, which feels extra special to me at this moment in time. This is the first issue I've edited since I became involved with Room Magazine as a volunteer three years ago. It's the first issue I've edited as Managing Editor and the issue I started editing last June, when I also started planning the 2020 Growing Room Literary & Arts festival. The production of this issue and the planning of the festival took place simultaneously. For months, I was switching back and forth between editing beautiful writing to organizing panels and workshops, both tasks challenging me in different and formative ways. But I feel my festival brain, which was constantly thinking about what it means to share space and the different ways we tell stories, seeped into how this issue was inevitably curated. 

As with the festival, this issue was put together in collaboration with other brilliant minds. But really, when is this kind of work ever done alone? Firstly, I had the invalubable help of my co-assistant editors Kayi Wong and Mica Lemiski, the reviews editor Leah Golob, and the rest of the Room collective who read submissions and proofread the issue. Secondly, this issue holds the first and second place pieces from our 2019 fiction, poetry, CNF, short forms, and cover art contests, which were chosen by amazing contest judges Lindsay Nixon, Catherine Hernandez, Pamela Mordecai, and Terese Marie Mailhot. Engaging with the work of contributors who were selected by other brilliant folks made this issue feel truly collaborative, working in a way I ultimately prefer: with the help and valuable input from the community.

Our fiction contest's first and second place winners Megan Beadle and Carmina Ravanera have their protagonists, in vastly different ways, get devoured by institutions and abuse, and still look for hope despite it. Our poetry contest first place winner Callista Markotich allows readers to feel the threat of devouring: the ominous, ever-present existence of something hanging overhead that could drop and take you in at any minute. Second place poetry winner Ashleigh Giffen shows us what happens when a poem devours its reader.

Our creative nonfiction first and second place winners Shaelyn Johnston and Kelly S. Thompson show us what happens when family, memories, and grief devour us. And short forms first place co-winners Roshni Riar and Kai Minosh Pyle devour love and ancestral food, and are, in turn, devoured by the crushing weight of time and place. Our cover art contest winner "The Trinity of Self Care" by Sonali Menezes is, perhaps, my favourite cover art of all time. This is what it looks like to devour ourselves. To turn inwards first.

Through the rest of the issue's pages, you'll find stories, artwork, and poetry that explore the various ways we consume and are consumed: from ways we over-consume the land and its resources, to how we are consumed by oppressive systems, by our own minds. This issue features an interview with photographer, writer, and activist, Samra Habib, and brand new poetry from literary aunty Marilyn Dumont. You'll also find our lovely BackRoom feature of Nic and Lala, the hosts of the podcast SEEN, and our RoomMate interview with new Room collective member lue boileau.

Reading these pages and the stories they hold took me in. Completely and wholly. Perhaps they will do the same for you.

In this issue

Manahil Bandukwala, Dessa Bayrock, Megan Beadle, Brandi Bird, lue boileau, Rachel Burlock, Justina Chong, Mollie Cronin, Marilyn Dumont, Edzi'u, Ashleigh Giffen, katia hernandez velasco, erica hiroko, Jessica Johns, Shaelyn Johnston, Yume Kitasei, Mica Lemiski, Jessie Loyer, Annick MacAskill, Callista Markotich, Sonali Menezes, Kai Minosh Pyle, Natasha Ramoutar, Carmina Ravanera, Rohsni Riar, Jessica Rose, Rowan Siah, Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch, Kelly S. Thompson, Arielle Twist, Phoebe Wang, Yu-Sen Zhou

Currently on Newsstands

  • Room 43.3 Neurodivergence: Collage construction featuring black and white architecture dotted with circular adornments and rectangular window grids.The architectures are both right-side-up and upside-down, challenging gravity while becoming their own planet - bonded together by sharp, clear crystal points and organic blooms of mustard-coloured minerals.
    Room 43.3, Neurodivergence
    Edited by Rachel Thompson

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    K. J. Aiello, Aeman Ansari, Annie Blake, Karmella Cen Benedito De Barros, Aimée Henny Brown, Megan Callahan, Conyer Clayton, Rachel D.L., Dorianne Emmerton, Lauren Ewald, Kate Finegan, Catherine Garrett, LHC, Safiya Hopfe, Madison Hyman, Claire Kelly, Terese Marie Mailhot, Elizabeth McGeown, Kate Mildew, Amy Newell, Lisa O’Neill, Ottavia Paluch, Ryan Rattliff, Nicole Robitaille, Michele Saint-Yves, Emi Sasagawa, L M Schmidt, A.K. Shakour, Jane Shi, Hilary Sideris, Nadia Siu Van, Erin Soros, Léa Taranto, Allison Bird Treacy, Sarah Williams, Lindsay Wong, A. Light Zachary