The Nasiona’s Origin Story

Column: De Otra Parte

Joanna Staniszewski, “Watson,” oil painting.

On December 21st, 2018, I had the honor of representing The Nasiona as the keynote speaker at the Mechanics’ Institute Library‘s end of the year book bazaar and literary event in San Francisco, California.

In my speech, I discussed The Nasiona‘s origin story, the role of creative nonfiction in today’s conflict-ridden world, why I deem The Nasiona an unconventional journalism organization more so than a literary project, why I embrace the subjectivity of human experience to get a better vantage point of our condition as humans, how The Nasiona digs deeper into the who and the why than traditional news sources, and how the voices and stories The Nasiona shares and promotes helps build bridges between strangers.

With The Nasiona I want to share honest stories that (1) aren’t driven primarily by commercial interests, (2) that can better help us understand the full spectrum of the people in our world, and (3) paint a more accurate picture of reality. I believe one of the main things I should do as a journalist is tell stories through me. As my good friend and fellow journalist Adriaan Alsema once told me, “A good journalist will serve and defend his community.” This is what I am trying to do.

As founder and editor-in-chief, I look to take you on this journey. From liminal lives to the marginalized, and everything in between, I am trying to disclose overlooked and interesting worlds to engage the spectrum of human experience.

Join me and The Nasiona, as we look to erase borders, tackle taboos, resist conventions, explore the known and unknown, and rename ourselves to claim ourselves. In doing so, I hope to provide more evidence of one of our strongest pillars as a nonfiction, literary, and journalism project: that the subjective can offer its own reality and reveal truths some facts cannot discover.

Listen to the speech by clicking on the Soundcloud audio clip below.

Founder, Editor-in-Chief

Julián Esteban Torres López is a Colombian-born journalist, researcher, writer, and editor. Before founding The Nasionahe ran several cultural and arts organizations, edited journals and books, was a social justice and public history researcher, wrote a column for Colombia Reports, taught university courses, and managed a history museum. He’s a Pushcart Prize nominee and 1st place winner of the Rudy Dusek Essay Prize in Philosophy of Art. He has authored several books, including Marx’s Humanism and Its Limits, which was BookAuthority’s Best New Socialism Book of 2018, and Reporting on Colombia: Essays on Colombia’s History, Culture, Peoples, and Armed Conflict (forthcoming, 2019). 

Go here to inquire about his editing services.

Twitter: je_torres_lopez

Featured image: Joanna Staniszewski, “Watson,” oil painting.

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