There’s a scene in the 2006 film The Devil Wears Prada in which Miranda Priestly, the icy magazine editor memorably played by Meryl Streep, asks her team for suggestions for an upcoming spring issue. One hapless assistant notes a trend of more florals on the runway, to which Priestly replies, “Florals for spring? Groundbreaking.” Regarding the theme of Moko’s 24th issue, I can already hear jaded and cynical readers groaning: “A Christmas issue for Christmas? Groundbreaking.”

And yet, at a moment of global turmoil, marked by wars, terror attacks, the breakdown of international rules and norms, climate crisis, political instability, and the rolling back of fundamental human rights, is there not something almost radical in marking Christmas? Is hope not an audacious thing, to paraphrase that famous book title, to hold onto? Do we not need reminding that the first step to overcoming is believing in a brighter possibility?

In truth, for many people, Christmas is not at all about joy and jubilation. For these people, holidays have always been tinged with the pain of loss, the pressures of not being able to meet expectations, the burdens of a season defined by spending and access to higher and higher tiers of material pleasures. In a sense, each Christmas is a sad one, a point brought home by the haunting poems in the special selection of new poetry that opens the issue. These original pieces were written by participants in a workshop I ran in November, under the aegis of the Trinidad and Tobago Institute of Architects as part of an exhibition on John Gillespie, on the theme ‘The (In)visible Architecture of a Poem.’ Writers were asked to produce Christmas poems set at Killarney, Port of Spain. My thanks to each of them, as well as to the institute.

This issue also features art by Bahamian Sonia Farmer and Trinidadian Anil Avery Bridglal, alongside stellar reviews by Akilah White and Breanne Mc Ivor. We also reflect on one of the most hotly anticipated releases of 2024, Ingrid Persaud’s The Lost Love Songs of Boysie Singh, her first novel in four years. Also in this issue, published in partnership with the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival (BCLF), is the winner of the 2023 BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Caribbean-American Writer’s Prize.

As readers might have noticed, our usual bi-annual publication schedule veered a great deal in 2023, reflecting the fact that, well, a great deal has been going on, often keeping me from magazine duties. The end of each year, like Christmas, inspires mixed feelings. What I know for sure is that I’d like to thank all the poets, writers, reviewers and artists who contributed to the magazine in the past year. And, most of all, I’d like to thank you dear readers. I look forward to 2024.

— Andre Bagoo, managing editor

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