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Blog

Our Deepest Thanks to Lisa Ohlen Harris

Kimberly Culbertson

Founding Editor Kimberly Culbertson pays tribute to one of Relief's finest.

As we enter our fifth volume, it is with sadness that we announce that Lisa Ohlen Harris will be no longer be serving as our Creative Nonfiction Editor. The upcoming issue, available for pre-sales now, will end her amazing run at the helm of all things CNF. For years she has lent us her talent and her heart, and we are deeply grateful.

Lisa began editing creative nonfiction for  Volume 1, Issue 4, and her presence has marked Relief's journey over the years since, including doubling as CNF Editor and Assistant Editor for most of Volume 2. She has consistently shaped and crafted this fantastic genre, and we are proud that creative nonfiction has become such an integral part of Relief.

In the time I served as Editor-In-Chief, Lisa was a profound encouragement to me personally. She not only served on my team as a genre editor, but she shared her wisdom, provided a sounding board, challenged me when I started walking questionable paths, critiqued and sharpened my editorial statements, and reminded me of my strengths when I wondered if this whole adventure was just a little crazy (It is, by the way, which is why you need good people around you for the most perplexing of moments).

While we're dismayed to see her go, we are enjoying watching from the sidelines as she continues to flourish as a writer. Her first book, Through the Veil, was recently released from Canon Press, and has already been nominated for the Oregon Book Awards "Sarah Winnemucca Award For Creative Nonfiction" (the winner will be announced in April). Deanna Hershiser, a Relief author and blogger interviewed Lisa before the book was released, and recapped some of its journey quite nicely:

Sometimes editors edit because writing just hasn’t worked well for them. Not so with Lisa. Her first book, Through the Veil, will soon be released by Canon Press. Its offerings include an essay which was listed under “Notable Essays of 2008″ in Best American Essays 2009, along with two others that have made the Notable lists in volumes of Best American Spiritual Writing. Another of the book’s essays was shortlisted for a Pushcart Prize and received special mention in Pushcart XXXIII.

In fact, one of the essays Deanna refers to here, "Torn Veil" was published in Relief's Volume 1, Issue 4. Her success, both as an author and an editor, has helped Relief to become the journal that it is today. And so, as she moves on to new adventures, we at Relief will miss her dearly, but we'll be cheering her on as rabid fans.

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Kimberly Culbertson is the Founding Editor of Relief. These days serves on the board of ccPublishing, NFP (the company that publishes Relief and The Midnight Diner), alongside many other adventures. She and her husband live in Bloomingdale, Illinois, with their dog Latte. Their family-by-choice daughter, son, and godson now reside in California, and they are expecting their first biological child in February 2011.