The Unusual Suspects, Editor’s Letter, October 2013

Every year about this time, I start fantasizing about doing something different for the holidays. I’ve broken out of traditional Christmas mode before. In 2005, for example, I went to Kenya. Specifically, I spent the holiday on Lamu, a remote, Swahili-speaking island that, like Zanzibar, once belonged to the Omani sultanate.That Christmas Eve, the East African writers who were my cohorts in a Nairobi-based writing program invited me to a party on nearby Manda Island thrown by a local Rastafarian named Satan. (You can’t make this stuff up.) At 5 a.m., just as the archipelago’s mosques rang out with the call to prayer, we sailed back to Lamu Town on an ancient dhow loaded with a dozen late-night revelers. Christmas Day found us eating fresh-caught fish on the white sand beach in the center of town. We celebrated that night not with eggnog or hot toddies near the fire, but with gin an

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