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Somewhere along the way, still early in his career as a book designer, Jon Gray began to grapple with the fact that he just couldn’t get fonts to do what he needed them to do. He couldn’t get the letters to behave. So he set aside prepackaged typefaces and began lettering titles by hand, and in doing so discovered a style that has made him one of contemporary literature’s most esteemed illustrators.

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Carmen Maria Machado’s work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Granta, Tin House, the Believer, Guernica, Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy, and elsewhere.

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Stories and photography from around the world, all through our Instagram feed.