When filmmaker Aeyliya Husain was granted the opportunity to film Pakistan’s top military academy’s lone female platoon, she wasted no time putting on her fatigues and flying from her home in Toronto to Abbottabad. Her rare, exclusive access to the Pakistan Military Academy allowed her to tell the story of university-educated women wading through mud, training with live ammunition, and defying gender norms in a country where women and girls routinely struggle for opportunities. The resulting documentary will premiere on VICE.com soon, but in the meantime, you can read her story on Pakistan’s lady cadets in this issue. Aeyliya’s previous film, Daughters of the Revolution, chronicled the plight of Iranian women after the fall of the Shah.
Blake Bailey has written biographies of John Cheever, Richard Yates, and Charles Jackson, and is now working on the authorized biography of Philip Roth. He has been the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Francis Parkman Prize, a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Virginia with his wife and daughter. The Splendid Things We Planned, which will be released in March 2014, is a memoir that examines his family in a sometimes harsh, sometimes hilarious light. We’re proud to feature an excerpt detailing a particular fraught encounter between Blake and his erratic brother, Scott.
As a teenager, Sean Williams took a job selling windows over the phone to people who didn’t want windows, which turned out to be perfect training for a life in journalism. Sean’s first writing gig was putting together horoscopes for a tabloid, and he’s since gone on to be published in the Economist, the Guardian, Esquire, and many other outlets while also taking photos and shooting documentaries on a variety of topics. For this issue Sean reported on the plight of Somaliland’s refugee street children, who have been shunned by the government and the local media and eke out a harsh, glue-addicted existence in the gutters. Sean lives with his wife in Berlin.
Photo by Jonathan Bennett
Sammy Harkham is a cartoonist and writer who edits the influential comics anthology Kramers Ergot and writes and draws the series Crickets. His recent collection of comics, Everything Together, which came out in the fall of 2012 from PictureBox, has been translated into French, Italian, and Spanish, and was awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Graphic Novel. Harkham is also the co-founder of the Los Angeles bookstore and project space Family. For this issue, he illustrated Steve Hindy’s story about the man who once kidnapped Steve in Beirut and executed two UN peacekeepers, and who now works as an ice cream-truck driver in Detroit.
Graham Dunn—who told us he hates these sorts of bios—did a lot of traveling with his family as a kid because his dad was a travel writer. He broke his knuckle at Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, scrounged for food off discarded room-service trays in London, and once had to take an emergency shit in the water at Normandy Beach, which he still feels terrible about. The memory of seeing glamorous European skiers in the Alps inspired the fashion shoot he did for this issue. Nearly all of his shoots, actually, are based in nostalgia, nature, hazy memories, and childhood adventures. He lives in Los Angeles with his winsome wife, Jess, his son, Golden (an aspiring pro waffle eater), and his brilliant toy poodle, Bela.