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The Sun: Independent, Reader-Supported

The Sun, produced in Chapel Hill, recently published its 500th issue (August, 2017). Inside, they devoted “more than half our pages” to excerpts from the archives—as much to offer up historical perspective on the current divisions in our country as to showcase its long tradition of excellence.

The response was so overwhelmingly positive, this special section will continue to be a regular part of the magazine for the forseeable future.

There’s perhaps no North Carolina publication better positioned to offer perspective on the state of our nation than The Sun, which produced its first issue in January, 1974. Billed then as a “magazine of ideas,” The Sun today is a 501(c)(3) non-profit “independent, ad-free magazine.” Over the past forty years, The Sun has established itself as a purveyor of thoughtful writing, penetrating journalism, and a showcase for the creative literary arts.

The entirety of its archives was recently made available to subscribers as part of an overall revamp of their website. This incredible vault makes the yearly subscription fee of $42 (for twelve print issues) seem eminently reasonable.

Another fun, suprisingly moving thing to do, which this author discovered by accident, is to open up the archives and scroll slowly through the cover images. Make sure some kind of lyric-based, emotional music plays in the background (I highly recommend Blind Pilot’s “Packed Powder”). It also helps if its raining outside a little bit.

What occurs is a musical montage for our nation. The photography is simply amazing: portraits, natural forces, and objects of regional fascination are sprinkled with images that seem to capture fleeting moments, that reveal life as it is lived.

Samples are available online. Past contributors include fiction by Joseph Bathanti, Brock Clarke, and Debbie Urbanski; poetry by Ellen Bass, Alan Michael Parker, and Mark Smith-Soto; and “essays, memoir, and true stories” by Brian Doyle, David Guy, and Joy Hewett, among many others.

Recent featured articles include examinations of race, faith, and resistance; living faith; and an interview with Noam Chomsky.

The Sun, with over 70,000 readers, is a paying market for writers. While there’s no minimum word count, they rarely publish anything longer than 7,000 words. Click here for the full submission guidelines, rate info, and more.

Visit The Sun’s website at; or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.