We turn out lots of reading material every week, but in this annual issue we consider and celebrate the written word itself. It’s also the only issue in which we print fiction: this year, short stories by Mary Hays and Leath Tonino, both Vermont-based writers. We also include a suitably wintry poem by Vermont’s poet laureate, Chard diNiord. Three pieces look at the challenges and successes of Vermont publishing enterprises Green Writers Press, Green Mountains Review and Chelsea Green. We also take technology into account: computational scientists’ attempt to use AI to write music, poetry and literature; and a UVM program that measures emotion in stories. Ever wonder why words can make us feel happy — or not so much? Read on.