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AGENDA 8 The New Publishing Revolution Alison Baverstock deciphers, dissects and analyses the latest technologically-driven changes

INTERVIEW 13 Writer Aminatta Forna talks to Daneet Steffens.

FEATURES 16 Victorian Secrets Laura Fish reveals the research behind her Elizabeth Barrett Browning-inspired novel, Strange Music .

The Insider: Maria Rejt

Freedom Writers Author Sophie King takes us to work – at her writer-inresidence job for the Writers in Prison Network.


‘I think women constrain themselves quite a lot, are constrained by the industry which always expects you to write a “woman’s” novel.’

Mslexia interview with Aminatta Forna, page 13

Contents: issue 38


STARTERS 4 Contributors, Letters, News and Views

INSPIRATIONS 22 Including: Bernardine Evaristo, Randa Abdel-Fattah’s first draft, making a poem: Jo Shapcott talks to Colette Bryce, Fay Weldon’s bottom drawer, write your self with Roselle Angwin, keep going with Bekki Hill

NEW WRITING 31 Carol Ann Duffy, judge for our 5th Annual Poetry Competition, introduces the winner and runners-up

BOOKS 47 How to write a bestseller: Call the Midwife Literary landmarks: Behind the Scenes at the Museum Independent press profile: Cinnamon Press Writer’s bookshelf by Stella Blackstone

GUIDELINES 57 The lowdown on writing greeting cards The joy of…motoring journalism

DIRECTORY 61 Opportunities: competitions, submissions, retreats, grants. Out and About: events and workshops

AND FINALLY 74 Fi Glover’s bedside table

A new look Mslexia!

There’s a buzz in the Mslexia offices that goes beyond the heady start of summer: after months of planning, discussing, assessing, revisiting and – finally – implementing, our newly redesigned magazine is ready to drop into postboxes everywhere. We’re also reworking our website and, I hope you’ll agree, both print and web presences offer a fresh, stylish, truly complementary showcase for the exciting content Mslexia has always offered to you, our readers. You’ll notice some new material, too, as we’ve expanded our quarterly publication by eight pages to allow for extra editorial:

Colette Bryce is giving feedback on poetry; Margaret Wilkinson launches a six-part radio writing column; Danuta Kean answers your publishing and practical writing queries; and, in every issue, an industry expert will be sharing their key perspectives as ‘The Insider.’ Never fear, though, our strength also lies in the familiar: look inside for what’s tucked away in Fay Weldon’s Bottom Drawer, sneak a peek at Fi Glover’s Bedside Table and let Debbie Taylor show you the tricks of the trade when it comes to crafting a bestseller. Of course, this issue also features

the winners of our 5th Annual Poetry Competition. This year’s number of entries set a staggering new record at Mslexia , one that we have ambitions to beat in 2009. Please join me in congratulating our three winners and 22 runners-up – and, all you poets out there, start prepping for next year! Another Mslexia milestone: Aminatta Forna – who proved a dynamic interview – becomes the first author to appear on our front cover. We hope that our new-look Mslexia will be as inspiring, innovative and enjoyable as ever – and eagerly await your feedback! Daneet Steffens, Editor