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Regulars Contents: issue 43




Between the Covers Journalist and industry insider Danuta Kean assesses the current state of reading, writing and publishing affairs. INTERVIEW 13 Lynn Barber FEATURES 16 Pitch Perfect Journalist and editor Kira Cochrane gives us the lowdown on the best way to grab an editor’s attention – and get your article published. The Insider: Auriol Bishop 19

Factual errors


When is recreating real life on the page not okay? Novelist Mez Packer navigates the challenges of writing what you know.



Contributors, Letters, News and Views



Including: Laura Wilson on crime writing Diana Evans’ first draft Making a poem: Polly Clark talks to Colette Bryce Jane Gardam’s bottom drawer, writing your self with Roselle Angwin, keep going with Bekki Hill



Patience Agbabi introduces her selections of prose and poetry on the theme of ‘Idols.’



Including: How to write a bestseller: The Beach House Literary landmarks: 52 Ways of Looking at a Poem Independent press profile: Myrmidon Books Writers’ bookshelf by Shamini Flint



The lowdown on memoirs The joy of…digital storytelling



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



Shelley Conn’s bedside table

Autumnal waves

Leaves are just starting to turn as we hasten this issue to press with a fab line-up of our regular features as well as an exciting new addition. Farewell Summer; bring on those cosy winter snows!

Award-winning crime writer Laura Wilson joins us with a series of articles covering everything you’ve ever wanted to know about writing a crime novel – and then some. You’ll find her in the Inspirations section, accompanied in the current issue by Diana Evans’ First Draft, Jane Gardam’s Bottom Drawer, the final instalment of Margaret Wilkinson’s radio scriptwriting series as well as a poetic

contribution from Polly Clark.

In our main feature, journalist Danuta Kean used the auspicious occasion of Mslexia’s 10th birthday to ferret out the latest industry news, trends and craic in the publishing world. Turn to page 8 to see what she’s discovered. Also in our features, Guardian women’s editor Kira Cochrane offers her top tips for sending out that perfect pitch, and author Mez Packer scrutinises the use of ‘what you know’ when it comes to novel-writing.

Elsewhere, veteran interviewer Lynn Barber put herself in the hot seat for a change, gamely sitting for our main author

interview; actress Shelley Conn revealed the pile of reading material on her bedside table; Debbie Taylor examines the secrets and USPs of Jane Green’s bestselling Beach House; and Shamini Flint recommends the classic To Kill a Mockingbird from her Writer’s Bookshelf.

Autumn brings extra Mslexia joys: our 2010 Writer’s Diary will be available to purchase from early October, and we are already looking ahead to our second Short Story Competition with novelist Tracy Chevalier as our illustrious judge. Start sharpening your pencils now!

Daneet Steffens, Editor

‘If someone’s telling the same anecdotes that they’re happy talking about, you’ve got to somehow give it a boost.’

Lynn Barber, Interview, page 13

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