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Diana Evans (First Draft, p. 24) burst onto the literary stage in 2005 with the Orange-winning 26a, a lyrical, lovely novel of twin sisters (and a moving tribute to her real-life twin). For The Wonder, she drew on her life-long passion for dance, inspired by Alvin Ailey, Lucia Joyce and Vaslav Nijinsky and Les Ballets Nègres, the first black ballet troupe in Europe. ‘The artistic director, Berto Pasuka, was found dead in myterious circumstances in 1963,’ she says. ‘That story really intrigued me.’

Helen Simondson (‘Joy of…’ p. 59) is the manager of screen events at the Australian Centre for Moving Image, and pioneered their award-winning digital storytelling programme. ‘Top of my list of the digital storytelling content on the ACMI website is The Little Frenchman by David Tytherleigh ( au/dst_little_Frenchman.htm),’ she says. ‘David came to an ACMI public workshop with the purpose of paying tribute to his neighbour Roger. The film is a powerful commentary about broader society, and his story has moved many people.’

Carolyn Jess-Cooke, our new poetry adviser, was delighted to have tripped over an issue of Mslexia as a creative writing postgrad at Queen’s University, Belfast. Now a senior lecturer in creative writing at Northumbria University, she regularly dips into the magazine to provide students with fresh writing techniques and examples. She has been writing since the age of 7, and keeps her love affair with writing strong via vividly coloured notebooks, soft pyjamas, and hot chocolate.

Patience Agbabi (New Writing, p. 32) is a dynamic poet who has performed her work all over the world. She would like to take a gap year from life to read all those books she’s bought but hasn’t read yet. She loves swimming in the sea, wearing brightly-coloured retro clothes and dancing to Northern Soul in clubs that still have mirrorballs. When feeling less energetic, she watches 70s horror films, 40s film noir or The Apprentice accompanied with a glass of chilled white wine. All these things inspire her writing but to appreciate these things, she must write.

Kira Cochrane (Features, p. 16), has been the women’s pages editor at The Guardian since 2006; she also writes for the paper on various subjects including feminism, film and food. ‘What makes journalism so brilliant as a medium and as a career,’ she says, ‘is that it functions on so many different levels. Some articles are written to inform, others to entertain; there are screeds written in anger, news stories written objectively. Journalism has the potential to perform an enormous range of functions, and that’s what makes it such an exciting, freewheeling job.’ means women’s writing

(ms = woman, lexia = words). Its association with dyslexia is intentional. Dyslexia is a difficulty, more prevalent in men, with reading and spelling; Mslexia is the complex set of conditions and expectations that prevents women, who as girls so outshine boys in verbal skills, from becoming successful authors. Mslexia aims to define, explore and help overcome the condition of mslexia and provide a platform and playground for women writers. We are dedicated to encouraging, nurturing and empowering women writers to produce, publish and have their work read, with the parallel aim of improving the reach and quality of women’s literature.

Editor: Daneet Steffens Marketing: Wendy Macdonald Advertising: Sarah Mitchell Office manager: Helen Baynes Listings: Sophie Baker Administration/subscriptions: Victoria Levay Finance: Isabel Smales Cover: Lynn Barber by Phyllis Christopher Poetry advisor: Carolyn Jess-Cooke Magazine redesign: Ripe Design Volunteer: Joanne Cody Web design and freelance design work: Melanie Ashby Mslexia, PO Box 656, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE99 1PZ T: 0191 233 3860; Fax: 0191 233 3882 Email:

Annual Subscriptions: Direct Debits: UK: £18.75 Europe: £24.00 Rest of the World: £30.00 Cheques or credit cards: UK: £21.75 Europe: £24.00 Rest of the World: £30.00 Annual Renewal: If you subscribed in Jan/Feb/Mar 2009 you will have received four magazines and your subscription will be due for renewal by 1 Jan 2010. Direct debit payments will be collected automatically on 1 Jan 2010. Otherwise please send a cheque or phone the number above. Single copies and recent back issues of the magazine are available for £5.50 (Europe: £6.00; Rest of the World: £7.50). For our Try Before You Buy offer, see form on p. 55. Submissions: Mslexia welcomes submissions for every part of the magazine. Details p. 29. Permissions: Copyright in most cases remains with individual authors and artists. Features without a byline are © Mslexia Publications Ltd. Caveat emptor! We regret that we are unable to check the claims and credentials of advertisers published in Mslexia.

Mslexia was founded by Debbie Taylor and is published quarterly by Mslexia Publications Limited.

4 | | Oct / Nov / Dec 09

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