Agenda 4 Adding a new word to the language: Debbie Taylor takes a walk down memory lane 9 How dare you? Susie
Orbach explains 10 2018 Poetry
Pamphlet Competition winner Forum 11 What you’re saying about... writing goals, attitudes to indies, and grammar gripes 12 Humblebrags; Your life sentences 13 For the love of it: fan site blogging with with Glenda Young; Sarah Gonnet’s view of reviewing 14 Noticeboard Showcase 15 Our judging panel debates the winners of our Short Story Competition 28 Meg Pokrass on the winners of our Flash Fiction Competition Craft 32 Creativity news;
Writing exercises; What works for Lisa Appignanesi 33 Poetry challenge:
elegy, selected by Linda France 34 Confidence trick:
Angela Readman on doubting her success as a writer 36 Fiona Mozley’s
Achilles’ heel; Flash challenge:
Sarah Nash 37 First page surgery with Angela Clarke Interview 39 V E Schwab talks to
Laura Steven Off the page 43 Script news; Play list with Annie George 44 Podding along:
narrative non-fiction podcasts with Alice Slater 45 Songbirds: pitch with Susie McComb 46 Monologue:
‘Backbone’ by K J Orr Career 49 Publishing news;
50 The steeper climb:
Kerry Hudson on being given a fair reading 52 Pitch surgery with
Charlotte Robertson; Pitch calendar 53 Self-help book test drive with Meg Clothier 54 The tests of time:
Aki Schilz asks how women fit writing into their busy lives Doors open 57 Open for submissions; Insight: pitch prospects 58 Three of a kind:
landscapes 59 Insight: script submissions to the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting 60 Open for entries:
competitions and awards; Insight: agent Jo Unwin’s manuscript wishlist 61 Insight: That’s What
She Said 62 Insight: Bristol Short
Story Prize 63 Time away: writing holidays
Out now 64 Début author interview: Nicole Flattery 65 Poet laureate by
Miranda Day; Six best novels by South Asian writers 66 Poetry news;
Poetry review by Sandeep Parmar 67 Non-fiction: essay anthologies with Caroline Sanderson; M is for... 68 Fiction issues:
historical thrillers by Anna Mazzola 69 Short story news;
Short story review by Alice Slater 70 Short story heroes:
Daisy Johnson 71 Books about writing;
I confess Don’t miss 73 Events and courses And finally 79 Susan Calman’s bedtime reading; What we’re up to 81 Submitting and subscribing to Mslexia
You might have noticed that we’ve been doing a bit of looking back recently – at the state of writers’ earnings, at children’s and YA publishing, at poetry and short stories, at sexism in literature. After 20 years we’re in a good position to do so. Because, unlike other literary magazines, we’ve always had a penchant for counting things.
In our first issue we asked agents, editors and competition organisers to count submissions from men and women and totted up the gender split in literary prizes. We interrogated reports on course attendance, book buying and reading. In later issues we looked at mental health stats, at radio voices, at literary reviews, at the protagonists of prize-winning novels.
And in recent years we’ve turned our statistical spotlight on you lot, with over 15 surveys into what lights your creative spark and keeps it burning – and what snuffs it out before it catches fire.
It’s these facts and figures, plus all your comments and letters over the years, that have kept our own fires burning here at Mslexia. So thank you for your generosity and openness. Here’s looking forwards to the next 20 years!
we chip away at that ivory tower one word, one sentence, one story and poem at a time KERRY HUDSON P50
I always assumed my self-doubt was something I’d grow out of, like braces or slouching ANGELA READMAN P34
‘my first adult novel was as weird and dark and sadistic and power-obsessed as I wanted it to be’ V E SCHWAB P39
I couldn’t help wondering how many potentially brilliant writers we are losing to the tide of time AKI SCHILZ P54
at our first board meeting I served champagne cocktails – but no report papers or management accounts DEBBIE TAYLOR, P5
DEBBIE TAYLOR is the founder and Editorial Director of Mslexia. She has written for Oxfam, UNICEF, Anti-Slavery, WHO and others about women and social issues. Her books include My Children, My Gold (Virago), a travelogue about single mothers, and The Fourth Queen (Penguin), a novel set in a harem in 18th Century Morocco. Her fourth novel, Herring Girl (Oneworld), a paranormal historical murder mystery, is out now.
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