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Agenda 6 A brighter shade of green: Kate Simpson explores the effect of writing and publishing on the environment 10 2020 Mslexia Novel

Competition winner Forum 12 Noticeboard 13 What you’re saying about... writing memoirs, being longlisted and age restricting literature 14 Slings and arrows;

Your life sentences 15 For the love of it:

family history with Amanda Quinn; Laura Snapes’ view of reviewing Showcase 15 S L Huang presents her chosen short stories and poetry on the theme of ‘Other Worlds’ Craft 34 Creativity news;

Writing exercises; What works for Bridget Minamore 35 Poetry challenge:

ekphrastic poems, chosen by Linda France 36 Sofa safari:

Jacqueline Bain on why mobility issues don’t mean disconnecting from nature 38 Sinéad Gleeson’s

Achilles’ heel; Flash challenge: Shauna Madhavan 39 First page surgery with Sally O-J 40 The other side of the story: Jane Corry on multi-viewpoint writing Interview 43 Rhianna Pratchett talks to Katy Guest Off the page 47 Script news;

Play list with Tamsin Daisy Rees 48 Making a scene:

preparing yourself for a literary event with Alice Slater 49 Songbirds: chimes and clashes with Susie McComb 46 Mslexia Moths,

selected by Molly

Naylor; Bedtime story: ‘Nobody knows’ by Paula Harmon Career 53 Publishing news;

Crystal ball 54 Group dynamics:

Alison Irvine on the pros and cons of writing groups 56 Pitch surgery with

Caroline Hardman; Pitch calendar 57 Self-help book test drive with Lucy Corkhill Doors open 58 Open for submissions 59 Three of a kind:

poetry for children 60 Insight: The Whole

Story 61 Insight: V S Pritchett

Short Story Prize; Insight: agent Catherine Cho’s manuscript wishlist Out now 62 Début author interview: Eliza Clark 63 Poet laureate by

Vic Pickup; Ten best YA books

64 Poetry news;

Poetry review by Jennifer Lee Tsai 65 Non-fiction: nature with Caroline Sanderson 66 Fiction issues: myth making with Natalie Haynes 67 Short story news;

Short story review by Alice Slater 68 Short story heroes:

Hilary Mantel 69 Books about writing;

R is for... Don’t miss 70 Events and courses And finally 73 Lennie Goodings’

bedtime reading; What we’re up to 75 Submitting and subscribing to Mslexia


if we reverse the roles and let nature walk through us, the results can be astonishing JACQUELINE BAIN P36

you might find that your characters have their own ideas about whose story this really is JANE CORRY P40

anyone’s ‘moan’ is normally something we’ve experienced ourselves – or can at least relate to ALISON IRVINE P54

‘I’ve found some of the most interesting work lies on the path least taken’ RHIANNA PRATCHETT P43


This issue is all about worlds, ours and others: building them, protecting them, engaging with them. Kate Simpson’s lead article on the climate crisis and publishing (p6) feels urgent and necessary. And our Showcase theme (p16) offered an opportunity to re-examine our planet and people through the lens of possibility. In a similar spirit, I commissioned an interview (p43) with games writer Rhianna Pratchett, who has broken new ground carving out a place for character and storytelling in an industry otherwise obsessed with world-building.

All these pieces were set in place before COVID-19 ceased to be a ‘what if ’ spectre and scattered Mslexia Towers to the four corners of the North East. In the wake of these events, all prose and poetry pieces in the magazine have taken on new significance – especially Jacqueline Bain’s article on connecting with nature when your movement is restricted (p36), which was written as a response to Christine Sanders’ piece on how walking helps writing (Issue 83).

I hope you find, in this issue, something that will buoy you during these strange and scary times – whether that’s comfort, inspiration, support or hope.

‘as writers we can be part of a movement that expands the narrative about our fragile planet’ KATE SIMPSON, P6

FRANCOISE HARVEY worked in legal publishing as a production manager and web editor for eight years, before joining Mslexia from 2015-2020 as Production Editor and Indie Press Guide compiler. She is now a freelance writer and arts facilitator (among other things). Her work has been published in a number of magazines and anthologies, including Best British Short Stories 2017. She received a Northern Writers Award for Children’s Writing in 2017.

mslexia Jun/Jul/Aug 2020 3

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