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Around the walls of the Great Hall at Mslexia Towers – drawbridge currently raised due to the COVID lockdown – are framed examples of every cover since the magazine was launched in 1999. In the intervening 21 years we have redesigned the look and contents of magazine five times. Which makes this its sixth reincarnation – based, as always, on feedback from you.

In our readership survey in March you requested more about genre writing, about poetry, about self-publishing, and about the craft that makes words shine on the page and in performance. You also asked for more about the psychological processes that underlie creativity and make literature a quintessentially healing art. You’ll find all those things in the new magazine.

You also asked for more about how our challenges – due to race, class, age, low income, disability, maternity, you name it – affect our motivation, our ability to write and our chances of publication. So you’ll find more about these things too, starting with the unique conversation between three leading Black writers on pp16-20.

It feels as though we’re living through a crisis right now: a crisis of health, of inequality, of the planet itself. Our work as writers has never felt more important.

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 many 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 latest novel is Herring Girl (Oneworld), a paranormal historical murder mystery.

‘IT’S EXHAUSTING TO PERFORM THE PAIN OF BLACKNESS’ IRENOSEN OKOJIE, P16

The left is more likely to use imagination to understand the views of others MELISSA BENN P9

The first rule of unsent letters? Never ever send them KATE THOMPSON P54

Forum 5 Mslexia poll;

Writing nest; Bear necessities; Submission stories; Blogability 6 What you’re saying;

Virtual meet-ups 7 #amwriting: Alexis

Wolfe on writing while parenting a child with disabilities Agenda 9 Leaning to the left:

Melissa Benn on political preference and creativity Craft 15 Warm-up; Seven plots; Poet Laureate 16 In conversation:

Leone Ross, Sara Collins and Irenosen Okojie talk about writing and racism 21 Grow your own poem with Kate Clanchy 22 The story of your life with Catherine Cho 23 Poetry challenge,

selected by Linda France

24 S is for...; Flash

Challenge with Meg Pokrass Interview 25 Sita Brahmachari talks to Katy Guest Reading for writers 29 Breaking the mould with Yvonne BattleFelton; Books about writing 30 The Knowledge:

Historical fiction with Danuta Kean 32 What’s new in poetry by Stephanie Sy-Quia 33 Indie in the news: V.

Press 34 What’s new in short stories by Alice Slater 35 Indie in the news:

Myriad Editions Showcase 37 Isabel Galleymore presents her selection of short stories and poems on the theme of ‘wildlife’ Creativity & Wellbeing 52 Brain gym with Lucy

Corkhill; Abiola Bello’s Achilles’ heel 53 Crafting a cure with

Victoria Field 54 Writing prescriptions: What works best for different conditions, by Kate Thompson 56 It works for me:

Elly Griffiths; Lapidoptera, interview with therapist Clare Scott Career 57 What’s new on

Twitter with Bethany Rutter 58 Pitching up: Rae

Ritchie on pitching every day for a month 60 Proud to place with agent Nelle Andrew; My portfolio career 61 Self-publish your own non-fiction by Debbie Young 62 Noticeboard Opportunities 63 Open for submissions Insight: Caledonia

Novel Awards 65 Insight: Grants and

Awards: Authors Emergency Fund 67 Three of a kind: food magazines 69 Insight: Juliet

Pickering’s manuscript wishlist Off the page 70 The world's wife;

Eyeverse 71 Playmaking, with

Margaret Wilkinson 72 Creative infection:

how haikus went viral, by Lucy English 74 Bedtime story;

Breaking the Mould with Cecilia Knapp 75 Mslexia Moths with

Molly Naylor Events 76 Events and courses 77 Getting a Gig:

Unlatched Podcast And finally 81 Jane Goodall’s bedtime reading 82 Submitting and subscribing to Mslexia

87 c o n t e n t s

3 CONTENTS / Mslexia / Sep-Nov 2020

‘To write a character, you have to put on their shoes, and think about walking differently’ SITA BRAHMACHARI P25

Without a weaver, this type of art becomes a random collection without purpose LUCY ENGLISH P72

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