The London Magazine Interview
Posted on 05 March 2008. © Copyright 2004-2024 WriteWords
WriteWords talks to The London Magazine
Tell us all about The London Magazine
The London Magazine is perhaps the oldest literary journal in the UK. Over
the years we have published the work of some of the greatest literary figures
of the last half century. It seems incredible that a publication with a legacy like this has been denied its grant, but we are all passionate about keeping it going for another 270 years.
Some background information:
First founded in April 1732, The London Magazine was published for 53 years
as a counterbalance to The Gentleman’s Magazine. It was re-launched in
1820 under John Scott’s editorship. He championed the work of Wordsworth,
Lamb, De Quincey, Clare, Hood, Carlyle, and the ‘Cockney School’ of John
Keats, Leigh Hunt, and William Hazlitt. Welcoming The London Magazine
under John Lehmann’s editorship, T.S. Eliot saw it not as ‘a vehicle of
expression for critics occupying university posts’, but as ‘the magazine which
will boldly assume the existence of a public interested in serious literature’.
No other review of literature and the arts claims such a history. Since the
1700's, both Nobel Prize winners and unpublished artists, writers and poets
have graced the pages of The London Magazine. We have been gladdened
by the support we have received from contributors, and the loyalty we have
been shown by our subscribers. We intend to repay their faith by continuing to
showcase the best and brightest of London’s writers, artists and
Most recently Sebastian Barker, a wonderful poet and brilliant editor for many
years, resigned as a result of the Arts Council grant being taken away.
I am taking over from him until a new Editor is appointed.
How do you find writers?
We actively seek out talent by attending as many poetry events and art
exhibitions as possible. We read the other large publications for good
work, as well as trawling the web and reading all our submissions
carefully. It is as important to us to give someone who has never had work
published before a platform, as it is to have big names. For articles and
reviews we accept well articulated ideas, and commission based on
successful pitches. We are planning 3 themed issues in the year ahead so if
your readers are thinking of pitching ideas they should bear this in mind. The
April/May 2008 issue is to be an Anglo/Russian issue, June/July will feature
Anglo/Arab work, and then an Anglo/Indian issue in August/September.
Don’t be afraid to submit ideas. If there is a book of poetry that you
have read recently and you feel that it deserves to be reviewed, contact us at
email@example.com. The most important piece of advice I can
give, however, is to have a look at the magazine before pitching. The
London Magazine is a serious literary journal and therefore all your work
has to be referenced correctly, well thought out, with a critical and
sophisticated literary audience in mind. In terms of the poetry and short
fiction we only choose that of an extremely high standard. It’s
interesting, because if you look at our other publication: Trespass
Magazine (http://www.trespassmagazine.co.uk), you’ll see a great difference in the
type of work that is accepted. For that we look for a dangerous, louche and
witty style—if you have something that is great but that no-one has been
brave enough to publish, give Trespass a go.
What excites you about a piece of writing-
It’s hard to identify, but it’s nearly always immediate. Within the first paragraph you can usually tell if something has potential, although I do try to stick it out to the end! A striking voice, original ideas and imagery are all things that I look for. As for style I am not a stickler for any one form.
and what makes your heart sink?
Bad grammer or presentation, lazy or unoriginal content. Derivative drivel really annoys me.
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