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Essay Competition 2017

As the oldest literary and arts review in the UK, The London Magazine has a long history of publishing great essayists; works by the likes of T.S. Eliot and Nadine Gordimer can be found in our archives. In our inaugural Essay Competition, we hope to find the most exciting new essays to reaffirm and develop the magazine’s strong nonfiction tradition. All essays...

The Threepenny Opera

If you put on a production of Romeo and Juliet in Verona, how much does anyone care that the action is ostensibly set in the streets around them? My guess is that we understand when a setting is a stand in for ‘far far away’, and are happy to displace it in our heads to another similarly foreign location...

Leaving School—II by Nadine Gordimer

My writing life began long before I left school, and I began to leave school (frequently) long before the recognized time came, so there is no real demarcation, for me, between school and ‘professional’ life. The quotes are there because I think of professional life as something one enters by way of an examination, not as an obsessional occupation...

The Sleepwalkers by Will Stone

Europe is a wasteland in Will Stone’s third collection The Sleepwalkers. The poet portrays the continent as ‘What’s left of burned out stars’ in these short poems that read well individually and better as a whole. Whether the setting is London’s Chinatown, a medieval monastic complex in provincial France, or a firebombed Dresden, the tone is bleak and melancholic....

John Scott’s The London Magazine by Matthew Scott

The Greek author Lucian tells of a lusty, young aristocrat who fell for a statue of Aphrodite and, willing it to be real, attempted to defile it. He had only the experience of other boys to go on and fell short when it came to the anatomy of women; congress was a hopeless failure and he hurled himself to...

Shining Shoes by Nausheen Eusuf

Weekends, growing up, I'd watch my father as he sat on a low stool in the veranda surrounded by half a dozen pairs of shoes, their laces taken out, each meekly awaiting its turn. Facing him, assembled on a spread of old newspapers: the small round tins of Kiwi shoe polish (its delicious smell), a couple of stiff-bristled horsehair brushes, an old towel, and a couple of...

A Discovery in the Woods by Graham Greene

I The village lay among the great red rocks about a thousand feet up and five miles from the sea, which was reached by a path that wound along the contours of the hills. No one in Pete’s village had ever travelled further than that, though Pete’s father had once, while fishing, encountered men from another small village beyond the...

Painters’ Paintings: from Freud to Van Dyck

The idea behind ‘Painters' Paintings: from Freud to Van Dyck’ is an exciting one, if a little difficult to communicate in a title. The exhibition explores the relationship between artists and the paintings which they owned: how they came to possess them, why they wanted them and the influence they had on their own art. I wandered into the gallery...

The Lake by Ted Hughes

Better disguised than the leaf-insect, A sort of subtler armadillo, The lake turns with me as I walk. Snuffles at my feet for what I might drop or kick up, Sucks and slobbers the stones, snorts through its lips Into broken glass, smacks its chops. It has eaten several my size Without developing a preference— Prompt, with a splash, to whatever I offer. It ruffles in its wallow...

The e-Shadow by Rhys Timson

It was three weeks into Kurt’s big adventure that his digital self was stolen. Before that, everything had been going to plan. He’d been live-streaming the sights via a head-mounted HD camera and vlogging on Youtube at the end of each day. Though physically alone, his internet presence made him feel as if his friends and family were always...

Pearl by Simon Armitage

Simon Armitage’s new translation of the fourteenth-century poem Pearl follows his energetic 2008 translation of the same anonymous poet’s Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which enjoyed great popularity and critical acclaim. Those hoping to find in Pearl a sequel to Gawain’s rollicking quest will search in vain, for the colloquialisms that tickled the ear in the Gawain translation...

Pearl by Simon Armitage

Simon Armitage’s new translation of the fourteenth-century poem Pearl follows his energetic 2008 translation of the same anonymous poet’s Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which enjoyed great popularity and critical acclaim. Those hoping to find in Pearl a sequel to Gawain’s rollicking quest will search in vain, for the colloquialisms that tickled the ear in the Gawain translation...

Forward Prizes for Poetry 2016: Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection – Shortlist

This year's contenders for the Felix Dennis Prize represent an exciting new generation of poets emerging beyond the bounds of well-trodden publication routes like Faber's New Poets scheme. From Tiphanie Yanique, an award-winning American fiction writer and poet, to Harry Giles, a familiar name on the Scottish spoken word circuit, and Ron Carey, a former engineer and recent graduate...

No Map Could Show Them by Helen Mort

No Map Could Show Them, Mort’s second collection, explores the narratives of Victorian and modern women –mountaineers, campaigners, runners – and considers, more broadly, the marks, narratives and pathways we leave, or don’t leave, behind us. The opening poem, ‘Mountain’, serves as an introduction in which geology meets female body: ‘Your stomach is a boulder. /To hold you up,...

No Map Could Show Them by Helen Mort

No Map Could Show Them, Mort’s second collection, explores the narratives of Victorian and modern women –mountaineers, campaigners, runners – and considers, more broadly, the marks, narratives and pathways we leave, or don’t leave, behind us. The opening poem, ‘Mountain’, serves as an introduction in which geology meets female body: ‘Your stomach is a boulder. /To hold you up,...

The Sun shines on Opera

I will always remember my first visit to Glyndebourne. It was a Sunday and I was the countertenor in Westminster Cathedral choir, so I must have somehow managed to get off singing vespers and benediction that day - the second after Pentecost (only three copes, but no doubt a fair waft of incense and quite a lot of camping...

On Europe

  This issue of our bi-monthly publication, The London Magazine, appears in the first week of June 2016. Less than three weeks later, on June 23, electorates in the two kingdoms, one principality and one province of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will decide by sim­ple majority whether or not their nations remain a member of...

Questions Concerning Aristotle’s Tomb by Manash Bhattacharjee

An archaeologist in Greece unearths Aristotle’s Tomb; others dispute the evidence. If Aristotle’s ideas are consulted, the archaeologist Needs to prove, the tomb’s where he claims it, Not anywhere else. If that is too much, He would fail the philosopher’s test. Archaeology asks for proof, philosophy asks For conviction. The archaeologist Better satisfy one of them. It is an ideal wish, a man’s beliefs Reflect on his grave. But...

Fractals launch at Library

Thank you so much to everyone who helped us launch Fractals at Library last night. Particular thanks go to Elaine Feinstein and H. E. Mr. Navtej Sarna for speaking so wonderfully, and of course to Sudeep Sen for his atmospheric reading. If you would like to preorder a copy of Fractals please email info@thelondonmagazine.org.

George Shaw – My Back to Nature

In the perpetual twilight of the woodland world, trees loom like sinister monoliths out of the gloom. Leaf-mould partially obscures a discarded garment, or a glimpse of creamy flesh. But this isn’t the leafy bower of a Dionysian revel, the sylvan setting of some nymphic adventure or even the stag-haunted gloaming of a woodland tomb. The Poussins, Titians and...

Four Watercolours by Sudeep Sen

The London Magazine has been celebrating the life of our former editor, Alan Ross. An important figure in the literary world, Alan was known for his tireless editorial duties and thoughtful rejection notes.  In this excerpt from his new collection, Fractals, Sudeep Sen remembers Alan and his wife. Four Watercolours      for Alan Ross & Jane Rye RAILWAY STATION, BOMBAY The coolie’s red jacket aapartially...

Poetry Prize | An interview with Rebecca Perry

Ahead of our Poetry Prize, which closes 30th June, we spoke to judge Rebecca Perry about prizes, publication and what she'll be looking for from this year's entries. Rebecca, It’s lovely to have you as a judge, particularly as your 2012 pamphlet little armoured was published by Seren after winning the Poetry Wales Purple Moose Poetry Prize. What was your reaction to winning the Prize...

Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain by Barney Norris

What is ‘home’? A person? A place? A feeling of belonging? These are the questions that run through Barney Norris’s debut novel like a finely spun thread, drawing the disparate lives of his five protagonists together as they experience everything that defines a life: love, loss, disappointment, rejection, grief, illness, fortitude and forgiveness. From the first prologue-style chapter—a phantasmagoric rendering of...

Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain by Barney Norris

What is ‘home’? A person? A place? A feeling of belonging? These are the questions that run through Barney Norris’s debut novel like a finely spun thread, drawing the disparate lives of his five protagonists together as they experience everything that defines a life: love, loss, disappointment, rejection, grief, illness, fortitude and forgiveness. From the first prologue-style chapter—a phantasmagoric rendering of...