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Physical by Andrew McMillan

Andrew McMillan’s debut collection Physical opens with an epitaph taken from one of the often overlooked novels of Hilda Doolittle, better known as H.D. the Imagiste poet and protégé of Ezra Pound. You are trembling. It’s the way I crooked my elbow, you know, this way - it’s nothing - This is a collection which is refreshingly open about its literary inheritances...

We Don’t Know What We’re Doing

Editor of The Stinging Fly, one of Ireland's top literary magazines, Thomas Morris is no stranger to reading and writing short fiction. In the final countdown to the deadline for our short story competition we spoke to the writer and editor about his debut collection We Don't Know What We're Doing, heritage, habits and the art of disguise. Many interviewers have made much of your identity...

The Wheelbarrow by V. S. Pritchett

In August 1960 The London Magazine published V. S. Pritchett’s short story ‘The Wheelbarrow’ alongside four poems by Derek Walcott and reviews by Louis MacNeice, Roy Fuller and Frank Kermode. Pritchett, himself an avid short story writer, professed that to write a short story 'is exquisitely difficult’ yet - as his word choice suggests - it was also one...

Happiness by Jack Underwood

‘Sometimes your sadness is a yacht’ is the title of the fourth poem in Jack Underwood’s recently published collection Happiness. Highlighting early on in proceedings that the eponymous state cannot be explored without reference to its antonym, the poem refers with some resignation to the inaccessibility of the emotions of those we believe to be closest to us. Happiness,...

Happiness by Jack Underwood

‘Sometimes your sadness is a yacht’ is the title of the fourth poem in Jack Underwood’s recently published collection Happiness. Highlighting early on in proceedings that the eponymous state cannot be explored without reference to its antonym, the poem refers with some resignation to the inaccessibility of the emotions of those we believe to be closest to us. Happiness,...

A Message From T. S. Eliot

from The London Magazine February 1954 "What we need is the magazine which will boldly assume the existence of a public interested in serious literature, and eager to be kept in touch with current litera­ture and with criticism of that literature by the most exacting standards." A message of good will, from an elderly man of letters, on the appearance of a new literary periodical,...

Translated Love Letters by Andrew McMillan

From The London Magazine October/November 2009 Translated Love Letters from Norwegian oh love, doesn't the fact that the world is so big, laid out like ripe fruit make you want to stay? from Arabic how I long to cleanse you in the waters of the Tigris how I long, as though you were a small and priceless artefact, to take you in my arms from Ant-speak I will carry you carry you through...

Short Story Competition: A word from the judges

In the final stretch till the end of our annual Short Story Competition we spoke to this year's Judges, the award-winning author Susan Hill, writer Kevan Manwaring and Alessandro Gallenzi head of Alma Books, to find out exactly what the short story means to them.   What do you look for in a short story? SH: ‘A little world, made cunningly.’ AG: Economy of language, humour, a well-devised structure...

A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk

I was reading Orhan Pamuk’s Snow in London recently, when a Scottish man stopped me to say how much he’d enjoyed it – ‘best book ever’, he said. No-one, Scottish or otherwise, had ever done that to me before. But the man went on to say that he’d found another of Pamuk’s books My Name is Red disappointing (I think he used stronger words)....

A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk

I was reading Orhan Pamuk’s Snow in London recently, when a Scottish man stopped me to say how much he’d enjoyed it – ‘best book ever’, he said. No-one, Scottish or otherwise, had ever done that to me before. But the man went on to say that he’d found another of Pamuk’s books My Name is Red disappointing (I think...

Two Wives and a Widow by Angela Carter

From The London Magazine March 1966 Two Wives and a Widow A modern version from the Middle Scots of William Dunbar If one night in the year is romantic, that night is Midsummer's Eve. Such a night, it was... about midnight, I went out by myself and came to a flower garden behind a hawthorn hedge. On a bough, this crazy bird was splitting its sides, singing....

Short Story Competition: A word from the Judges

With just a couple weeks left till the end of our annual Short Story Competition we spoke to the Judges to find out exactly what the short story means to them.  Today we spoke to award-winning novelist Susan Hill about writers, short stories and what to read to be inspired.  What do you look for in a short story? ‘A little world, made cunningly.’ Which short story...

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

The publication of a writer’s twentieth novel is, surely, a monumental occasion. Especially if the novel, which the writer has hinted might be her last, is met with broad critical acclaim and shortlisted for two of the biggest literary awards in the UK. And especially if the novel is described as a ‘multigenerational epic,’ a ‘family saga’—terms which align...

A Spool of Blue Thread By Anne Tyler

The publication of a writer’s twentieth novel is, surely, a monumental occasion. Especially if the novel, which the writer has hinted might be her last, is met with broad critical acclaim and shortlisted for two of the biggest literary awards in the UK. And especially if the novel is described as a ‘multigenerational epic,’ a ‘family saga’—terms which align...

Full Fathom Five by Sylvia Plath

From The London Magazine June 1960 Old man, you surface seldom. Then you come in with the tide's coming When seas wash cold, foam- Capped: white hair, white beard, far-flung, A dragnet, rising, falling, as waves Crest and trough. Miles long Extend the radial sheaves Of your spread hair, in which wrinkling skeins Knotted, caught, survives The old myth of origins Unimaginable. You float near As kneeled ice-mountains Of the north, to...

The Lobster

If you were to be turned into an animal what animal would you choose? This question remains at the forefront of Yorgos Lanthimos’s first English-language feature The Lobster, where his protagonist David, the bumbling hairy-lipped Colin Farrell, decides he’d like to be turned into just that, a lobster. The premise of Lanthimos’s world is, like his previously acclaimed feature Dogtooth (2009),...

Short Story Competition: A word from the Judges

With just a few weeks left till the end of our annual Short Story Competition we spoke to the Judges to find out exactly what the short story means to them.  Today we spoke to Alessandro Gallenzi, writer, publisher and founder of Alma Books about writers, short stories and what to read to be inspired.  What do you look for in a short story?  Economy of language,...

Macbeth

Scotland herself is the main character in this blood-soaked reimagining of Shakespeare's shortest tragedy. So enamoured is director Justin Kurzel of his Highland landscape that it becomes his focal point: a gaping maw of brutal heights and contours before the poor players. This is a cold pagan place, where the respite from war and rain is never very long. From...

Kamal Boullata – And There Was Light

This autumn the Berloni gallery presents the first London exhibition of Palestinian artist Kamal Boullata’s work since 1978.  The acclaimed artist who is known both for his geometric abstract paintings, and for his intricate explorations of Palestinian identity and exile, will show around twenty new paintings on both canvas and paper for his return to London. Born in Jerusalem in...

Short Story Competition: A word from the Judges

With just a few weeks left till the end of our annual Short Story Competition we spoke to the Judges to find out exactly what the short story means to them. First we spoke to writer and publisher Kevan Manwaring about writers, short stories and what to read to be inspired.   a What do you look for in a short story?    An arresting premise. A life in...

“We live in the age of the beautiful book” – interview with Chris Riddell

Writer, illustrator and current Children's Laureate Chris Riddell is becoming an increasingly familiar name to stumble upon in the literary world. He has collaborated on projects with Neil Gaiman, Russell Brand and is an award-winning author in his own right. From his often jaw-droppingly beautiful illustrated books to his lively social media posts of train journey doodles and illustrated...

Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots

Upon viewing Jackson Pollock’s 1951 solo show in which he debuted his now famed ‘black paintings’, friend and fellow painter Alfonso Ossorio commented that the pieces, ‘demand alertness and total involvement…Without the intricacy of colour and surface pattern…they reawaken in us the sense of personal struggle and its collective roots’. With the departure of Pollock’s usual colourful, textured and lyrical...

Partita, 1968 by Hannah Lowe

Partita, 1968 When the tabla and double bass are really moving the raga in full swing I think of when I used to run for hours, for miles out of the door in my old bent trainers early winter nights, the streetlamps flickering on heel-toe, heel-toe through Clapham, Balham, and down the hill to Tooting Bec men in white robes on the white temple steps a child eating with...

The Lighthouse by Michael Shann

The Lighthouse Markhouse Road So far from the wine-dark sea, a displaced monument to faith and absurdity at the turn of a neat, Victorian street. Still, the treacherous rocks are everywhere: poverty, debt, addiction, the old lure of a luxurious life. So perhaps Captain King was right, calling the people to prayer, not with a bell, but with a light. The Lighthouse is a Methodist Church on Markhouse Road...

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