Archive | This month in The London Magazine… 250 years ago...

As England’s oldest literary periodical, The London Magazine has an illustrious history dating back to 1732. To celebrate our heritage, we delved into the archives to discover what was in the magazine exactly 250 years ago this month, in March 1770. A selection of fascinating excerpts is presented below. Many of the writers’ concerns seem strange or even quaint to us now, but several topics of discussion seem to be of enduring relevance [...]

Review | Rough Trade Books | Series 3

The recently-launched Rough Trade Books imprint has been releasing pamphlets at a prolific rate since the summer of last year, bringing us highly collectable...

Interview | ‘The party that never stops’: Sarah Lucas on The...

I was with Damien Hirst and Angus Fairhurst (I imagine) and we popped in. It was dingy, green and crowded. Also smoky. Ian Board was behind the bar insulting people and swearing as they came in. I thought he was horrible. Someone said, ‘He’s alright when you get to know him.’ I thought, I’ll bear that in mind. I didn’t go back for a long while. By that time Ian was dead. He was still there in the form of his sculpted head which contained his ashes. Michael Wojas said that you can roll a pinch up [...]

Staff Picks – August 2018

Staff picks for the month of August at The London Magazine! Here's what we've been reading recently:  Steven O'Brien - Editor  The Music of Chance -...

Contributor’s Picks – June/July 2018

Introducing Contributor’s Picks! Recommendations for the very best in arts, culture and literature from the writers for The London Magazine June/July 2018 issue. Read...

Staff Picks – March 2018

Introducing Staff Picks! Recommendations for the very best in arts, culture and literature from the staff at The London Magazine. Steven O'Brien - Editor Boneland -...

Fiction | “Smack” from Salt Slow by Julia Armfield

The following text is an extract from the story “Smack”, taken from Julia Armfield’s debut collection Salt Slow, published by Picador: 'The jellyfish come with the morning – a great beaching, bodies black on sand. The ocean empties, a thousand dead and dying invertebrates, jungled tentacles and fine, fragile membranes blanketing the shore two miles in each direction. They are translucent, almost spectral, as though the sea has exorcised its ghosts [...]'

Interview | Emma Donoghue on writing hunger

Set in Ireland in 1858, seven years after the potato famine, The Wonder tells the story of an English nurse who is hired to spend two weeks observing an eleven-year old girl, who, her parents claim, has not eaten for months. Based on the almost fifty cases of ‘fasting girls’ - of women who claimed to be surviving without food for months on end in Europe and North America between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries - Donoghue’s novel anticipates the invention of anorexia [...]

Staff Picks | April 2020

There has arguably never been a better time for reading, and we at The London Magazine have plunged ourselves into books of all shapes...

Interview | Joe Dunthorne on Cliché, Adulting and Coming of Age

What do we even want from coming of age? Do we want to be wise, mature people, or do we just care about ticking off a list of pre-agreed markers: homeowning, or a long-term relationship, or whatever it is? Ultimately, you can be a child, you can be the most immature and undeveloped human, and have achieved all those things. So obviously it’s a problematic term. Obviously, Catcher in the Rye is the ultimate touchstone for literary coming-of-age for most people [...]

Fiction | The Swallowed Man by Edward Carey

I am writing this account, in another man’s book, by candlelight, inside the belly of a fish. I have been eaten. I have been eaten, yet I am living still. I have tried to get out. I have made many attempts. But I must conclude that it is not possible. I am trapped within an enormous creature and am slowly being digested. I have found a strange place to exist, a cave between life and death. It is an unhappy miracle. I am afraid  of  the  dark. The dark is coming for me [...]

Interview | Quentin Blake: Anthology of Readers

Best known for his illustrations of Roald Dahl’s books — including Fantastic Mr Fox, Matilda, The BFG and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory amongst others — Quentin Blake's latest exhibition, Anthology of Readers, turns his eye to book-lovers [...]

Interview | Sam Riviere on Martial, authenticity and stealing

"I discovered Martial’s poetry by searching for the number 104 for an unrelated reason, which was recorded on Wikipedia as being the year he probably died. I trust this kind of chance occurrence, and it led me to reading some of the epigrams, which I imagine I had vaguely heard of before. I responded immediately to their playfulness, sarcasm, brevity, devotion to social commentary, and general refusal of seriousness – especially things like Martial’s own admission that his poems aren’t even that good, a lot of the time." [...]

Staff Picks | The Best of Gothic Fiction

As it's Halloween, The London Magazine team have been discussing the nature of horror in fiction, and why we are so attracted to reading it....

Essay | Vonnegut’s ‘Black Humor’

I had made her so unhappy that she had developed a sense of humor, which she certainly didn’t have when I married her . . . This line from Bluebeard’s narrator remarks on another kind of humor, the black humor Vonnegut is best known for. Its source is helplessness and despair. He explains: Laughter or crying is what a human being does when there’s nothing else he can do [...]

Contributor’s Picks – April/May 2018

Introducing Contributor's Picks! Recommendations for the very best in arts, culture and literature from the writers for The London Magazine April/May 2018 issue. Read...

Archive | Roger Blin and Beckett by Mary Benson

‘...Some were to say, “At last, a Christian play!” but I soon came to the conviction that for Beckett it was a mockery. I didn’t want to press the symbolic side. I didn’t bother the actors by saying, “Look, careful, this is very important, it means something other than it seems”. I wanted them to discover it for themselves; through the rehearsals they should give something surpassing the everyday realism of tramps — who finally are not tramps but you and me.’ [...]

Fiction | Fear In Your Water by Julia Bell

I had been reading Foucault – and not understanding it properly; I was too distracted to concentrate. But I got the gist of it, at least what I thought was the important stuff, what he was saying about madness and how it has been civilised out of us, how back in the day it used to be that sane people and mad people all lived together and there wasn’t so much of a difference. And ‘mad’ people were often seen as visionaries with special access to God. It was only when people [...]

Interview | Jane Draycott on sound poetry, translation and poetic process

'It’s dark in here and forest green: Britannica, sixteen oak trees in a London living room, / the little girl, my mother, in the bookcase glass. / Italy, Ithaca, Izmail, Japan, each page a mainsail, / turning, HMS Discovery – none of the rivers of southern Italy is of any great importance.' - Jane Draycott, ‘Italy to Lord’. British poet Jane Draycott is interested in sound poetry and collaboration. Her translation of the Middle English poem Pearl won the Stephen Spender Prize [...]

Staff Picks – May 2018

The London Magazine's May Staff Picks! Recommendations for the very best in arts, culture and literature from the staff at The London Magazine.Steven O’Brien...

Interview | Jonathan Simons on Analog Sea, Neo-Romanticism and ‘the contemplative...

'The discomfort of boredom is never something human beings have liked, but reality and nature and the lack of technology, and the rudimentary qualities of technology, pushed back on us. The friction that we want to eradicate is defined by boredom and old age and sickness and death, and we need these things to be human, and we need these things to have interesting, vital arts and letters as well.'

Fiction | Night As It Falls by Jakuta Alikavazovic

Paul couldn’t believe that she lived in a hotel. Better yet, or worse, he had known it, then forgotten. They talked about her on campus, rumours had preceded her, so much that her body already existed in whispers, but Paul didn’t care about gossip. He cared about girls, and women. Their mouths, their flesh. He was eighteen years old, and living multiple lives. By day he went to university, he stared at huge blackboards or whiteboards, he traded and compared notes with [...]

Fiction | Asphyxia by Violette Leduc

My mother never gave me her hand… She always helped me on and off pavements by pinching my frock or coat very lightly at the spot where the armhole provides a grip. It humiliated me. I felt I was inside the body of an old horse with my carter dragging me along by one ear… One afternoon, as a gleaming carriage sped past, splattering the leaden summer with its reflections, I pushed the hand away right in the middle of the road. She pinched the cloth [...]

Contributor’s Picks August/September 2018

Here are the latest Contributor’s Picks! Recommendations for the very best in arts, culture and literature from the writers for The London Magazine August/September...

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