This year, the judges have remarked on the extraordinary variety of offerings that is reflected in their shortlist and Matthew Scott, the chair of judges, comments that "though it's a cliché that the quality of submissions is ever improving, the excited enthusiasm of the judges across the board does seem to bear this out: it has been a rich year, and a wonderful one for reading - a rare positive in an otherwise extremely difficult time [...]
Biographers have three ways of dealing with their predecessors. They can generously thank them, ignore their achievement, or viciously attack them. Richard Greene (no relation to Graham) misleadingly links Michael Shelden’s deeply flawed book (l994) with Norman Sherry’s impressive three-volume 2,250-page work (1989-2004). Sherry conducted many interviews with Graham from 1904-91, and his first two volumes were perceptive and convincing. Richard calls [...]
Eric BlockKaren Ashton on Viral Art Car Boot Fair The first ever digital Viral Art Car Boot Fair on Sunday 20 September will see over 100 artists selling original work created especially for the event at bargain prices through the new Art Car Boot Fair (ACBF) website. The dazzling line-up of artists brings together familiar names such as Gavin Turk,...
‘I don’t get poetry.’ It’s a miserable cliché, but generation after generation takes it to heart. In fact, as a teenager studying for my GCSEs, I believed it myself. Still sporting K-Swiss trainers and a swooping Justin Bieber fringe long after it was a good look (if it ever was), I was stuck in my old ways. I was a novels person, I thought — poems were too brief to affect me deeply or really sear themselves onto my psyche [...]
Over the years The London Magazine has been home to some of the most prestigious poets in its long publishing history, from John Keats to Sylvia Plath and Derek Walcott. Our annual Poetry Prize seeks out new voices in poetry, providing a platform for publication in the UK’s oldest literary journal. All poems submitted must be previously unpublished and no longer than 40 lines. We have no criteria as to theme, form or style but we are looking for fresh [...]
There was never a fellow of such indolence as Bertie Wooster. Coronavirus would have suited him to a tee. While my lockdown has been largely a case of frenetic juggling of editing and teaching I have had some distinctly Woosterish moments. On two warm summer evenings I found myself in the great company of Wodehouse as I reclined on a lounger, while others did all the serious work around me [...]
Rick Gekoski awoke one morning from uneasy dreams and inexplicably found himself metamorphosed into a writer of fiction. He was seventy-three years old, a retired academic, former Booker prize judge and Chair, broadcaster, bibliographer, private press publisher, journalist and rare book dealer. He had never published a word of fiction. His novel, Darke (2017) was prompted by an insistent inward voice, and its author was called “a late-flowering genius of a novelist” in The Times [...]
The Southbank Centre has announced a new public art and poetry project celebrating the invaluable contributions of key workers who have kept the country running during the COVID-19 crisis. Everyday Heroes will comprise original portraits - whether in the form of paintings, drawings, photographs and texts - reproduced as large scale posters for a dynamic display across the Southbank Centre from mid August to November 2020. The portraits are to be shown [...]
We ask readers to be aware that the production team remains working from home and that print times are inevitably somewhat slower than usual with the result that print copies of the June/July issue of the magazine have been delayed, available on back order and may take a week or so longer than expected to reach you. The June/July Supplementary Pamphlet will be released mid-June so may arrive separately for some orders [...]
With publishers big and small struggling through the current crisis, it is important for us to shine a spotlight on small presses, the work that they do and the books and authors that they publish. Recently recognised among the nine regional and country winners in the Small Press of the Year Award at the 2020 British Book Awards, today we shine the spotlight on four of the best small presses currently publishing in the UK and Ireland: Jacaranda Books, Sandstone Press, Comma Press and The Lilliput Press [...]
The London Magazine has launched its debut fiction prize, formerly known as the Collyer Bristow Prize, for a third year running. The award will be administered by the magazine’s editorial team. First launched in May 2018, the prize aims to celebrate exceptional literary fiction, inviting publishers to submit one debut work of fiction each that was published in the previous calendar year. This can include collections of fiction by a sole author, but the book must be in its original [...]
On 17th June 1976, Robert Greacen, Northern Irish poet and colleague of Chris Rice at a private language school in Holland Park, hosted the first of his poetry workshops from his flat in Pembridge Crescent, Notting Hill Gate. As the junior member at that first meeting, Chris kept a diary of the group’s comings and goings, and continued to do so for the next six years. The extracts below trace a ten-month period from the first meeting in a small flat in Notting Hill Gate to the group’s first public reading in Sloane Square [...]
There has arguably never been a better time for reading, and we at The London Magazine have plunged ourselves into books of all shapes and sizes this month. Although many of the reads here explore weighty themes, our aim for April was to focus more on remedial or escapist books, rather than literature about isolation. We hope there will...
Things were not so free back then, but I was. Still a girl, living in my body. We’d been at the pictures, her dad and me, slurping pop, finding each other’s hands in the space for drinks. He waited until we got to the station to kiss me, which seemed so out of character. I’d seen no proof of happiness in marriage and dishwashers, so when he asked me back to his flat, I didn’t mind. It wasn’t 'beyond' I was after [...]
Château de Pommard releases three series of free live online experiences revisiting Burgundy’s famous wine road. From Gevrey-Chambertin to Meursault, customers will embark on a virtual journey across La Route des Grands Crus, exploring the prestigious appellations of Côte de Beaune et Côte de Nuits from the comfort of their own home. The first chapter of experiences, a general deep...
The London Magazine Short Story prize 2019/20 awards first place to Rachel Bower, after her short story ‘Against the Tide’ impressed our panel of judges during this year’s competition. The response was overwhelming, and we would like to thank everyone who entered to the competition this year. [...]
I am thrilled to have won The London Magazine Short Story Prize, and would like to thank the panel of judges and everyone involved for their time and energy in making this happen, especially during such challenging times. I am sorry not to be able to offer my thanks in person, but hope to meet everyone in the future, when we are through the current crisis [...]
For the 20th anniversary of the Poetry Archive’s first poetry recording, with their live recording programme necessarily suspended, the Poetry Archive is finding new ways to include poets so they can 'preserve the poetry which records this extraordinary year'. From April 10th to September 10th 2020, the organisation is opening up their archives to all poets, asking that they make a video of themselves reading or reciting a single poem – for example, 'through their phones [...]
"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." [...]
Dear Reader, We are all facing extraordinary circumstances, and at The London Magazine we think it is important to remain open and transparent at a time when things can feel frightening and uncertain. Sadly, many of our beloved bookshops have had to temporarily close their doors, however [...]
Jack SollowaySinéad Gleeson on solidarity in sickness, isolation and empathy With the UK government currently advising ‘social distancing’ and the country expecting further preventative measures against the coronavirus pandemic, Sinéad Gleeson’s debut book Constellations: Reflections from Life – a collection of essays about the body, medicine, politics and art – could not have come at a more interesting time. Shortlisted for...
The similarities between the life paths of the 17th century Dutch painters Nicolaes Maes (1634-1693) and Rembrandt (1606-1669) are intriguing. Both grew up in small town Holland, both were apprenticed to local painters at an early age, both moved to Amsterdam to work with a master, both returned to their home towns to perfect their own style, both ended their lives in Amsterdam to which each had returned as their careers began to burgeon [...]
The figure is wearing pyjamas and a pensive expression. He juggles, or simply tries to catch, a piece of falling fruit, the parent of which coils its leaves against a clouded orange backdrop. He is the subject of A Dream (2019), one of a series of paintings by Düsseldorf-based artist Lenz Geerk. Sleepless, as the name suggests, is the result of its creator’s insomnia, and is one of two exhibitions at the newly-launched Mamoth contemporary gallery in Bloomsbury [...]
HIX ART is currently presenting I know you are but what am I, the first major solo exhibition by acclaimed British artist Elizabeth Eade. In this new series of installations, Eade playfully and powerfully continues her exploration of a range of social and political issues. In 2018, Eade won the celebrated HIX Award, judged by the likes of Tracey Emin and Gavin Turk, with her piece Die Liste — a ten-metre-long handwritten list documenting the deaths [...]