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...

His Bottom Lip by Rachel Long

Clitoral, like finding a small, hidden part of myself in someone else. Nerve-wet, fleshy - for a white guy, and stained between life-lines with red wine gone black. Only this I point with sharpest teeth. He weighs this up. Eyes roll over what this means, how and where it can lead, all the things it limits.  I think this is his first time knowing what it is to be betrayed by a...

9 of Europe’s Best Bookshops

A good bookshop can be many different things - a haven from the world, a counter-cultural space, and a meeting point for friends, as well as somewhere, to, you know, buy books. It's perhaps for this reason that despite the numerous death knells that have been called over the last 50 or so years, physical spaces to buy books...

The London Magazine Poetry Prize 2017 | Winners

Thank you so much to everyone who entered The London Magazine‘s Poetry Prize 2017. The standard of entries was extremely high but our judges, Patricia McCarthy and Frieda Hughes, have made their choices and we are delighted to announce the winners: First place: ‘Old mother moor' by Sarah Westcott Second place: 'Aroi' by Roisin Kelly Third place: 'Panic' by Michael Henry Each of...

A Glamorous Life by Karl Manders

IN THE SUMMER, while their shells are still a pale colour, you may eat the white kernels of unripe hazel nuts. You extract their sweet, nutty juice while crushing with your tongue the pulp which in a few weeks would have become hard and brown-skinned. You take the fruit of the tree and deny it its maturity, its purpose. Adelaide...

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...

The London Magazine Short Story Competition 2016 | Winners

Thank you so much to everyone who entered The London Magazine's Short Story Competition 2016. We were delighted to see such a large volume and high standard of entries. Judges Max Porter, Erica Wagner and Angus Cargill have made their decision, and we are very pleased to announce the winners: First place: The Match Factory by Emma Hughes Second place: I Have Called You By Your Name...

News | Caoilinn Hughes, on winning the Collyer Bristow Prize 2019

Caoilinn Hughes On winning the Collyer Bristow Prize First thanks go to my peers—Sophie Mackintosh, Danny Denton, Samuel Fisher and Katherine Kilalea—for writing such good books that it was an intimidation and an honour to be on this shortlist with them. Thank you to the judges of this prize because, to me at least, books don’t exist without readers, and it...

The London Magazine Poetry Prize 2016 | Winners

Thank you so much to everyone who entered The London Magazine's Poetry Prize 2016. The standard of entries was extremely high but our judges, Rebecca Perry and Andrew McMillan, have made their choices and we are delighted to announce the winners: First place: ‘They Don't Make Gods for Non-Believers’ by Patrick Errington Second place: ‘Kira’ by Aaron Fagan Third place: ‘The Truth...

Archive | Fiction | Let Them Call it Jazz by Jean Rhys

One bright Sunday morning in July I have trouble with my Notting Hill landlord because he ask for a month’s rent in advance. He tell me this after I live there since winter, settling up every week without fail. I have no job at the time, and if I give the money he want there’s not much left. So...

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,...

Falling Awake by Alice Oswald

'The whole challenge of poetry', Alice Oswald once wrote, 'is to keep language open, so that what we don't yet know can pass through it'. Her new collection, Falling Awake, is proof of this: full of poems that are somehow both spare and spacious, it is held together by her vision that language ought to be continuously re-made –...

Howard Hodgkin: Absent Friends at the National Portrait Gallery

According to a new exhibition of Howard Hodgkin’s work at the National Portrait Gallery, one of the artist’s principal concerns throughout his sixty-five year career was to ‘evoke a human presence in his work’. Absent Friends is dedicated to an exploration of Hodgkin’s portraiture in all its guises – an area of the artist’s work that curator Paul Moorhouse...

The London Magazine Essay Competition 2017 | Winners

We are very pleased to announce the winners of our inaugural essay competition: First Place: "On Writing Ethnic Stories" by Haleh Agar Second Place: "The Fire This Time" by Max Dunbar Third Place: "The School of IKEA" by Peter Slater Our judges, Nikita Lalwani and Laurel Forster, were struck by the breadth of subjects tackled in these essays, some based in cultural or social issues, and others discussing readers...

Short Story Competition | Prize-Giving Ceremony

On Tuesday 28th March 2016 The London Magazine awarded the winners of the Short Story Competition 2016 during a drinks reception on the House of Commons Terrace. The prizes were presented by the guest of honour, Stanley Johnson, who praised the pleasantly unique and vastly contrasting stories. Judge Erica Wagner was also in attendance. We would like to thank all applicants to the Short Story Competition...

Poetry | Michael O’Neill | A Tribute

Michael O’Neill (1953-2018) was a very gifted poet and a brilliant literary critic, who was Professor of English at the University of Durham, where he taught for nearly forty years. He published in the London Magazine during much of this time and was a friend of Alan Ross, who did much to encourage his poetic career. He published four...

Review | Simpson’s Tavern

‘Do you want a sausage with that?’ So chipped the waiter. He was splay–bearded, like a sergeant major in the Pioneer Corps. His apron was like a bed sheet. The question of the optional sausage is the clarion cry at Simpsons Tavern, Cornhill. Everyone is offered one; no matter what they order. This venerable old City institution first opened in...

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 London Magazine Poetry Prize 2018 – Winners Announced!

A huge thanks to everyone who entered this year's poetry prize! We had so many high quality entries this year which resulted in a huge longlist, but eventually our judges managed to whittle it down to the following three entries. All submissions were read anonymously. Here are the winners of The London Magazine Poetry Prize for 2018! 1st prize: The Lean...

An interview with Emily Berry

Emily Berry's 2013 debut Dear Boy established her as a poet of 'sinful inventiveness' and 'startling gifts'. As the editor of Salt Publishing's Best British Poetry 2015 she brought her poetic skill to bear on the challenge of curating a selection of the most engaging, challenging and diverse poetry that has appeared in the last year. Ralf Webb spoke to her about the...

The London Magazine Short Story Prize 2018 — Winner’s Announced!

After an overwhelming response to this year's shortlist, our judges Samuel Fisher, Layla Benitez-James and Harry Mount have arrived at a decision for this year's winners. 1st Place: Igbo Boys by Chuck Nwoke 2nd Place: Steer The Dark Skies Blue by Niamh MacCabe 3rd Place: The Prisoner by Tammye Huf Full Shortlist Igbo Boys - Chuck Nwoke Niamh MacCabe - Steer The Dark Skies Blue The Prisoner...

An interview with Ian McMillian

In this interview with Ian McMillan, The London Magazine’s Editor, Steven O’Brien, and Production Manager, Rachel Chanter, discuss Ian McMillan’s most recent collection of selected poems, To Fold the Evening Star. SO’B: I was just reading an old, friendly poem in To Fold the Evening Star, one I haven’t read for ages – ‘It’s Only a Novelty Coronation Street Alarm...

Archive | Notes on Raymond Chandler by Ian Fleming

With the protagonists of their respective novels being so similar, it is perhaps little surprise that the writers Ian Fleming and Raymond Chandler struck up a friendship in the 1950s. After Chandler's death in 1959, Fleming wrote a long piece about his friend in our December 1959 issue. Never before reprinted, it has now been transcribed in full from...

Short Story Competition 2016 | An interview with Erica Wagner

With just over a month until our Short Story Competition 2016 closes, we spoke to one of the judges, Erica Wagner, and found out that Emily Dickinson inspires her creative process. She also told us what three elements she believes are key to a good short story.    What are you currently reading? If it’s not fiction, what fiction have you recently read and enjoyed?...

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