Tuesday 5 April 2022

Isabelle Kenyon & Charley Barnes (ed.), "In Conversation with ... Literary Journals"


About In Conversation with ... Literary Journals, ed. Isabelle Kenyon & Charley Barnes

This is a series of personal, curated interviews with internationally-acclaimed literary editors. The book is the chance to widen your horizons as a writer, discovering new and established literary journals across the world. Sit down with these experienced editors to find out what they really want from a submission, and allow them to demystify the publishing process, across a wide range of genres.

This new book was inspired by In Conversation with ... Small Press Publishers, published by Fly on the Wall Press, in collaboration with Sabotage Reviews. It's suitable for writers of short stories, poetry, flash fiction and cross-genre artforms, at all stages of their career. It includes interviews with 40 international journal editors including: streetcake magazine, The New Verse News, Ink Pantry Publishing, IAMB, ZiN Daily, The Broken Spine, NEON Books, Reckoning Magazine, The Journal, Wildness, Blink-Ink, Tint journal, Long poem magazine, Idle ink, Rough Diamond Poetry Journal, Raleigh Review, Tahoma Literary Review, The Frogmore Papers, Squawk Back, Ambit, Flashback Fiction, Anthropocene, Fly on the Wall Press, Not Deer Magazine, Capsule Stories, GUTTER, Full House Literary Magazine, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Parhelion Literary Magazine, The Dawntreader Magazine & Sarasvati Magazine, Here Comes Everyone magazine, The Alchemy Spoon, Shooter Literary Magazine, Skirting Around Magazine, UP YOURS magazinePorridge, Foxglove Journal, Agenda poetry journalDear Reader, Seafront Press.

Below, you can read about the editors and a sample from the book. You can see more details on the publisher's website here

About the editors

Isabelle Kenyon is a northern writer and the author of  chapbooks: This is not a Spectacle, Digging Holes To Another Continent (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, New York, 2018), Potential (Ghost City Press, 2019), Growing Pains (Indigo Dreams Publishing Ltd, 2020) and one short story with Wild Pressed Books (Short Story ‘The Town Talks’, 2020). She is the Managing Director of Fly on the Wall Press, a socially conscious small press for politically-engaged poetry, fiction and anthologies. She has had poems and articles published internationally in journals such as Ink, Sweat and Tears and newspapers such as The Somerville Times and The Bookseller

​She was listed in the Streetcake Experimental Writing Prize 2020, and for The Word, Lichfield Cathedral Competition 2019. Her poems have been published in poetry anthologies by Indigo Dreams Publishing, Verve Poetry Press, and Hedgehog Poetry Press. She has performed at Cheltenham Poetry Festival and Verbose, Manchester in 2020, Leeds International Festival as part of the ‘Sex Tapes,’  Apples and Snakes’ ‘Deranged Poetesses’ in 2019 and Coventry Cathedral’s Plum Line Festival in 2018.

She is currently working on her first novel, Dark Energy, which has been funded by Arts Council England. She is a fierce dog lover and a confessed caffeine addict.

Dr Charley Barnes is an academic and author from the West Midlands, UK. She is the author of several poetry publications, including: A Z-hearted Guide to Heartache (V. Press, 2018), Body Talk (Picaroon Poetry, 2019), Hierarchy of Needs: A Retelling, co-authored with Claire Walker (V. Press, 2020), and Lore: Flowers, Folklore, and Footnotes (Black Pear Press, 2021). Charley has also authored three short fiction releases: Death Is A Terrible House Guest (The Black Light Engine Room Press, 2019), Burn The Witch (The Black Light Engine Room Press, 2020), and Go On A Road Trip (Wild Press Books, 2020). Under Charlotte Barnes, Charley writes crime fiction, including the titles: Intention; The Copycat; The Watcher; and The Cutter (Bloodhound Books, 2019-2021). She has had individual poems and fiction pieces published by the likes of Ink, Sweat and Tears, Riggwelter Press, and Bind Collective.

Charley is the current Managing Director of Sabotage Reviews, the editor of Dear Reader, and a lecturer in Creative and Professional Writing at the University of Wolverhampton. She has spoken and performed at events such as Verve Poetry Festival, Cheltenham Poetry Festival, and Tamworth Literature Festival, where she formed part of a panel to discuss the practicalities of publishing crime for a contemporary readership. Charley was the Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2019-2020. She is now the Writer-in-Residence for The Swan Theatre, Worcester, and their associated venues. When she isn’t writing, she’s likely drinking tea, eating cake, or walking her dog.

From In Conversation with ... Literary Journals

Ambit Magazine

In Conversation with … Kirsty Allison, Editor

Q. We know that your main focus is across poetry, stories and art, but do you ever accept submissions which verge on cross-genre or which are stylistically different to the rest of your publishing aesthetic?

A. Ambit was established in 1959. Past editors include JG Ballard, Carol Ann-Duffy, Eduardo Paolozzi, with early work from David Hockney, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Ralph Steadman. Some of our most radical works are cross-disciplinary.

When I came on board, we started using Poems, Stories, Art as a way of describing Ambit, nodding to the traditions of founder Dr Martin Bax, to offer thirty pages to each of these disciplines per issue. Traditionally, these areas have been headed up by separate editors, overseen by one — and in my mind, progressive literature and art has always occurred where there’s some sort of visionary overlap. I love the Invisible Years series in Ambit, the collaboration between Ron Sanford, Martin, JG Ballard and occasionally Mike Foreman. Culture moves, it is alive, and we are undoubtedly gatekeeping if people want to give it a go — but we are in a very different point to where we began, because anyone can publish their own work now, and that was not possible back when we began in 1959.

What we offer is stories on paper, that’s the core of Ambit. Ambit is a platform for publishing the best literature and art, and if someone chose to submit graphic stories, we’d see it and consider. There are many great artists, poets and writers that start with us — stories take many forms and we’re here to platform the best poetry, stories and art, but that isn’t to deny cross-over. Our only restriction is that we have ninety-six pages in our quarterlies where submission is open to all, and we clearly have an intention with the Annual Ambit Competition, which opened across disciplines for the first time in 2021, and will this year, with a theme as the framework.

Fiction is one way of telling stories, as is art, graphic art, auto-narratives in illustration, etc.  Anecdotes or philosophical questions are where many stories begin, so it’s generally about how well they transverse into black and white using language, the semiotics, these elements across disciplines are what we play with. Lifewriting is a spectrum: if you’re Bukowski or Anaïs Nin your stories are going to be interesting, and for me, that’s what makes a great writer. I had very little to share until I’d lived a bit. It’s not about disruption and colour all the time, but it helps if there’s some mastery. Form is a tool. Speech is a tool. I love these borderlines — where lyric and poetry crossover has been an obsession.

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