London-Based Lit Mags
By Elise Blanchard
Does watching the Olympics made you want to compete in London too? Then play your own game: submit to one of these London-based magazines! And if you’re more of a literary explorer, here is a list of magazines that will help you discover how the Brits are writing these days.
The Alarmist is a fresh, new, dark, funny and twisted printed literary magazine published biannually.It’s not about trying to prove how clever or well-read you are. Mind we’re not the Paris Review. We want to buck the modern trend, and tickle and entertain with what we publish.
Ambit is a surreptitious peek inside a private world. Without it such vital sparks of inspiration could well be lost for ever.’ – Ralph Steadman. Ambit is a 96-page quarterly literary and artwork magazine. It is created in London, published in the UK, and read internationally. It’s available through subscription and in selected bookshops and libraries worldwide. The magazine is put together entirely from unsolicited submissions. You can read more about our guidelines on the Submit page. The short of it is: post prose, poetry or artwork to us. We look at everything that comes through our door, and give no preference to well-known writers over the newest artistic talents. In 1959 a London Paediatrician, Dr Martin Bax, diagnosed Angst and Ennui as the prevailing mood. He prescribed ambit magazine: poetry, fiction and art – sometimes shocking, sometimes experimental sometimes comic, always compelling – plus a small dose of unstuffy poetry reviews.
roviding a showcase for the best
in contemporary British
and international poetry
Fuselit. Half magazine, half collaborative art project, Fuselit is a London-basedjournal of poetry, short fiction, art and sounds. The contents of every issue are dictated by a spur word, with contributions supplied by an international array of writers and artists, both new and established.
Granta has published many of the world’s finest writers tackling some of the world’s most important subjects, from intimate human experiences to the large public and political events that have shaped our lives. Every issue since 1979 is still in print. In the pages of Granta, readers met for the first time the narrative prose of writers such as Bill Bryson, Romesh Gunesekera, Blake Morrison, Arundhati Roy and Zadie Smith; and have encountered events and topics as diverse as the fall of Saigon, the mythology of the Titanic, adultery, psychotherapy and Chinese cricket fighting. Granta does not have a political or literary manifesto, but it does have a belief in the power and urgency of the story, both in fiction and non-fiction, and the story’s supreme ability to describe, illuminate and make real.
The London Magazine is England’s oldest literary periodical, with a history stretching back to 1732. Today – reinvigorated for a new century – the Magazine’s essence remains unchanged: it is a home for the best writing, and an indispensable feature on the British literary landscape. Across a long life – spanning several incarnations – the pages of the Magazine have played host to a wide range of canonical writers, from Wordsworth, Shelley, Hazlitt and Keats in the 18th-century, to T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden and Evelyn Waugh in the early 20th-century. Meanwhile, in recent decades the Magazine has published work by giants of contemporary fiction and poetry such as William Boyd, Nadine Gordimer, and Derek Walcott.
Magma. Like all the best poetry, Magma is always surprising. Every issue of Magma has a different editor, either members of our board or a prominent poet acting as a guest editor. It’s that fresh eye in each issue which gives Magma its unique variety. Our aim is to promote the very best in contemporary poetry. Poetry that’s alert to the world we live in, that’s honest and above all, unexpected. It may come from previously unpublished or emerging poets or the more established. We make a point of including unknown poets alongside known names, and we’ve published Seamus Heaney, Don Paterson, Sean O’Brien, Alice Oswald, Al Alvarez, Wendy Cope, George Szirtes, Gillian Clarke, John Burnside and Mark Doty among many others. What else can I expect to find in each Magma issue? Every issue includes a surprising variety of content. There’ll be prose features, articles as well as reviews, and each with the individuality made possible by our changing editors. Every poet appearing in each issue is invited to read alongside guest poets at Magma Launch Nights which take place at the Troubadour café in London. Magma appears regularly in Road-Show Events at poetry festivals where we stage readings, workshops and sessions during which editors explain their different approaches. Magma publishes three issues a year — Spring, Summer and Winter.
Poetry London. From modest beginnings in 1988, when it was a listings newsletter, Poetry London has developed into one of the UK’s leading poetry magazines. Do not be misled by our name: Poetry London has the same relation to London as The New Yorker has to New York. In other words, it is a national and international magazine. We publish three times a year and feature poems and reviews from across the UK and Ireland, but also from the US, Canada and Australia and many in translation. Poetry London wants to attract the best poems by the best poets currently writing in English. But an important editorial aim is also to foster emerging writers. On average a third of the poetry pages is given to poets who have yet to publish a first collection. We review pamphlets in the autumn issue and first collections in every issue, and we run an annual poetry competition.
The White Review is a quarterly arts journal published in print and online, and established on a non-profit economic model. The current print issue is available to buy in bookshops and via the website, or by subscription. The website is updated with new, usually web-only content in the first week of each month. The journal was conceived as an arts and literary journal specialising in artistically or educationally meritorious works of new or emerging artists and writers. Its aim is the promotion of the arts and literature and of advancing education in arts and literature. It takes its name and a degree of inspiration from La Revue Blanche, a Parisian magazine which ran from 1889 to 1903.
The Wolf magazine. The Wolf magazine was founded in April 2002 by James Byrne and Nicholas Cobic with a clear emphasis on publishing emerging new poets alongside more established writers. It is now published three times a year and edited by James Byrne . The formative years of The Wolf quickly established the magazine as a leading independent poetry magazine in the UK. As Bloodaxe editor Neil Astley remarked during a lecture for Stanza: The next [poetry magazine] to watch will be The Wolf , which has a young editorial team who aren't afraid to ruffle a few feathers. Since 2002, over 350 poets have been published in The Wolf , from all continents of the world. The Wolf publishes international translations, critical prose and interviews with leading contemporary poets, which are frequently mentioned as distinguishing characteristics of the magazine. The poetry, however, comes purely through work submitted. There is no 'friends pile' or special treatment with regard to the consideration of any poet or poem. Anyone is welcome to submit poetry or critical work, at any time.
Elise Blanchard studies Creative Writing at Wesleyan University. She grew up in France but moved to the US in order to study writing in English. Otherwise she likes horseback riding, eating peaches in front of the sea, drawing portraits, and recording lo-fi music. She is an intern at The Review Review.