MSLEXIA ISSUE 50
According to my mother, I was a reading prodigy. Give me a magazine at age two and I was happily absorbed for hours. Books followed shortly thereafter and have never left. After an Eng Lit degree came a career in publishing, marked by a turning point in the late 1970s when an American novel by some unknown woman turned up at Methuen where I was working. It was The Women’s Room by Marilyn French and the discovery – with a shock of recognition – of feminism led me to the burgeoning women’s movement in the UK, where a new generation of writers was finding its voice. The good folk at Methuen encouraged my enthusiasm to build a women’s writing list and thus I was set on a path that connected to some wonderful books, enduring friendships – and eventually the job of MD at The Women’s Press.
So how could I resist the invitation to guest-edit an issue of this magazine, devoted to the twin peaks of my existence, women and words?
‘What they lack in muscle, small publishers can make up for with flexibility, innovation and obsessive, determined commitment’ Elsbeth Lindner, p 9
features ‘I’d write whole chunks in my head whilst washing the dishes, and then write them down later’ LEILA ABOULELA, p 51 ‘If a book isn’t face up on a table, you’ve no chance of selling it’ LIZ THOMSON, p 18 ‘“I don’t know what kind of a woman you are,” he said, “but you can’t publish this novel”’ KATE PULLINGER, p 44 ‘When I think of my readers, I feel a mixture of conflicting emotions: I like them, am immensely grateful to them, and am often very afraid of them’ NICCI GERRARD, p 16 ‘Poetry is accorded the same dismissive reaction as clog-dancing, a widely-ridiculed traditional UK folk dance’ DR DJ TAYLOR, p 13
S T R E E T E R
I N E
: K AT H E R
I L LU S T R AT I O N
ELSBETH LINDNER worked for over 30 years in publishing, includiing at Oxford University Press, Methuen, Weidenfeld & Nicolson and Reed International, where she launched Minerva paperbacks and set up her own imprint. She has served on the Orange Prize Management Committee, has authored and co-edited several books, reviews widely and is currently Editor in Chief of newbooks, a bi-monthly literary magazine for readers and reading groups.
Your Mslexia 4 Letters, emails, posts and tweets What’s new 6 …in the writing world, on the web, in our lives Agenda 8 Boutique books: Guest Editor Elsbeth
Lindner revisits the ebullient world of small press publishing Features 13 Poetry phobia: Dr DJ Taylor looks at why generations are growing up with a fear of poetry 16 Dear Reader: Nicci Gerrard analyses the writer’s relationship with a very significant other 18 The price of fame: Liz Thomson explains how bestsellers are created Writing life 21 Big question: Is poetry important to you?
Little question: Tea or coffee? 22 Objects of desire 23 Life coach: Bekki Hill helps a writer overcome her inhibitions 24 Make a difference: Kiva lends money to women to start their own businesses 25 Make a splash: create a controversy
Time and money: book reviewing New writing 27 Salley Vickers introduces her selection of poetry and prose on the theme of ‘Ego’ 37 How I did it: Sarah Dodd Inspiration 43 Fiction masterclass: Jane Rogers on using first person 44 What went horribly wrong for Kate
Pullinger 45 Kids’ stuff: Lucy Coats on writing for children aged 5-8 46 The creative mix: writing exercises,
monologue, 4 lines that rhyme, plus advice from novelist Clare Morrall 47 Crime masterclass: Laura Wilson on developing a final draft 48 Pen portrait 49 Making a poem the Elaine Feinstein way Interview 51 Leila Aboulela talks to Caroline Sanderson Books 55 Books to look out for: Books Editor Danuta
Kean on literary hauntings 56 Vox Pop: Waterloo Station What’s Hot: Christine Green 57 Carol Drinkwater on a book to change your life; Indie Press: Legend Press; How I did it: Trilby Kent 58 Book group: LuckyBunny Poetry and short stories reviews 59 What’s new in historical fiction by Elizabeth
Chadwick 60 How to write a bestseller: Trespass 61 Submitting and subscribing to Mslexia Directory 63 Opportunities: competitions, calls for submissions, grants, courses 68 Out and About: events and workshops in your area And finally 74 Miriam Margolyes’ bedtime reading Mslexiapublication details
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