Mslexia magazine review

Mslexia Cover issue 56I first reviewed this long-running quarterly magazine for EssentialWriters in December 2008 when the magazine launched by Debbie Taylor had just benefited from a fresh redesign.

At the beginning of April 2011 a more radical revamp was unveiled, revealing a classy matte white cover to a magazine that now boasts a spine (a physical one – it already had a metaphysical one), and a reintroduction of illustrative rather than photography cover art.

Today, the magazine maintains its strong outlook and valuable content, with in-depth interviews with notable writers working in a variety of mediums and genres, an analysis of a bestselling novel, and a gentle picking-apart-and-putting-back-together contemplation of a poem, as well as features aimed at helping you assess, improve and target your own writing.In Mslexia issue 56, which covers Dec/Jan/Feb 2012/13, highlights include an examination of the role of social media in the modern writer’s life from Bim Adewunmi (“Social media isn’t just about selling your writing; it’s also a research tool, and a way of keeping the potential loneliness of writing at bay.”), tips on becoming a freelance journalist, and even a humorous look at the strange items agents receive from aspiring authors in an attempt to make their manuscripts stand out.

As seems only right, the magazine ripples with contributions from its readers, with invitations for submissions of 200-word monologues, 100-word character descriptions, ‘A Week of Tweets’ 80-word Rants and Raves, and ‘Four Lines that Rhyme’, each of which provides a welcome change in pace when set against the lengthier features.

Many of the features conclude with a list of succinct bullet points, making this ideal on-the-move reading. It gives you the option of skimming with intent, if you don’t have time to dive right in.

The centrepiece of the magazine remains the New Writing section, showcasing the best poetry and prose entries for that edition, in this issue on the steamy subject of ‘The Affair’. Each of these sections is prefaced by an explanation from that edition’s judge as to how each piece earned its place on the page. I prefer to read the pieces, and then the judge’s introduction, (as occasionally spoilers seep through!), before sometimes re-reading the pieces with fresh perspective, following the comments from the judge – in this case author Sarah Dunant.

With so much packed between the covers, the quarterly editions will keep you going all year, and will leave you with plenty to work on, think about and aspire to before the next issue comes out. If you don’t subscribe to Mslexia already, I think it would make a great addition to your Christmas wish list!

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