Good ideas #1 The Common and Titular

Here’s the first of… more than one, let’s hope, hopefully a series of blogs about interesting ideas and innovations in magazines. Not that their is anything wrong with a straight forward, traditional literary magazine, but now and then I stumble upon a feature that I really like.

Now, we’ll have a look at two magazines that take an encyclopaedic approach to short pieces.

On its website, The Common publishes Dispatches, “short evocations of particular places” in 500 words. The stories tell of towns and landscapes from Mexico to Uzbekistan to Korea to New York. Only improvement I could see : why not make that map interactive? (Submissions accepted year-round)

Titular focuses on (guess what?) titles. It publishes stories which share a title with an existing novel, film or TV show. The idea is to take the title as a starting point and to write a different reality to suit it. “Each story aims to reconstruct concepts instilled by its existing title by exploring and provoking the implicit disparities between the two. This is also a meditation on the semantic implications of each title. Our goal is to build a literary Collective of New Beginnings.” I remember reading a while back some mission statement where these folks said they hoped in the end to have a cross-referencing archive, where you could for example read all the stories written from titles of Tom Cruise movies, or from Hemingway novels. Can’t seem to find it on the site, but I liked that idea. Sad thing is these folks now only solicit material.

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Irish mags

Get cosy with a cup or a tank of coffee and your lucky wife-beaters, ’cause there’s a good few deadlines coming up for Irish magazines. Get to work, folks!

Revival : poetry and prose (under 500 words) before August 31st

Southword : poetry in English; as well as poetry, fiction & reviews as Gaeilge before September 15th

Crannóg : poetry and fiction (under 2000 words) before September 1st

Causeway / Cabhsair, the magazine of Irish and Scottish writing : poems and prose (under 3500 words) before August 31st

La mouche qui pique!

The Stinging Fly is currently looking for work for its translation-only issue. In their own words :

“if you are a translator and you know of a new writer or new writing that you think we should know about, whatever the source language may be, please get in touch.

We are particularly interested in finding/translating short stories, though excerpts from novels and novellas will also be considered.

We hope to include work by new and emerging writers and translators, alongside the work of more established practitioners.

Translators should contact us as soon as possible – and certainly before September 30th 2012 – with suggestions as to work we might consider including in the issue.”

Costa Short Story Award

This award is for a single, previously unpublished short story of up to 4,000 words by an author of 18 years or over. The story must be written in English.

Only one entry per author will be accepted. Entry is online by this website only.

Entry closes at 4pm on Friday 7 September 2012.

All entries will be judged anonymously (ie without the name of the author available to the judges).

A shortlist of six entries will be announced in November and the public will be asked to vote for their favourite.

The winner will be announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony in late January 2013 and will receive a cheque for £3,500. Two runners-up will each receive £750.

More details here

Oh, and it’s FREE to enter.

New kid in Cork

I’m back to the homely drizzle of Ireland, and I hear not everyone is away sipping coconut milk on bleached-white beaches…

There’s a new magazine brewing up in Cork, as you might have read here and there on the blogosphere. The Penny Dreadful is looking for fiction and poetry for their first issue (the deadline is August 31st). They’ve a Fundit page too, and they’re €275 into their €700 target. Visit their funky website, send them stories, poems, money… Go on, Cork!