Little magazines growing content 0 Comments

Late last year, James Bradley took stock of Australia’s landscape of literary journals for The Australian. It’s a fantastic overview for the uninitiated that looks not just at the current state of these magazines but also their pasts, raisons d’être and their possible futures.

On the future of online presences that complement established journals such as Meanjin and Overland, he writes:

In such a future the literary magazine is no longer a static thing but something closer to what it has always been, in some essential way: a community, a forum for debate, a space in which the new can be shared and tested.

It is not at all revolutionary to talk in these terms but in relating this purpose to the evolution of Sleepers from a regular salon, to an annual publication and eventually to showcasing specific writers as novelists, he gives a useful example of how such a community can work offline.

It would be disingenuous at this point not to acknowledge that Bradley makes no mention of Voiceworks, an omission that could be graciously explained by his ineligibility for publication in it (and perhaps The Australian’s own audience demographic). But it also presents an opportunity. Just as every poem is in some way is an answer to the question of what is a poem, so is every magazine or blog an answer to the question what sort of forum or community is this. So, in what ways can both our writers and editors answer those questions?

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