of the livelier literary magazines' - DJ Taylor, SUNDAY TIMES
- John Walsh, INDEPENDENT
as a writer, I've been a teacher and an actor, but one
of the most satisfying yet exhausting things I've ever done was run
a short-story magazine, metropolitan.
summer evening the writer Ailsa Cox and I were in the pub moaning
about the fact that all the short-story magazines were closing down,
and we decided to set one up ourselves. We must have been mad, but
I'm really glad we did it.
the help of writer John Ashbrook and artist and designer Ben White
(who has also designed this web site), we ran the magazine from
mine and John's back room, a fact which surprised everyone who found
out, since we set out to make metropolitan professionally
produced and distributed in bookshops nationwide.
received a monumental number of short stories. In the end, to stop
the postman having to knock every morning, we sawed a hole for a
bigger letterbox. He still knocked, though, out of interest, because,
it turned out, he was a short-story writer himself. To start a story
magazine is to discover that the whole world writes stories.
workload was massive - from logging this mountain of stories, through
dealing with bookshops and typing up invoices and lugging parcels
to the post office, to arranging author interviews on radio. Take
it from me, the actual reading and editing was the least of it.
We had help - funding from the Arts Council and North West Arts,
a voluntary assistant Sandy Fitzpatrick, and then a worker, Dominic
Utton, paid for by North West Arts. But in the end, after five years
and unwillingly, I gave it up out of exhaustion and the pressures
of the need to earn my living, and the others followed suit.
advice to anyone thinking of starting up a print lit mag is, Don't,
unless, like me, you've got an unstoppable compulsion to do so and
you're a workaholic. And do it for a limited period only, unless
you've got a private income (you don't get paid to do it) and nothing
else to do with your life.
it was a great buzz to create metropolitan, and to work with
writers like Russell Hoban, Colum McCann, Carl Tighe, Penelope Shuttle
and Livi Michael, and the biggest buzz of all was discovering the
unknown but brilliant writers, some of whom, such as Susan Davis
and Paul Magrs, are now anything but unknown.
here to order copies of metropolitan for £1 or
$2.50 per copy (to cover p&p)
of metropolitan issues and writers featured