Open Pen is a free magazine comprised of short fiction by writers with something to say. It is stocked in independent bookshops across the UK.

To submit to Open Pen Magazine, take a look at our submissions page.

Open Pen launched in 2011, as London’s first “Open Literature” magazine. What this really meant is that we wanted to encourage writing from anywhere and everyone, anyone and everyone, and we wanted to give it to you for free. In 2016 we published The Open Pen Anthology a collection of short fiction old and new from our favourite Open Pen authors.

Our aim is to create a print publication that is both interesting and relevant, and encourages growth within our talented, fertile, literary underbelly. We are a platform for up-and-coming writers from all backgrounds, with particular interest in working class writers.

We aim to publish three issues a year. You’ll find copies of the latest issues in independent bookshops, libraries, university campuses, writers’ centres, coffee shops and bars across the country, with a special focus in London (s’where we’re from). But with every issue we grow stronger, and so does our range of stockists. You can now pick Open Pen Magazine up in as far reaching places as Havana, Cuba.

You can also see Open Pen in the flesh at our boozy live events. Check in on our events page if you’re interested.

Keep a look out for us, we’re a must for new writers and fans of fiction with bite. To find out more about Open Pen, how you can support us, to join our never-more-than-once-a-month-we-promise mailing list, or for any other information, please contact us at: info@openpen.co.uk

What they said about us:

“Edgy, brave, and utterly readable.”  

N Quentin Woolf (Author of Death of the Poet – (Serpent’s Tail))

”One of the most interesting magazines in world literature today”  

João Cerqueira (Author of The Tragedy of Fidel Castro – (Freight) – winner 2013 USA Best Book Awards)

“Undoubtedly the most important London literary magazine around right now.”  

Joe England, editor of PUSH Magazine

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Click here to meet The OPEN PEN Team

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One of Open Pen’s aims is to give aspiring writers some an exposure in printed form. Here is a little list of every short fiction writer we’ve published in print. If you would like to contact any of the authors directly please send your request for contact details to info@openpen.co.uk.


Issue Twenty Cover Author – Louisa Adjoa Parker, author of ‘Of Knives and Men’

Issue Nineteen – Jim Gibson, author of ‘Oddments’

Issue Nineteen – Dan Coxon, author of ‘The Worst Place in The World’

Issue Nineteen – Jonnie McAloon, author of ‘Something to Talk About’

Issue Nineteen – Gerard McKeown, author of ‘The Company of Moths’

Issue Nineteen – Katherine Orton, author of ‘The Romance of Scorpions’

Issue Nineteen – Simon Pinkerton, author of ‘Vicious centre of the capitalist South, here you will find nothing soft’


Issue Nineteen Cover Author – Rob True, author of ‘Up The Silver Cord’

Issue Nineteen – Holly Watson, author of ‘Aunty Mandy’

Issue Nineteen – Craig Ledoux, author of ‘A Little Action’

Issue Nineteen – Siobhan Denton, author of ‘Period 3, Friday’

Issue Nineteen – Leo X. Robertson, author of ‘The Other Half’

Issue Nineteen – Susannah Heffernan, author of ‘Computer Says’


Issue Eighteen Cover Author – Josephine Bruni, author of ‘The Jungle’

Issue Eighteen – William Kramer, author of ‘Answering Zeus’

Issue Eighteen – Foye McCarthy, author of ‘Oh No! A Bank Robbery! Fuck!’

Issue Eighteen – William Kramer, author of ‘Answering Zeus’


Issue Seventeen Cover Author – Fernando Sdrigotti, author of ‘Only Up Here’

Issue Seventeen – Nick Black, author of ‘Even Dead, I’m Neurotic’

Issue Seventeen – Sarah W, author of ‘Mr. E’

Issue Seventeen – AJ Tuppen, author of ‘Report on the Orange’

Issue Seventeen – Jack Sanderson-Thwaite, author of ‘Two Months on a Boat’

Issue Seventeen – Katherine Harrisson, author of ‘Please Shower Before Entering the Pool’


Issue Sixteen Cover Author – DeAnn Bell, author of ‘Invisible Monsters’

Issue Sixteen Author – Emmet Vincent author of ‘The John Lewis Christmas Ad’

Issue Sixteen Author – David McGrath author of ‘Naked

Issue Sixteen Author – Andrew Newall author of ‘Writer’s Block


Issue Fifteen Cover Author – Jamie Collinson, author of ‘The Shields’

Jamie Collinson is an LA-based fiction writer, once of London, originally from Leeds.

Issue Fifteen Author – Paul Heatley author of ‘Wor Jackie’

Issue Fifteen Author – Anne Goodwin author of ‘The Witch’s Funeral

Issue Fifteen Author – Amy Victoria Gray author of ‘Factotal


Issue Fourteen Cover Author – Ben Byrne, author of ‘Waiting for a Hurricane’

  • Ben Byrne was born in London and studied Drama & Film at the University of Manchester. He later lived in San Francisco, New York and Tokyo, working as a consultant, film-maker and musician. He returned to England to dedicate himself more fully to writing, and his short fiction has appeared in Litro and Writer’s Hub.

Issue Fourteen Author – Star Spider author of ‘Middle Name’

Issue Fourteen Author – Jordan O’Shea author of ‘My Girl Tornado

Issue Fifteen Author – Anne Goodwin author of ‘The Witch’s Funeral


Issue Thirteen Cover Author – Max Sydney Smith, author of ‘The Boy Who Bit His Nails’

  • Max Sydney Smith was born in 1986 in London. He is studying for an MA in Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths University. His work has appeared in the literary magazine Structo, the inter-disciplinary art project Hereafter and will appear in the flash fiction app Quick Fictions.

Issue Thirteen Author – Benjamin Wolfe author of ‘Power Games’

Issue Thirteen Author – David Turner author of ‘Blinking Woman

Issue Thirteen Author – Tomoe Hill author of ‘Real World’

Issue Thirteen Author – Leighton Critchley author of ‘Mr Plume and the End of the World

Issue Thirteen Author – Mat Woolfenden author of ‘Wildlife Nuisance’


Issue Twelve Cover Author – Lisa Fontaine, author of ‘Envelope: Blue’

  • Lisa Fontaine is a young short fiction writer who dabbles in experimental and often bizarre styles. She has not long finished college, where she achieved three A*s in journalism and creative media production and is about to start university at University of Greenwich, London. When she is not writing she divides her time between experimental filmmaking, photography and tormenting those closest to her.

Issue Twelve Author – SJ Mannion, author of ‘Redemption Song’

Issue Twelve Author – Ben Whitfield, author of ‘The Moth’

Issue Twelve Author – Mazin Saleem, author of ‘In What Capacity’

Issue Twelve Author – David Mortimer, author of ‘Breakfast’

Issue Twelve Author – Carl Thompson, author of ‘Saint Patrick’


Issue Eleven Cover Author – Jasmin Kirkbride, author of ‘The Yellow Moth’

  • Jasmin Kirkbride is currently manifesting as a 23-year-old bookish geek girl in oversized shoes. She has an MA in Ancient History from King’s College London and is usually to be found in her spare time buried in the latest science-fiction novel or writing one of her own. This is her first published short story.

Issue Eleven Author – S. Conde, author of ‘The Buyers’

Issue Eleven Author – Anton Rose, author of ‘Birdwatching’

Issue Eleven Author – David McGrath, author of ‘A Lonesome Snow Leopard’

  • David McGrath has won the Peirene Press Short Story Competition, StorySlam Live and was highly commended in the Manchester Fiction Prize 2013. He received Most Valuable Player for writing from Liars League London 2013.

Issue Eleven Author – Irving A. Greenfield, author of ‘Abraham’s Second Coming’


Issue Ten Cover Author – Peter Higgins, author of ‘Smoking in the Library’

  • Peter Higgins was born in Dewsbury and has been living in London since 1994. His short stories and articles have appeared in Tales of the Decongested, PenPusher and Litro, and previously in Open Pen’s Issue Seven. His situation comedies won the second prize in the world-famous Sitcom Trials.

Issue Ten Author – Rhuar Dean, author of ‘Reverse Soliciation’

Issue Ten Author – GC Perry, author of ‘In The Age of Nicotine’

  • GC Perry’s stories have been previously published in Hobart, Quick Fiction, Fractured West, Litro and elsewhere. He lives in South London.

Issue Ten Author – Matthew Cutler, author of ‘Of All The Bras In All The World’


Issue Nine Cover Author – Darren Lee, author of ‘Hunter Gatherers’

  • Darren Lee lives and works in London. His fiction has been performed at Liars’ League and The Book Stops Here. he has been published previously with Open Pen. In 2011 he wrote a piece of Twitter fiction that won him copies of the Booker long list, thus enabling him to legitimately claim that he has won a Booker Price for his writing.

Issue Nine Author – Ian Green, author of ‘Haar’

  • Ian Green is a writer from northern Scotland living in London working in cancer research. His fiction has previously been performed at Liars’ League London, and he is currently seeking representation for his novel Slow Light.

Issue Nine Author – Daniel Rouse, author of ‘Assessment

  • Daniel Rouse is a British writer in his mid-twenties currently living in Toronto. He spends most of his tie working on freelance articles and short stories, attending gigs, watching the city’s disappointing sports teams, and drinking surprisingly good Canadian beer.

Issue Nine Author – Liam Hogan, author of ‘Big Fish

  • Liam Hogan was abandoned in a library at the tender age of 3, emerging blinking into the sunlight many years later, with an aversion to loud noises and a head full of words. You can find some of them via http://happyendingnotguaranteed.blogspot.co.uk/

Issue Nine Author – Will Ashon, author of ‘Superhuman

  • Will Ashon has published two novels, and works at Big Dada, a record company. He tweets badly @willashon

Issue Eight Cover Author – Akis Papantonis, author of ‘The Very Short Journey of Mr. R.’

  • Akis Papantonis (b. 1978, Athens, Greece) is a molecular biologist at the University of Oxford. Short stories and essays of his have appeared in greek literary journals and newspapers, the Oxford Magazine, as well as in the anthology We Are All Immigrants (Patakis Eds., 2007).

Issue Eight Author – Jo Gatford, author of ‘If, Then’

  • Jo Gatford wants to live on your bookshelf. She has short works published in SmokeLong Quarterly, PANK, Litro and The Pygmy Giant, amongst others. She lives in Brighton where she wrangles babies and writes for her supper. She is currently seeking representation for her novel, Piecemeal.

Issue Eight Author – Alun Evans, author of ‘Jehovah’s Witness

  • Alun Evans preferred not to provide a bio.

Issue Eight Author – S. Manley Hadley, author of ‘Wank

  • S. Manley Hadley grew up in the semi-industrial wastelands of the West Midlands, which explains the dead look in his perennially bloodshot eyes. He has a cat, a girlfriend and too many books. He has almost written a novel.

Issue Seven Cover Author – A. J. Dunn, author of ‘Heir Hunters’

  • Something of an arts entrepreneur , running online art gallery UK-Artworks and having devised national art competition Britain’s got Artists , what motivates A. J. Dunn is establishing communication between the writer or artist and the reader (viewer). Literature however is her first passion.

Issue Seven Author – Peter Higgins, author of ‘A Brief Guide To London’s Lost Cinemas’

  • Peter Higgins was born in Dewsbury and has been living in London since 1994.  His short stories and articles have appeared in Tales of the Decongested, PenPusher and Litro.  His situation comedies won the second prize in the world-famous Sitcom Trials two years in a row.

Issue Seven London Writers’ Cafe Author – Tom Wood, author of ‘The Three Essential Lessons

  • Tom’s fiction has, so far, comprised mainly short stories.  These surreal, macabre and satirical fables reflect upon existence in all of its absurdities.  They can be psychedelic fairytales, black comedy or Grand Guignol.  Their themes are universal, their allegories often subversive.  They can be light or dark … and both. Tom has also written and produced a play – Mary –  a visceral look at the relationships between science, religion and sexuality.  This was staged at The Tristan Bates Theatre, London. Tom is currently working on the post-production of his short film  –  Relinquished & Volatile – a quirky comedy-drama directed by music-video and documentary maker Adam Ryzman. Tom’s portrait by M. McDaid Photography.

Issue Six Cover Author – Tadhg Muller, author of ‘In Lieu of a Memoir’

  • Tadhg Muller grey up in Tasmania, but now lives in South London (forever Down Under), where the logic of the times has reduced him to an ‘odds and ends man’. Tadhg has written since his early twenties and he is currently finishing up the first draft of a novel.

Issue Six Author – Jacqueline Downs, author of ‘Red’

  • Jacqueline Downs is a writer and editor living in Crystal Palace, London. Her short stories have been published in magazines and on the internet, and read at many events, including Liars’ League, Storytails, White Rabbit’s Are You Sitting Comfortably? and Story Studio. She is a regular contributor to the women’s literary website For Books’ Sake and tells true stories of debauchery and misery at Spark London. In May 2012 she read in Manchester as a finalist in the Bad Language national flash fiction competition and has a story in Stations (Arachne Press, November 2012). A collection of her writing can be found at http://jacquelinedownsisreadingandwriting.wordpress.com

Issue Six Author – Caroline Hardman, author of ‘Breaking the Duck’

  • Caroline Hardman has tried her hand at song-writing, comedy writing and technology journalism but now writes mainly fiction – something she has been doing for the last two or three years.  Her stories have been read at Storytails and she has contributed to an anthology due for publication later this year.  Born and raised in Western Australia, she moved to London ten years ago and has been falling in love with the city ever since.

Issue Five Cover Author – Xanthi Barker, author of ‘Love In The Time of Ketamine’

  • Xanthi Barker is a writer and illustrator (providing the front cover illustration of this issue) living in London. Her stories have appeared in The Scribe and The Cadaverine. She has also written features for Spike Magazine, Time Out and London Confidential.

Issue Five Author – Jamie Collinson, author of ‘Inherent Sick’

  • Jamie Collinson grew up in Leeds, dividing his time between accompanying his father on rural pursuits and various, more urban pastimes. He moved to London in 1998 to study English at King’s College. He is currently Label Manager of Big Dada Recordings, the best label in the world. He loves walking up hills in Scotland, and is trying to love London nightlife a little less. He has written about music and fiction for the Guardian blog, and for Clash, Flux and Blowback magazines. Fiction is very much his premier passion, and his favourite writers are William T Vollmann, Bret Easton Ellis, Thomas Pynchon, Evelyn Waugh, Alan Warner and David Foster Wallace.

Issue Five Author – David Gill, author of ‘Mother’s Day’

  • David Gill has had stories published in numerous magazines, he is from Cardiff, lives in Hackney and for the past 15 years has worked with vulnerable people in Brixton. He’s taking a break from that to write something a little longer.

Issue Five Author – Remie Purtill-Clarke, author of ‘Ice Cream Robbery of Sherkin Island’

  • Remie Purtill-Clarke started out as an actress after training at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin. Inspired by reading other people’s scripts, she decided to start writing her own. The Ice-Cream Robbery of Sherkin Island is her first tiny play. She has co-written a screenplay with a fellow actress that is in the early stages of pre-production. She has also written a currently unpublished novel, The Glass Door, about the clashing interior and exterior worlds of a damaged young girl. Remie works a day job as a voice over artist, and is best known as the voice of Ireland’s biggest national radio station, RTE 2FM. She lives in East London where she divides her time between writing, baking, and recording voice overs in her studio.

Issue Four Cover Author – Kate Ellis, author of ‘Lazylegs’

  • After writing her dissertation, Kate Ellis realised writing was important to her and has been doing it ever since. She has done several short writing courses, is writing a novel in November and attends a weekly writing workshop. She also works in a bookshop, draws and etches. She lives in London. Website: www.katesmalleyellis.com

Issue Four Author – Darren Lee, author of ‘The Grudge Elephant’

  • Darren Lee lives and works in London. He is a regular contributor to www.musicOMH.com and his stories have been performed at Liars’ League and published in the 50 Stories For Pakistan anthology. His influences range from Haruki Muarakami to Ian Fleming and like most fledgling writers he is currently plotting the novel to end all novels.

Issue Four Author – Alexandra Mohlenhoff, author of ‘Languages’

  • Alexander Mohlenhoff, originally from New York City, moved to London at 19 to complete her BA in English Literature at Middlesex University. She now specialises in short stories after obtaining her MA in Creative and Professional Writing from Roehampton University. Her work captures quirky relationships and intriguing storylines in urban settings described in a subtle, delicate way. She has won an array of awards including a Random House Artist Recognition Scholarship and the Roehampton Agents Shortlist Prize, 2009. She is currently working on her debut book collection of short stories.

Issue Four Author – Jakeb Smith, author of ‘Tube’

  • Jakeb H. Smith flits between Melbourne and East London as his Visa permits. The Sydney-born writer is a music journalist by trade and still haunts the pages at www.ravemagazine.com.au, where he spent a number of years editing. He starts a Diploma in Creative Writing at Melbourne University in the new year.

Issue Three Cover Author – Eddie Willson, author of ‘Stories’

  • Eddie Willson is alive and well and living in Deptford. In real life he’s a library assistant as well as doing voluntary advice work.  His short stories have appeared in numerous magazines in the UK and the USA. Stories was long-listed for the Bridport Prize.

Issue Three Author – Morgan Omotoye, author of ‘Butchered Time’

  • My parents took me to do battle with a Chinese vampire when I was eight. Things went badly. Bone shards from father’s skull splintered into my left eyeball and mother lost her sword arm. As I write these lines, with father’s butterfly blade by my side, I can’t help but wonder if this is what mother had in mind when she taught her skills to me. Stories she told me have appeared in various magazines.

Issue Two Cover Author – Anna Harvey, author of ‘Pure Fields’

  • Anna Harvey lives with her family and large shoe collection in Hackney, London (UK). Her musical background has guided her through several bands, and she works for a record label, hoping to learn the secret of actually making money from it. She is currently writing a novel and a collection of short stories, one of which has plans to be a mini opera. Anna is also a keen amateur photographer, generally available via Google but not to be confused with the equestrian centre or wedding photographer. Anna is of course now a member of the Open Pen team. Find out more at harveyanna.wordpress.com

Issue Two Author – Adam Caleb, author of ‘Day of Days’

  • Adam Caleb is an American/German, born in Portugal, living here and there in Europe. He has been in England for nine years, and London for three – currently squatting – and has whittled down his ‘partakings’ in London’s finest to whiskey and marijuana. He has never before been published, smokes American Spirit cigarettes and cannot remember ever feeling better than he does currently (whilst still paralysed by general anxiety).

Issue One Cover Author – James King, author of ‘The Giant Tree’

  • James King is a London born recreational writer. While studying film at university he developed a taste for creative writing through editing screenplays. This is his first attempt at children’s adventure writing. His influences in this genre include Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.

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