So Issue Nine is upon us, slap-bang in the middle of Summer.
To me, musically, Summer has always been soundtracked by certain artists, none more so than the Penguin Cafe Orchestra. So it’s to my childish delight that Arthur Jeffes of Penguin Cafe fame presides over our guest editorial spot.
Also on the card is a familiar face in Darren Lee. Darren’s Grudge Elephant made its way into Issue Four last year, but not satisfied with one bite of our Open Pen, Darren submitted Hunter Gatherers to us a few months back. The story is every bit as delightful and playful as the Grudge Elephant, which, since publication, has gained a lot of praise from Open Pen followers. Hunter Gatherers follows Lexuc, a caveman and wordsmith.
“Big-hairy-thing-we-hunt-with-pointy-sticks-and-tastes-nice!” shouted the next.
Lexuc went to smile but instead belched loudly. The fruity guff echoed around the clearing and sounded to the tribe like a new word in itself: “Bison!”
“We like Bison!” they all said. They immediately began to try out the word in as many sentences as possible; bison is tasty, bison is hairy, unfortunately my father was trampled on by some bison, et cetera.
Also in attendance is London’s Ian Green with children’s adventure piece Haar, Toronto-based Daniel Rouse with a character study in the form of Assessment, Liam Hogan with Big Fish, and Will Ashon, writer of the best microfiction we’ve come across (seriously, check out Shorter).
Issue Nine is dressed in bottle green and so you’ll notice everything we do turn a bit green now. It’ll be in a shop near you the weekend after next, or the one following that (erm, the 17th or 24th of August) depending on where you live. Keep an eye on us for confirmation of delivered stock. As always, if you’re going to a bookshop specifically for an Open Pen, it’s always nice, should you have the budget for such things, to pick up a book whilst you’re there. These bookshops do more than just sell books, they provide exposure to ideas and inspiration communities might not acquire otherwise. There’d be a huge hole in our communities without them.