Outré Angst

Issue Thirteen is out Friday 13th February. No coincidence, we’re sure. The stories inside are hopefully some of the more surreal and arresting we’ve published.

The cover story The Boy Who Bit His Nails is penned by the succinct and stirring writer that is Max Sydney Smith. His piece is one of those glistening solitaires that leapt out of the submissions pile and into the cover spot with unbridled ease. Max writes with a brevity and immediacy that is as rare as it is a gratifying read. He’s already read for us at an Open Pen event. But we’ve got him again for those that missed out the first time. You can check him out and pick yourself up an advance copy of Issue Thirteen by coming down to Open Pen LIVE this Sunday in Limehouse, London. More details at the bottom of this page.

Also in Issue Thirteen, which we’ve tried to make as weird and thirteeny as possible, you’ll find new writers in the form of Leighton Critchley, Benjamin Wolfe, Tomoe Hill, David Turner, Mat Woolfenden. It’s a particular joy that over half of the writers we’ve got in Issue Thirteen hadn’t submitted to us before, and a couple of them have only started writing seriously recently. Enjoy their rum tales of misfortune. New pens often make for new perspectives. N Quentin Woolf weaves a tale of his own in his regular feature, it’s as uniquely piquant as always, and our resident and barren donkey Piers Pereira checks into a new bookshop in E11 and gives us the inside scoop on the changing face of bookshops.

The Pigeonhole was one of the most exciting things to happen in the word of fiction and publishing last year, we thought, throwing it’s weight behind its belief in sincere, fun and intellectual fiction writing, with a modern platform that turned more than a few heads. Anna Jean Hughes is the founder and editorial director, and her guest editorial in this edition of Open Pen is as blunt and appropriate in 2015 as the whys of how Pigeonhole came to be in the first place (of which you’ll read when you pick up a copy).

This issue feels like we’re taking a new direction. That’s fairly deliberate, sure, but we’ve alway felt that this is the magazine we’d end up making whether we liked it or not. Don’t take our word for it. Come and see us at our launch and take in these new writers. Support new writers! Support Open Pen. Check here for tickets.

Open Pen LIVE takes place at the Jamboree, Cable Street, Limehouse, East London, next Sunday at 7pm. We’ve got a short play, literary comedy, Beat jazz, poetry, fiction readings, and an open mic spot for anyone wishing  to lend us their prose/verse (more details here). But do feel free to contact us at info@openpen.co.uk with any questions.

Here’s some more about the fiction writers you’ll find in Open Pen:

max sydney smith bio pic

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 . He is currently working on a short novel detailing the life and opinions of a Greek communist.

His website address is maxsydneysmith.com



mat woolfenden pic-for-Open Pen

Son of a computer technician, Mat was raised in the Netherlands, Iran, North Devon, married in Walthamstow and retired to Brighton at the age of 42. He may be an acquired taste, an eccentric voice, yet Matthew perseveres in prose. He seeks to establish himself a network for the narrations with which he made his debut back at the Brighton Arts Club. This Fringe festival event 2014 explored female sexuality, and that night and spotlit, Mat read them his ‘Red Hot, The Lady Electric, a Midnight Collection.’ Much encouraged by his survival, he hopes to continue in a similar vein and is completely excited by his discovery of a vibrant writing scene here at the Open Pen. To date, Mat is published in Hobo Pancakes, USA and Wasafiri. He drafts, larks about at http://www.drysailorboy.wordpress.com where invitations for storytelling and chat are always welcome.

David Turner Open PenDavid Turner (pictured, left) is a GP working in West London. He enjoys fiction writing in his spare time and has previously written a regular opinion column for Doctor magazine and other weekly medical publications.

Leighton Critchley (unpictured) has been published previously in Smoke a London Peculiar and The Copperfield Review. She won one of three prizes in her University’s annual creative writing competition last year, judged by novelist Bethan Roberts.

Tomoe Hill (unpictured) lives and writes in a converted lunatic asylum near London. Her most recent short stories have featured in The Stockholm Review of Literature and Minor Literature(s).

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