After spending the last two months or so immersed in poems and short stories about journeys, we thought it time to embark on some journeys of our own. A couple of poems in particular from the forthcoming issue inspired us to dust off the passports and make a run for the skies, so as a result, Popshot will be on holiday for the next 2 weeks. That's not to say that everything will close down completely, we'll still be keeping on top of all correspondence, just a little slower than usual. However, all orders will be sent out upon our return so keep that in mind when subscribing or ordering single issues. If you can't bear to wait for 2 weeks for a printed edition to arrive, you can always download the Popshot app which contains every issue we've ever made.
WANTED: YOUNG SOHO WRITER IN RESIDENCE
February 5th 2014
Here's an exciting opportunity for a London-based writer aged 18-30. IdeasTap and Spread The Word are looking for an experienced short fiction writer or poet to be Soho Writer in Residence for the London-wide Cityread campaign during April of this year. The successful writer will receive a £5000 payment, a mentor, and a series of commissions based on Soho which will be arranged by Spread The Word. The deadline for applications is on February 12th at 12pm, so if you're interested in being involved, you can read more over at IdeasTap. One week and counting...
THE JOURNEYS' END
January 29th 2014
After almost 8 weeks of being open for literary submissions, and another 4 days of rigorous shortlisting, we have now selected the final 24 pieces of writing that will form our forthcoming Journeys issue. It was another blinding example of the breadth and quality of the work being written today and despite almost drowning in submissions on more than one occasion, it was a joy from start to finish.
The authors whose work has made it in will have received a note of acceptance from us by now. If you submitted but haven't received one, apologies for not being able to be more personal with you and thanks again for submitting to us. We appreciate the time and effort that goes into every submission that we receive so if you didn't make it in this time, there's always our next submissions opening which begins on June 1st. We don't yet know what the theme will be, but we'll keep you furnished with details.
In the meantime, if you would like to get a better idea of the work we publish, you can subscribe from £10 a year, or read every issue we've ever made for just £2.99 courtesy of the Popshot app.
SELLING IPADS WITH THAT SPEECH FROM DEAD POETS' SOCIETY
January 15th 2014
Only a few blog posts ago (although it was back in November) we wrote a short musing on the slight irony of poetry being used in advertising. Since then a few more examples have cropped up although none quite as overt as this one from Apple. Borrowing from one of Robin Williams' many inspirational speeches from the film, Dead Poets' Society, the words have been recycled to encourage people not to write poetry, but to invest in an iPad Air. Shameless? Probably. Nice to hear Robin Williams' dulcet tones again? Definitely. Check it out above and see what it stirs in you.
LITERARY SUBMISSIONS FOR THE JOURNEYS ISSUE (A REMINDER)
January 3rd 2014
With the frenzy of Christmas and New Year beginning to fade, we're now just 3 weeks away from submissions deadline day for our 'Journeys' issue. So if your New Year's resolution is to start getting your writing into the pages of literary magazines, and you have a journey-themed piece in your repertoire that you haven't yet sent in to us, we'd love to hear from you.
If you've already submitted your poetry or short fiction - fear not, your submissions are already under consideration. However, to those of you who haven't yet submitted but fully intend to, here's a reminder to get your writing in to us before January 25th.
A little tip: we've now received more than our fair share of poems and short stories that take place on public transport, but there has been a distinct lack of work that has looked at the theme from a more metaphorical angle. The theme leaves itself wide open for diverse interpretation so feel free to think outside the transport box! For the complete submissions guidelines, head to our submit page.
THE GREAT CHRISTMAS WIND DOWN
December 20th 2013
There's a high chance that by now, most of you will have noticed that Christmas is upon us. If you haven't, Daniel Mitchell's illustration above should give the game away. You might also notice that the penguin's festive themed jumper cleverly incorporates a couple of the graphics in our festive themed logo. Can't argue with that.
So this is just a little note to say that although we'll be winding down for the Christmas period, we'll still be sending out orders and subscriptions as usual, and keeping on top of literary submissions for our next issue on the theme of 'Journeys'. If you have a literary masterpiece up your sleeve that you haven't sent in to us yet, the holidays might be a fine time to perfect it before catapulting it into our inbox. If you want to find out more, take a trip to our submit page.
A very Merry Christmas to you all, enjoy the downtime, eat as much as you possibly can, and we'll see you in 2014!
The charity auction has secured close to 100 prints donated by leading contemporary illustrators and designers including Mr Bingo, Patternity, Hvass&Hannibal, the Peepshow Collective and Nous Vous. So, if you would like to get your hands on some beautiful illustration prints whilst helping contribute to a truly valuable cause, head over to the Grand Kind Haiyan Print Auction website. All auctions will be ending over the course of this week from today until Saturday 14th December, with all proceeds going to the Philippines Typhoon Appeal.
WE'VE GONE A BIT CHRISTMAS
December 6th 2013
Although the onslaught of Christmas is usually met with heavy groans - especially in cynical old Britain - we're fairly sizable fans of the festive season and everything that comes along with it. So, with just 19 days left until the big day, we've decided to hop on the baubled bandwagon and allowed ourselves to go a bit 'Christmas'. With that, the Popshot website has been subtly slapped around the face with red and white, and we're shamelessly taking it as an opportunity to remind you that Popshot would make for a great Christmas present.
So if you're wondering what to get for that friend or family member who loves their poetry, short fiction, illustration, or any combination of the three, the answer might be at our single issues or subscribe page. Overseas orders will need to be placed in the next few days to guarantee delivery before December 25th, whilst UK orders can be placed all the way up until December 20th.
Illustration above by Sanna Mander
LITERARY SUBMISSIONS FOR ISSUE 11: JOURNEYS
December 2nd 2013
That's right folks, the long wait is over. After weeks of media speculation and a number of attempted break-ins to Popshot HQ to find out the news first, we can now announce the theme for our 11th issue. With that, the doors for literary submissions have been dramatically flung open and we are now ready to read your short fiction and poetry on the theme of 'Journeys'.
As usual, we wanted to keep the theme fairly expansive - something that could provide the breadth of interpretation that Popshot has become known for, whilst maintaining a sense of cohesion. Whilst much of our time is spent focusing on the destinations that we intend to reach, more often than not it's the journeys that we take in getting there that provide us with our best observations, learnings, and stories. This is what we want to focus on this issue: the journeys that we take in life and the marks that those journeys leave us with.
To make sure that you're familiar with the submissions guidelines, take a trip to our submit page. We've made one change to the guidelines this issue, upping the maximum word count for short fiction from 2,000 words to 3,000 words. We can't wait to read your literary gems over the next 8 weeks, and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to throw them at us. Get set, go.
TONGUE FU VS ANTI SLAM
November 28th 2013
We've mentioned Tongue Fu a number of times on this blog over the years, watching it grow into a pretty established event that has managed to recruit some excellent talent whilst not taking itself too seriously. Their upcoming night is testament to that, packing a splendid array of wordsmiths into one room and getting them to battle it out under the guise of an anti-slam. They've even recruited Bang Said The Gun creator, Dan Cockrill, to guest judge the whole messy affair. It should be a corker so if you're in East London on December 6th, definitely get down there.
POETRY IN ADVERTISING
November 25th 2013
Considering poetry's general lack of commerciality in the 21st century (the story may have been different in centuries gone by although there's not much evidence for it) we're endlessly fascinated to see poetry being used for commercial gain. There's something rather ironic, and oxymoronic, about the idea of one of the wealthiest industries turning to one of the more impoverished ones in order to help them make more money. Ultimately, emotion sells - you only have to look at John Lewis TV ads to see what value a lip-trembling campaign can provide - and when it comes to art forms dealing in strong emotions, poetry is perhaps one of the finest.
So it was with great interest that we discovered Popshot-published poet, Hollie McNish, had been picked up by Dove to write a couple of poems on self esteem. The results are Smile and Big Smacking Kiss, two poems that in classic Hollie McNish style help to question some of the conventions that come along with our modern society. Go and have a good listen to them and after you've done that, check out a few more TV ads that used poetry (some of it recent, some of it not, some of it good, some of it not) to help sell their wares:
The last time we slashed the price of Popshot was when we launched our 'Broken Biscuits' idea over 3 years ago, where we sold off damaged copies of Popshot for half price. It was a roaring success and nearly 150 copies that were destined for a life unread went to good homes.
Roughly 1000 days later, and we're doing it again. Except this time, the copies aren't damaged, and there's no real reason for doing it except that we'd rather have Popshot on our reader's shelves than on our own. The catch? You only have 5 days before they go back to full price, so if you've been wanting to build your collection but haven't been feeling overly flush, now is your golden moment. Head to our single issues page before the close of play on Sunday to take full advantage.
Update: The Modern Living Issue, The Power Issue, and The Imagination Issue have all sold out.
November 15th 2013
Entering into its second year, Interrobang is a small festival of spoken word, music, theatre and comedy held in the heart of Farringdon, London. Operating between The Betsey Trotwood - where live acts such as Inua Ellams, Jacob Sam-La Rose and Siddartha Bose will be - and Free Word - where the book/magazine fair is going to be held - it's shaping up to be a great little festival. To get hold of your tickets for a rather minor £7, head to the Interrobang website, and in return for your commitment, you'll be able to pick up a copy of Popshot from Free Word for the grand price of nothing. That's right - buy a ticket to Interrobang and you can get your own copy of Popshot to keep forever, for free. Can't say much fairer than that. See you there!
TASCHEN'S 100 ILLUSTRATORS
November 12th 2013
When it comes to books on contemporary illustration, perhaps some of the finest ones come from art book publisher, TASCHEN. Their Illustration Now! series, edited by Julius Wiedemann, has become the go-to for finding a wide array of illustration talent from around the world. Well, that and Popshot of course...
Due for release in December - just in time for Christmas - their new book entitled 100 Illustrators aims to pinpoint 100 of the most significant illustrators working in the field who have left their mark on the world of illustration over the last decade or so. Pulling from 600 possible illustrators that have been featured in the Illustration Now! series, the book is set in two volumes and explores each of the chosen illustrators across a whopping 640 pages. Lovely to see Mydeadpony featured, who illustrated a poem in our third issue and whose print you can buy from our Print Shop.
To pre-order your copy of TASCHEN's latest illustration compendium, head to their website.
THE COMPLETE ILLUSTRATIONS OF ISSUE 10
November 7th 2013
In an ongoing attempt to show off some of the epic illustration work that graces every issue of Popshot, we've now posted all of the illustrations from our latest issue - The Wild Issue - on our Pinterest page. Go and get your eyeballs on a collection of visual gems, and if you want to read the fiction and poetry that they were inspired by, you can pick up a copy of the Wild issue at our single issues page.
THE NEW AMBIT MAGAZINE
November 1st 2013
Whilst many literary magazines have come and gone in recent times, Ambit Magazine is one of the longest-standing of them all. Founded in 1959 by Martin Bax, the magazine has been a part of Britain's literary culture for 54 years, with Martin holding down the editorship for its entire lifespan - a true feat by anyone's standards. However, with the launch of its 214th issue, the magazine is now turning over a very new leaf with the editorship being handed over to Briony Bax. Daughter of the late Adrian Mitchell, and a distant relative of Martin Bax, she takes the helm along with a new, young editorial board, and a fresh determination to seek out new voices. Subsequently, the magazine has been redesigned, the art section has been expanded, and Ambit now has a new website as well.
It's a real joy to see such an established magazine still going strong and looking to the future. To ensure that it remains in our literary culture for another 54 years, go and support them by buying a copy of the new issue, subscribing, or becoming an 'Ambit Angel'. It's probably worth it for that cover alone...
A QUESTION FOR OUR READERS
October 30th 2013
Just over a year ago we asked our readership what they thought of the descriptive notes that accompanied each poem at the bottom of each page of Popshot. The subsequent answers led us to put the descriptive notes at the back of the magazine in an 'Endnotes' section - a subtle change that to our minds helped make the magazine that little bit better.
Now we're turning to you again, this time on the subject of each issue being themed, and we're intrigued to know what you think of it. Are you more interested to read an issue if it's centred on a particular theme or do some themes actually put you off? Do you like the idea of all of the pieces tying together or would you rather have a broader array of poems and short stories, free from any constraint?
We would love to hear your opinions, whether you're an avid subscriber, an occasional reader, or someone who's never actually picked up a copy before. To let us know your opinions, head to our Facebook page and comment on this post, or if you're not on Facebook, drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
THE BOOK ILLUSTRATION COMPETITION
October 23rd 2013
The Book Illustration Competition - a collaboration between House of Illustration and The Folio Society which aims to champion the art of book illustration - is opening up for submissions for its fourth year running. The book to be illustrated in this year's competition is Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, with the winning entry gaining a prestigious commission worth £5,000 to complete a total of 9 illustrations and a binding design for the book, which will be published by The Folio Society in September 2014. If you're interested in taking part, find out more information at the competition website.
A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE
October 16th 2013
Now that the miniature frenzy surrounding the release of The Wild Issue has died down, we wanted to take you on a short stroll through some of the pages of Issue 10. We've added a few more spreads to our look inside page, meaning you can now read 3 poems and 4 short fiction pieces in their illustrated entirety thanks to the wonder of the webnet. Have a read of them here and to heighten the experience, ensure a piping hot beverage is to hand.
If you like what you see, you can read all of the 24 pieces in this issue - and the hundreds of illustrated poems and stories from every issue we've ever published - by downloading the Popshot app for just £5.50 a year. Or if you want the real printed thing in your hands, subscribe from just £10 a year and get it delivered to your door without having to lift a finger.
DON'T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COLOUR
October 9th 2013
Last week we read a lengthy blog post from the slightly enraged Editor of The Alarmist, Mansour Chow, who after reading a review of Popshot's last issue, called for reviewers to be reviewed. The post raised some very interesting points, the first focusing on the power of reviews to affect people's opinions on something, and the second looking at why visual style and literary substance are ever separated.
Literary magazines have a tendency to come in for a lot of criticism, a surprising convention when you think that most of them are on a mission to get contemporary writing out to as many people as they possibly can. Most of the time this is at the cost of the people who make them, both in time and money. There are a handful of lit mags that make some money but generally they are labours of love with a noble intent: to provide new writers with a platform to get their work out there and hopefully springboard them on to greater things.
Over the years Popshot has received mixed reviews. Increasingly they have become more positive in nature but as you would expect, some of them have been less complimentary. Whilst the first few bad ones smarted a little, thankfully we've grown to now see them as valuable opportunities for critical feedback, taking the considered comments on board and ignoring the ones that appear to be less considered. However, one thing that has come up time and again has been the separation between style and substance - design/image and word - as though the two were not working together but separate entities distracting each other. In literary circles, it sometimes seems that illustration and thoughtful design is perceived to provide a kind of smoke and mirrors effect, as though paying attention to the design must mean a reduction in attention to the actual content. It's a differentiation that isn't made in any creative discipline other than ours, and it's one that has always baffled us. We've always felt that good design and good writing should come hand in hand, with no compromises made on either.
The moral of the short story? Reviewers should continue to review and critique - it's an essential part of helping make things better - but just because a literary magazine is well presented, it shouldn't count against the merit of its content. Don't judge a book by its colour.
POETRY MEETS ART AT THE TATE BRITAIN
October 4th 2013
Thanks to it being the week of National Poetry Day, there's been a frenzy of poetry-related happenings across the country. Perhaps one of the finest things about this week in particular is seeing poetry depart from its usual habitats, and find a home in a whole host of different places. TFL's 'Travel Better London' campaign was one such example, and the latest comes from Tate Britain as they unveil three short poetry films about poetry meeting art.
On November 19th a new Tate Britain will be unveiled. To celebrate, the iconic gallery has collaborated with some of Britain’s leading and emerging creatives, all of whom have been inspired by an art work in the collection. Having previously had cooks and comedians contribute material inspired by the Tate Britain collection, it's now the turn of three poets, George the Poet, Scroobius Pip, and John Hegley. It's a delight to see these three very different poets react to the pieces that grab them the most and then create their ekphrastic responses.
Have a watch of the three short films, then start planning your visit to the new Tate Britain when it's unveiled in a few weeks' time. You could even use it as an opportunity to create your own ekphrastic response...
NATIONAL POETRY DAY
October 3rd 2013
The first few days of October mean two things here at Popshot towers. Firstly, the arrival of a new issue of the magazine, and secondly, the arrival of National Poetry Day. With the first one now safely done and dusted (get hold of your copy here) it's time to focus our attention on the second which is in full swing as we speak.
This year, the theme for the day is 'Water, water, everywhere' and comes accompanied by the rather dreamy animation above. To find out more about events and poetic happenings, head to the National Poetry Day website or simply immerse yourself in a poem or two that you've never read before. What better day to do so than today?
TFL ENLISTS POETRY FOR 'TRAVEL BETTER LONDON' CAMPAIGN
October 2nd 2013
Three weeks ago we mentioned that TFL were on the lookout for Poets in Residence in tube stations across the London Underground during the week of National Poetry Day. Since then, the places have been filled and this week, thirteen London-based poets have been unleashed into tube stations to help bring 'poetiquette' to commuters as part of TFL's Travel Better London campaign.
With the aim of encouraging more considerate behaviour on the London Underground, the Poets in Residence - who include Popshot-published Jacqueline Saphra and Amy Acre - will be bringing daily delight to the station whiteboards, the public announcements, and performing live at the busking spots.
You can meet the poets involved by checking out this video and keep up to date with all happenings, poems, poetry films etc at the Travel Better London Tumblr page. While you're there, have a look at some of the beautiful illustration work done for the campaign by the very brilliant McBess.
ISSUE 10: THE WILD ISSUE - OUT TODAY
October 1st 2013
Our landmark tenth issue - The Wild Issue - officially launches today and we're thrilled to bits to finally see it in the flesh. Leading us into the deepest and darkest depths of the wilderness, the new issue explores the wildness of nature, the wildness of human nature, and everything beyond and in-between. From the fraught retirement years of a lion tamer, to the blind man who struggled to deal with the miracle of sight, to Dominican ghost stories, dystopian ecopoems, and the tale of the man who claimed he was raised by wolves - the Wild issue is a riotous display of the quality of contemporary writing and illustration.
All pre-orders and subscriber's copies were posted out this morning and will be arriving through letterboxes around the globe in the coming days (or weeks, depending on where you live). If you want to have a little look through some of the pages online, you can do so here, before ordering the real thing at our single issues page, or subscribing from just £10. Digital subscribers will find the new issue on the Popshot app later on today.
September 30th 2013
Just over thirty Popshot-laden boxes containing hundreds of copies of our 'Wild' issue are now lined up and ready to leave Popshot HQ. If you haven't yet ordered yours, get in there today and be one of the first to receive the new issue when it's mailed out tomorrow morning.
NATIONAL POETRY COMPETITION
September 25th 2013
There's just over a month left before deadline day hits on one of the most reputable poetry competitions in the land - the National Poetry Competition. Established in 1978 and run by the Poetry Society, it's one of the world's biggest single-poem poetry competitions with some impressive prize money up for grabs. To be in with a chance of winning £5000 for a poem, head to the entry page and put forward your best words in the best order.
Speaking of prizes, to help spread the word about the competition, the Poetry Society are asking their Facebook readers to photograph the NPC flyers in various parts of the world, with an undisclosed prize up for grabs. Although Maggie Gyllenhaal (pictured) may be tough competition, we reckon you can beat her. Find out more at their Facebook page.
ISSUE 10 - THE COVER
September 18th 2013
The arrival of the new issue of Popshot - our landmark tenth issue - is almost upon us so we're thrilled to release the cover artwork, illustrated by the prolific Sandra Dieckmann. The Wild Issue was sent to print yesterday and is now available to pre-order through our single issues page.
The print edition will launch on October 1st and will become available digitally shortly afterwards, courtesy of the Popshot app. Digital subscribers will receive a notification when the new issue is available.
BOOKS ARE MY BAG
September 13th 2013
We've talked about the future of physical bookselling on this blog many times before, most recently in response to the short film The Last Bookshop back in May. So we're really interested to see the launch of a nationwide campaign entitled Books Are My Bag which aims to celebrate and promote bookshops with the support of some heavyweight publishers, authors and celebrities. With a Books Are My Bag tote bag at the heart of the idea, the simple message encourages readers to display their love and support for local bookshops, and in the process, encourage others to do the same. Over a quarter of a million bags will be distributed from tomorrow until Christmas at over 1,800 chain and independent bookshops from across the UK & Ireland.
Inspired by the precepts of Lord Maurice Saatchi, and devised by bigtime ad agency, M&C Saatchi, the campaign launches tomorrow with the Big Bookshop Party. To get involved, go and visit your local bookshop, join in the party, buy a book, and get hold of a Books Are My Bag tote bag. More details about the campaign can be found at the Books Are My Bag website.
TFL POETS IN RESIDENCE
September 10th 2013
Since 1986, when the first Poems on the Underground posters were placed in advertising spaces on the tube carriages, the London Underground has had something of a strong relationship with poetry. So we were very excited to be contacted by TFL to help them recruit writers to be Poets in Residence in tube stations across the London Underground during the week of National Poetry Day.
The initiative aims to encourage more considerate behaviour on the tube through the use of poetry, and will place 9 poets in 9 major tube stations. Those poets will then write and perform their poetry to the thousands of commuters going through the station during the week with the help of station whiteboards, tannoy announcements, poster sites and busking spots. If this sounds like something you would be interested in being a part of, click on the PDF below to find out more. The deadline for entries is September 20th to the email addresses contained in the PDF. Good luck!!
(UPDATE - entries are now closed)
THREE'S COMPANY: THE ALARMIST & TELLER MAGAZINE
September 4th 2013
There's something about the number three, with a couple of our favourite emerging literary magazines - Teller and The Alarmist - bringing out or having brought out their third issues, both of which look pretty killer. Teller recently launched their long-awaited third issue at Berlin's highly reputable do you read me?! whilst The Alarmist is gearing up for the launch of their third issue on September 14th at The Social. Although we haven't seen them in the flesh yet, if you like supporting burgeoning literary magazines, you might want to pick up a copy of your very own. While you're at it, maybe pick up a copy of our third issue from our single issues page as well and have a literary Issue 3 party...
Old news is old news. For that reason we don't keep the old stuff for very long.
If you want more news, bookmark us and come back again real soon. We'd love that.