Our brand new issue is out today, exploring the theme of hope through a beautiful and bizarre collection of illustrated short fiction and poetry.

We’re delighted to announce that our sixteenth issue, The Hope Issue, is fresh off the press and out now. Nestled within its pages, we'll find a daughter extracting memories from her mother's mind, a couple feasting on slices of rainbow, refugees spreading roots in friendlier lands, a woman who begins to disappear from sight and someone with a small, bright bird inhabiting their chest. To introduce it in a little more detail, here are some words from our editor:

"Despite having been on our list of potential themes for a while, there’s something that feels rather timely about putting out an issue on the theme of hope. When we announced the theme of this issue and opened up for literary submissions, the UK was just three weeks away from the EU referendum vote and Donald Trump was threatening to become the Republican Party’s presidential nominee. By the time submissions closed, the UK had voted to leave the EU and Trump’s threat had become a frightening reality.

Although the mainstream media would probably have you think otherwise, it’s not that these are dark times or that hope is needed any more than it has been in the past. This isn’t the first time we’ve had the threat of a lunatic in charge of a major superpower. Or that the UK and Europe haven’t seen eye to eye politically. Or any other current cause for concern outside of world politics. But for something as inherently timeless as hope, there is something that makes it feel strangely opportune.

Hope treads an intriguing path between darkness and light, pessimism and optimism. It is the ground for believing that something good may happen, typically from a place where goodness hasn’t prevailed. And that dynamic from bad to good, wrong to right, dark to light, is why hope felt like such an important subject to explore.

The result is a collection of poems, short stories and illustrations that, predominantly, champion the moment when the first glimmer of light breaks into the darkness. From Rowan Dent’s May, a poem drawing parallels between nature’s transition from winter to spring and our own, to I Hope This Email Finds You Well, Elizabeth Lovatt’s short story about a person locked in a dark room with no memory of how they got there, the idea of emerging into the light features regularly — in both a literal and metaphorical sense.

Nature is also a prevailing theme. If the pieces in this issue are anything to go by, we look to the natural world when times are tough for a sage reminder of the order of things. Storms always pass, trees shed their leaves then replenish them, and the sun always rises again. In the darkest of times, only hope allows us to see that."

To get your hands on a copy, buy a single issue for £6 + p&p or subscribe from £10 to get The Hope Issue as your initial copy, followed by our next two issues over the coming year, plus free access to our digital edition which contains every issue we've ever published.