Features

20/20? ‘Visions’

Letters are visions into the past. Something the world seems to have moved beyond, replacing them with instant communication that has at once pulled us all closer together but pushed us further apart as well. Looking fondly back at the past is a global human past-time, I know I am guilty of it, but the opposite side of the coin is looking forward – something that can be just as important and cathartic.  

‘Ink, Sweat, and Tears’

When my father was twelve years old, he used to work at a paper mart. He spoke only in his mother tongue, Gujrati. Although English wasn’t his first language, he was determined to master it. He couldn’t afford to buy books in English and those were rare to come by in the rural town of Jamnagar in Gujarat. In his spare time between sorting out old magazines and stacking newspapers, he would sit down with a tattered copy of ‘The Great Gatsby’ and attempt to learn.  

Mslexia: For Women Who Write 

It was ten years ago when I first picked up a copy of Mslexia. At the volatile age of 17, I was just starting to stretch into the world of writing – scrawling angst poems on coffee cups, napkins, the sole of my shoe. I didn’t know how to turn my dreams of being a writer-turned-millionaire into anything real or concrete, and well-meaning teachers had no idea which direction to point me in.  

‘Dear Damsels’ may be in distress, but they don’t need saving 

Whenever I read the word damsel, I’m instantly transported to the year 1999. There I am sat in front of the tv, eating a plate of – now extinct – turkey dinosaurs, watching another episode of Scooby Doo where, yet again, Daphne finds herself dangling from a tall structure, waiting to be rescued by one of the male leads. But, while Daphne is the ultimate damsel in distress, the voices emitting from ‘Dear Damsels’ could not be further from this notion.

‘Bandit Fiction’: A Digital Trip to the Library

As a lover of everything literary, I grew up on regular weekend visits to the local library. Some of my fondest childhood memories feature my sisters and I, sleepy-eyed on a Saturday morning, our mum having just let us loose amongst the bookshelves, before convening in a quiet spot at the back of the building to devour our findings. 

Sending Letters into Silence: A Conversation with Clare Pollard

“In many ways a letter and a poem are very, very similar things.”

As the summer heatwave rages on, I have chosen today to sit in front of the screen and chat with poet and author Clare Pollard about writing in translation, feminist letters, and epistolary poetry of past and present.

Letters to Mom

This year, I moved to the United Kingdom to pursue a Masters at the University of Nottingham, and since starting my undergraduate studies and spending two terms abroad, leaving has come to feel like an inevitability. The constant ache of homesickness, the hopeless juggling of time differences, is something I’ve come to accept. But when I feel the 3296 miles of distance, I know to write to my mother.

Video Calling is Not Enough

With the clang of a packet being pushed into a tiny slot and the bang of it falling on the floor, the long wait ended. I rushed to the front door, and I saw my name beautifully written in blue ink against the white package, while my sister’s name, occupying the upper left corner of the shipping label, was drawn in an equally artful way.

If Not Now, Then When: A Conversation with Duncan Wallace

When Duncan Wallace appears on the other side of the screen on a day in early July, his greeting arrives from the near future. For the curious, no, Duncan has not been engaged in the subtle art of time travelling, a la Doctor Who.

Postcards From Vienna

The first thing I ever bought from Vienna was a postcard. It was November of 2014 and having decided that nineteen was a good age for this specific young individual to start experiencing the wonders of this specific world all on her own, I set out to do just that. Just me, myself, and what experience those nineteen years could afford me.

An Ode to the Letter

Letter writing — it’s a phrase that feels like a thing of the past, like VHS, or cassette tape, or rotary phone. There are now entire generations who don’t know what it feels like to receive a real letter in the post, let alone write one.

Australian Memories — in conversation with Evie Wyld

‘I didn’t decide to be a writer. I still haven’t really decided to be a writer.’

It’s a cloudy December 2019 afternoon in a quiet corner of Peckham, before COVID-19 was headline news. Around us, the oblivious bustle of café Petitou would in mere months be a thing of the past.

In Conversation with Nay Saysourinho

‘Writing is a lens more than a thing you do,’ Nay Saysourinho says, through a video screen. We are sitting behind our screens in England and Greece as she talks to us from her house on the outskirts of New Haven, Connecticut.