New literary magazine with an international vocation

The new literary magazine ‘Fictionable’ launches on June 27 with short works including graphic fiction and translation.

A detail from Isabel Greenberg’s graphic novel ‘Containment’ in the opening edition of the British literary magazine ‘Fictionable’. Image: courtesy of Fictionable

By Porter Anderson, Editor | @Porter_Anderson

“Specially commissioned short fiction”

In England, Richard Lea—whom you may remember as an editor of books at the Guardian for 15 years – alerted Publication prospects at the Monday opening of his new literary magazine with internationalist ambitions.

Among his backers he cites Neil Gaiman, Bernardine Evaristo, Kamila Shamsie, Cory Doctorow, and publishers such as Vintage and Jonathan Cape of Penguin Random House, and Amistad of HarperCollins.

fictional is described as a quarterly that publishes “specially commissioned short fiction films from around the world, bringing diverse writers from around the world to a global audience”. The project intends to expand its footprint, as Lea puts it, having received crowdfunding support from donors “from Berlin to British Columbia and from Auckland to Paris.”

Lea, now editor-in-chief at Oneworld, is associated with the production fictional by writer and editor Rachel Aspden and audio producer Esther Opoku Gyeni. References to upcoming audio items refer to planned author interview podcasts, still in development. Subscriptions cost £20 per year for four issues (US$24.50). Donors to the crowdfunding call— which raised £15,248 (US$18,712) — get a free first-year subscription with a donation of £15 or more.

The magazine promises a story in translation in each issue and, likewise, a new graphic each quarter, as well as text entries.

In the opening edition of ‘Fictionable’

The contributors to the first edition of ‘Fictionable’ are, top from left, Alain Mabanckou (image: Caroline Blanche Pointe); Helen Stevenson; and Isabelle Greenberg. And in the lower row, Ladee Hubbard; Sarah Room; and Owen Booth. Images: courtesy of Fictionable

In the first edition published on Monday, the translated entry is a story set in New Orleans, “My cousin from America,by Congolese-born writer Alain Mabanckou, who teaches literature at UCLA in the United States. It is translated by Helen Stevenson whose own Instructions for visitors: Life and love in a French town (Simon & Schuster, 2018) can ring a bell.

She was shortlisted for the 2017 International Booker Prize (then Man) for her translation of Mabanckou. black moses (Snake Tail, 2017).

Isabel Greenberg is the First Edition Graphic Story Contributor, author of three graphic novels: The Early Earth Encyclopedia, The Hundred Nights of the Heroand City of glass.

In Monday’s inaugural edition, her story is titled “Containment”, described as being about “birth and bewitchment”.

Also in the first edition:

  • Sarah Hall with the story of a “woman on the verge of a desperate act”. This one’s called “Be Good”
  • Ladee Hubbard has a story in the first edition titled “Tupperware”
  • Author Owen Booth is featured in the new magazine with ‘The Things They Don’t Talk About’, described as an examination of male frailty

Authors whose work is set to appear in the magazine’s second edition, Lea says, include Maaza Mengiste, Tahmima Anam and Adania Shibli.

A detail from Isobel Greenberg’s graphic novel ‘Containment’ in the opening edition of the British literary magazine ‘Fictionable’. Image: courtesy of Fictionable


More on Publishing Perspectives news is here, more on literary magazines is here, more on the UK publishing market is here, more on graphic fiction is here, and more on translation is here.

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About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident member of Trends Research & Advisory, and was named International Business Journalist of the Year at the London Book Fair’s International Excellence Awards. He is editor of Publishing Perspectives. He was previously associate editor of The FutureBook at The Bookseller in London. Anderson was a senior producer and anchor for CNN.com, CNN International and CNN USA for more than a decade. As an art critic (National Critics Institute), he has collaborated with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which is now owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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