The September Issue

First published: Mslexia June 2015

The September Issue: it has a certain resonance to it, especially since the notorious documentary about the Vogue editor Anna Wintour and the massive September issue of the fashion bible. I am no fashionista (I am, in fact, books editor) but the September issue of Mslexia that I have been invited to guest edit will certainly be a bumper one.

I’m not giving away any secrets about what you’ll read in it, but I will say that it should help you make better decisions about how to support your writing and earn more money from it – all good in these cash-strapped times. I will also say that all three of the main features I have commissioned were from pitches made by Mslexia readers: when I met up with Debbie Taylor to discuss what I wanted to do for this issue, I was blown away by the strength of your pitches – I could have filled all 76 pages with great features.

It’s important to mention this because Mslexia prides itself on the close relationship we have with our readers. In fact, it was a founding principal when Debbie set up the magazine and we regard it more as a community than anything else. We love to hear from you, to support and encourage you and to share your highs, lows and vast experience with other readers.

But what about me? You may know me as Mslexia’s books editor, but what about the person? I am writing this at my desk in the small office at the back of my house. It looks out onto a small patch of land that I am trying to turn into a haven for wildlife and Babster, my daughter, and I. Scattered around it are little secrets – a ‘menu’ with Plats du Jour that include love and kindness, and a wall on which a poem by Sarah Salway that was inspired by my daughter is to be painted. In the distance a lawn mower is buzzing across a neighbour’s garden as the sun shines.

My desk is tidy – for me. It’s a mind map of my current projects. Pitch ideas have been printed out and are scattered beside my laptop. By an overgrown money plant is a pile of papers with charts and reports about inclusion and diversity for a speech that I am giving at an event in London next week. I have two computers on my desk (one has my novel on it) besides which are a pile of books, including Kate Grenville’s magnificent biography of her mother and Scarlett Thomas’s new novel The Seed Collectors. Both wonderful. This little fiefdom may look like chaos, but it is order to me.

And from some of it will come the September Issue. September seems a long way off, but I know that the time will flash by. In the meantime I will use the Mslexia blog to give you a few sneak previews of what I am up to, and hope that when you finally read the magazine you’ll find it as enjoyable as I have.

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