Dear Bookish Friends,
I hope this letter finds you well. Have you read anything good lately? I have and I think it is something you really need to know about.
Doesn’t that make you excited? Oh what can it be? What can it be? Would you believe a new literary journal? And would you believe it is all written in letters? The Letters Page is published by the school of English at the University of Nottingham. They have thus far produced two issues and you can download them for free at the link above.
I had heard about them a number of months ago before they even published their first issue and then I forget about them. But my friend Cath emailed me the PDF of the first issue when it was published thereby reminding me and making me really happy. I let it sit for awhile being busy reading other things, but over this last weekend I finally read the first issue and then immediately went and downloaded the second issue, joined their mailing list and followed them on Twitter and Tumblr. I’ve not finished the second issue yet but I am enjoying it very much.
The journal is all letters. Letters as story, as memoir, as whatever one can do with a letter. And the journal editors get happy with footnotes, but don’t worry, they are fun/funny/enlightening notes that add to the pleasure of the letter. As in footnote number two in the letter from Magnus Mills:
It’s worth noting here that a significant proportion of the letters we received for this issue featured prominent apologies; for poor handwriting, for not coming to a conclusion, for not having fully understood the submission guidelines. (Hint: a guideline is not a rule.) And this editor has noticed, in a recent revival of personal correspondence- by-post, how easily people feel the burden
of letter writing. ‘I’m sorry I haven’t replied sooner,’ our letters all seem to begin, in the tone of a muttering student handing in a late assignment. Dear readers and fellow letter- writers, don’t be so burdened! Write, or don’t write, but enjoy it when you do. It’s nice to reply to a letter, but there’s no need to turn
it into a chore; after all, if there’s a message that can’t wait, you can always send an email. (Remember email?) One of our editorial board members, the poet and publisher Éireann Lorsung, puts it very well: ‘A letter,’ she tweeted recently, ‘is not a system of debt.’
A letter is not a system of debt, I like that.
Submissions are to be handwritten and sent through the post. The letters that make it into the journal are typed for easy reading, but they also include an image of all or part of the handwritten letter. And anyone can send a letter submission. How cool is that?
Since I am on the topic of letters, if you have found yourself missing the getting and sending of mail lately, you can join in a letter/card exchange hosted by The Estella Society. (via Iliana). You can sign up for 1, 3, or 5 letters and have until January 20th to do it, so don’t wait! You have to write a letter to get a letter!
Take care, be well, and happy reading.