1 – 4 – 2023
Chelsey Pippin Mizzi
Anne Marie Corrigan
Galway Dawn Mushrooms
Summer Solstice, 4:53am
a mother’s promise
what gods may we be
Quigley Cryan Brockbank
The Dancing Bears of O’Connell Street
A Familial Duty
The Goblin Market
The Home as a Canvas
Shelton Johnson Calls
Saltwater, or how witchcraft led me to address my guilt and grief
The Nightmare Began When I Woke Up
Live and Learn
Welcome, readers, to Spellbinder’s tenth issue, marking two and a half years since the establishment of our publication. To celebrate this achievement, this editor’s letter will be rather different from our normal reflection on the season and promise of what is to come. Instead, I will ask each member of the current editorial team to answer a specific question related to their experience and role. I hope that this will give you an opportunity to get to know our editors better and hear a more diverse range of voices than mine alone!
Linda – When you co-founded Spellbinder with me in October 2020, did you ever imagine how much we would achieve in developing our magazine for an international readership?
“I am full of pride and gratitude when I think about how our passion project came to be what it is now. Although I do know that this is the product of lots of hard work, I would have never have imagined that this is how popular Spellbinder would become in just 2.5 years. Directing the Spellbinder team alongside Amber has taught me so much about publishing, communicating professionally, marketing, graphic design, and digital illustration. I started Spellbinder as an avenue to pour my love for art and literature into, and I imagine the editors can relate. It has been and it will continue to be soul-nourishing and extremely enjoyable to: support writers and artists in their publishing journeys; collaborate with talented editors across the world that we have been blessed to have as part of our team; read the lovely feedback on some of the issues; see all the countries where copies of the issues have been read in; converse with our social media followers and with lots of other small presses; curate every aspect of the issues that we’ve released; and, last but not least, work with co-founder and EIC Amber, who is just as committed as I am in wanting to see Spellbinder thrive and soar.”
Kate – You were the first person to join Spellbinder after it was established and you have been our wonderful Art Editor since our third issue; what has becoming part of this publishing community meant to you?
“Becoming part of Spellbinder has been such a wonderful journey and one that’s brought me so much joy and inspiration, not only from all of our contributors, but also from our editors, past and present. The creation of each issue is such a rewarding process, from reading the many submissions that come in through the inbox and experiencing little snippets of people’s imagination and creativity, to the conversations that these pieces spark with fellow editors, to holding the newest edition of Spellbinder in my hand and all the work that goes on in between. I feel very lucky to work under our Editor in Chief, Amber, who really values everyone’s contributions and always listens with an attentive ear and an open mind and for all the hard work that she and Linda do. It has been and is always, such a pleasure to be part of this collaboration.
Ned – You joined us following our first birthday; what is the most interesting thing you have learnt about editing over the last year?
“I find it hard to pick just one thing, but a highlight is definitely seeing the sheer range of styles and creative ideas in the works submitted to Spellbinder. It is great to see that there are such a range of imaginations out there. I have also learnt that editing collaboratively is a really joyful process; hearing fellow editors’ thoughts, ideas and perspectives, as well as engaging in the healthy debate that can come with choosing which pieces to publish has taught me so much.”
Bruna – You began editing for Spellbinder just before the publication of our fourth issue, Summer 2021; what is the most fascinating work of fiction you have read in this time?
“The short story I always return to is KJ Tenhouse’s “A Bargaining.” Every time I read it, it shifts; it reveals new sides of itself and plays with different emotions. The second-person narration is fantastically jarring. Tenhouse’s use of surrealism makes the short story a living, breathing organism. The single coffee-house scene thumps with sensory imagery; ambiguity is met with unsettling precision. Tenhouse takes the simplicity of grabbing a coffee and transforms it into an uncanny meditation on memory, familiarity, nostalgia, and reality. “A Bargaining” is a story that reminds me of how much fun fiction can be, how startling and arresting. The story reads as an addictive fever dream – it is fiction at its most exciting.”
Lara – Drama was a new section established for Spellbinder with the help of former editor, Emily, in Summer 2021; having been with us as the Drama Editor for two seasons now, how important do you think it is to include drama as one of our core forms within the magazine?
“There aren’t a huge amount of options to publish scripts, and they can offer such an interesting storytelling medium. It’s a form of literature left unseen but heard to the audience. I’ve been heavily involved in all different sides of theatre and have had the privilege to know some truly talented script writers – I find that it can be a challenge to write but incredibly rewarding. There are so many elements that go into a script: the dialogue, the set, the stage directions, I could talk about it for hours. Drama opens up a new element for showing not telling; a large portion of the scripts are told through dialogue, and there is so much you can do with dialogue alone. I think it’s incredibly important to open up drama as a form of storytelling; it allows us to receive so many more stories than we would without it.”
Doriana – You were a podcast coordinator previously, and have now taken up editing instead; how did you find this switch in roles?
“It’s a more collaborative experience for sure. The podcast was a highly specialised and independent role and I enjoyed the creative freedom it afforded me, but have since discovered that I can find my place within the team better as an editor. I love editing because I get to directly interact with the creative material. The discussions we have as a team can be very challenging because some pieces can be polarising, but these conversations are how we ensure it’s not just a selection, but a meticulous curation.”
Keelan – Having been with us for two seasons, what have you found most inspiring about volunteering for Spellbinder?
“I feel that young people are often boxed into roles which limit their confidence, so my experience with Spellbinder, as an organisation, which actively encourages young creatives to believe in their perspective, has been entirely refreshing. The team has helped me heal from roles which have previously made me doubt the worthiness of my opinion, and I couldn’t be more inspired by the encouragement I’ve received from everyone who works on the publication. The diverse range of submissions we receive, and indeed accept, has also inspired me to reach out in my personal work and try something new. Spellbinder works to support evolution within members of the team alongside external contributors.”
Tod – You are a new member of the team for this issue; what has been the most exciting part of your Spellbinder journey so far?
“Reading everyone’s submissions; seeing the diversity of ideas come through from a variety of different writers; and imagining both the worlds they’ve created and the characters they’ve brought to life has been extremely exciting. I’ve always thought that there is a strange kind of honour which comes from reading other people’s writing. It’s like they’ve invited you into their mind, offered you a cup of tea, and talked you gently into a slumber in front of a warm fire. Reading a published book is fantastic, but reading something raw which can be edited or developed or even rewritten entirely – I think there’s nothing better.”
Ashlynn – Like Tod, you’re very new; what is the most invaluable thing you have learned from other members of the team over the last few weeks?
“The team has helped me to learn how to be open and communicative, and how to separate my own thoughts and opinions apart from others, whilst remaining mindful of different analytical approaches and ideas. To put my critical thoughts out there can feel really scary, but somewhere along the process, I’ve learned that there is no black and white answer all the time when it comes to such processes, and as long as you’re being cooperative and open-minded, it’s not as terrifying as I’d initially thought; there’s a reason I’m here, and that’s to lend my voice to the equation. I’m super impressed by what this team has been bringing, and I’m really glad to be given a chance to learn and grow with them, and hope to become better as I go on.”
Amber – Having asked our team these interesting questions, I conclude with a self-reflection upon what it means to lead such a group of talented, dedicated, and thoughtful editors, alongside my sole remaining co-founder Linda, and I can only answer with the comment that it means everything to me. Over the course of 2.5 years, eighteen people, from around the world, have been part of our team, eight of whom are now former editors, leaving us with a current team of ten. Every single person has been an invaluable asset to the magazine, contributing fresh ideas, and enabling me to learn more than I could ever have hoped to alone. As a nonprofit magazine, we are entirely reliant upon the enthusiasm of people who value the literary and art world, and recognise the extraordinary talent within it, such that they are prepared to work hard for no monetary gain. So thank you team; this would not be possible without you!
Amber Kennedy, Editor in Chief
We have created a playlist inspired by the Spring 2023 Issue. Feel free to play it while reading the issue:
Poetry shortlist – Spring 2023
|Stuart Docherty||dramma giocoso|
|Zoe Davis||a possible date|
|Nina Quigley||At St Augustine’s|
Fiction shortlist – Spring 2023
|Mathew Gostelow||The Helmet of Knowing|
|Phoebe Rodriguez||The Taste of the Fruit|
|Sophie Campbell||Many Moons Will Fall|
|Holly Woodward||Call it Moby Duck|
|Joel Fishbane||Brains in Love|
|Divine Inyang Titus||The Nights I Carry|
Drama shortlist – Spring 2023
We have collaborated with the covert artist Andy McFly (@andy_mcfly) to create two tote bags featuring the cover artwork of the Spring 2023 Issue, ‘Dieci Desideri’. Check out the images below! You can purchase the tote bags by clicking here: