1 – 1 – 2021
H. L. Dowless
On Joining Arabic Class at University
The Magic Wishing Well
Stranger to Me
Dear Mme Lucinda
Where Hell Seems a Heav’n: Tracing Milton Through NBC’s The Good Place
Lauren “Aris” Richardson
Birth in a Pandemic
Who Are You (Who Am I)
We are incredibly excited to be able to share the first Winter issue of Spellbinder quarterly literary magazine with you. When Covid-19 plunged the world into national lockdowns and left people with very little to do except read books and watch films in their homes, we were reminded of the importance of the arts, such as literature and film-making in entertaining our society, in keeping it going during the hardest of times.
This led us to consider the value of magazines in helping people to reconnect with literature and art. The act of reading provides us with the opportunity to engage and feel emotionally connected with other people; we believe that this is especially important in the wake of the pandemic. As Zadie Smith has observed, in her essay ‘Suffering like Mel Gibson’, our ‘misery is very precisely designed, and different for each person’; whilst one living alone might ‘have never known such loneliness’, an individual living with company might have ‘dreams of isolation within isolation’. The potential for writing to explore and communicate across these differences, to transcend the physical restraints of spatial distancing is something that is more powerful than ever now.
Wanting to create something positive out of the undoubtedly devastating year of 2020, we set about creating the magazine. Our organisation was established with the aim of giving emerging writers a platform upon which their work could be valued and celebrated. Our attempt to find new talent was launched in October of this year. From the outset we were keen to hear from a diverse range of voices and so international marketing was a very immediate strategy for us. It was not long at all before we were sifting through all of the submissions, deciding which ones would get a place in our very first issue. We are delighted by the responses we have received and the diversity of our contributors. Reading the poems, essays, and stories, as well as looking at the fantastic art works submitted, has been a very enjoyable experience. It has been incredibly interesting to engage with the variety of themes, styles and forms our contributors have used in order to create their art.
Setting up a magazine like this at the same time as pursuing our own postgraduate studies has been no easy task, but it is one that has brought us closer together and has reminded us of the importance of creating a global network of contributors and readers who will interact with and inspire one another to become better writers. This is not unlike the environment we cultivated together when we first met at Durham University Creative Writing society.
Now that the editing and formatting process has finally been completed, we cannot wait to begin the long-awaited 2021 with the publication of this magazine. We hope that the publication will continue to grow, and that this moment is just the start of an incredible artistic journey which will stimulate international conversation around the arts for many years to come.
By Amber Kennedy, Chief Editor