Winter 2023

Issue Number
Release Date

1 – 1 – 2023
2753-4103 (Print)
2753-4111 (Online)


Chief Editor
Poetry Editor
Nonfiction Editor
Fiction Editors

Art Editor
Drama Editor
Associate Editors

Amber Kennedy
Shrubaboti Bose
Linda Arrighi
Bruna Gomes
Ned Vessey
Catherine Cooper
Lara Morgan
Keelan Blagg
Doriana Dyakova
Chelsey Pippin Mizzi

Cover Art

K.T. Clark


Poetry Contributors

Quinn Murphy

Niall Scully

Ethan Vilu
Rita Anderson

Caleb Gainey

Florence Campbell-Gray

A Dragon Curled Around My Heart
The Yew Trees Bleed Red
Fort Pelagiad
Object Permanence
I Have the Foundation

Fiction Contributors

Douglas Jern
Margot DeCoursey

Like Sardines

Artwork Contributors

Afaque Ali

K.T. Clark
Josephine Florens
Alejandro Gonzalez

Delhi and its chaos
She’s Got Mirth but I Got Bravado

Nonfiction Contributors

Anna Nguyen
Stephanie Shi

See You Again
Alone with a Book

Drama Contributors

Carly Chandler
Phoebe Angaye

Donkey Skin
Meeting Wolf

As always, I will begin this letter by mentioning the events and successes of the previous season. The highlight of our Autumn period was undoubtedly our annual anniversary party. Celebrating our second anniversary at an online event was a huge achievement for all of the Spellbinder team. Meeting some of our talented contributors, as well as hearing powerful readings from past featured writers, Ryan Meyer and hiro fukudapero, was an absolute pleasure. If you missed out this year, don’t worry, the months fly by here at Spellbinder and it will be our 3rd birthday before we know it!

We were also incredibly honoured to reach 5000 followers on Twitter on the 8th of November, which was a huge milestone for us; we gave out prizes to three lucky followers! Stay tuned to enter a future giveaway on Instagram or Twitter yourself later on this year.

Every season we also try to develop the publication in some way or do something different which we have never done before. This time, it was getting involved in the prestigious Pushcart Prize nominations. At Spellbinder, our mission has always been to provide a platform for talented emerging writers and therefore it has meant a lot to us to be able to nominate some of our past contributors for the poetry, nonfiction, and fiction Pushcart Prizes. We wish all of our writers and artists the very best success and hope that we can do everything in our power to promote this. 

Whilst we mention our mission, it is also worth remembering our core values. Spellbinder has always had an international scope in mind and we are proud that our contributors identified with nineteen different nations, just in 2022. This diverse reach enables us to promote the voices of people from a range of different backgrounds. We believe that art has an intrinsic link with culture and therefore, it is important that our creation allows for this space in which people from different cultures are brought together to share their experiences, understanding, thoughts and emotions through the unrivalled mediums of visual and written art.

This space of conversation is central to our vision and our commitment to a world in which art is valued, and given a place in which it can prosper. We aim to promote mutual understanding and empathy through conversation beyond national and cultural borders by creating an inclusive community, which shares a passion for the infinite potential of artistic creativity. With our third year now well under way, we aim to stay true to the values with which we began in those early days of the pandemic and bring the world together through art.

It is also important for us to evaluate our style and the editorial perspective with which we make decisions about what can and cannot be included in the book. Over time, our editorial responsibility has increased and our astuteness has improved. With each issue, it has become more and more apparent what types of writing and art fit the style of our publication and pique our interest the most. Being a primary editor for poetry since the beginning has enabled me personally to realise just how much I value musicality and the emphasis on sound within the poetic form, as well as how much I enjoy poems with vivid imagery or ones which explore complex concepts. If you ask any of our editors, I am sure they will all tell you that they have experienced a similar increased understanding of what appeals to them within their particular form.

More broadly, I want to mention what we originally committed to looking for in the works which we accept as this still stands. We decided to search for works which experiment and innovate whilst simultaneously acknowledging and speaking to the histories and traditions in which their particular forms are rooted. This collaboration between past and future is at the centre of all art forms; it enables artists to work with the technical strength passed down by their predecessors whilst making something new which can speak to contemporary audiences. Art which fails to build upon its heritage is art without foundations, but art which merely rehashes what has already been done will leave no legacy. That is why it is so important to discover a serious but playful conversation between the two. Ultimately, we want to be entertained; we want to remember what we read and what we see. Consequently, it is art with vivid detail, memorable themes and thought-provoking concepts which has always appealed to us within all of our various categories.   

As we approach the New Year, we want to remember our commitment to the Spellbinder ethos, mission and style; we will change and we will make new resolutions every year, but our foundations will remain at the heart of everything we do. These cold months are not just a time for reflection and resolution, but also a reason for celebration and unity. We very much hope that Spellbinder’s Twelve Days of Advent have inspired you with some festive reads and provoked your interest in the diverse and fascinating ways different countries celebrate Christmas around the world. On that note, we wish you all a very happy holiday and look forward to all that is to come in 2023.

Amber Kennedy, Editor in Chief

We have created a playlist inspired by the Winter 2023 Issue. Feel free to play it while reading the issue:

Poetry shortlist – Winter 2023

Louis FaberFrozen
Lucas DeanCrossing
Adrian HarteMy Fingers Shake
Kathleen PastranaTurtles and Teal Shirts
Gilberte FarahTo Ma Zena
Adesiyan OluwapelumiPhoenix
Danny BarbareThe Pecan Leaf
John BartlettSing Out for Ukraine

Fiction shortlist – Winter 2023

Gina GidaroThe Owl
Daniel CrosbyWho are you Waiting for?

Drama shortlist – Winter 2023

Travis TurnerPluto’s Litterbox: A Modern Take on Hades & Persephone

We have collaborated with the covert artist K.T. Clark (@devilmeant) to create two tote bags featuring the cover artwork of the Winter 2023 Issue, Ephemera. Check out the images below! The tote bags were limited edition items and they are not available anymore.