The Reader, Issue 30, “I live and write” now available

Issue 30 Cover

Readers will recognise more than a few names on the contents page in The Reader No. 30. By coincidence, they all seem to be Philips of various kinds. We have Philip Pullman talking about the responsibilities of being a writer, three poems by the ubiquitous Phill Jupitus and an interview with the psychologist, Adam Phillips (‘the best psychotherapist in England’, according to Nicholas Fearn in The New Statesman), plus our own Philip Davis, editor of The Reader, of course, lighting fires and being encouragingly astringent along the way. Read his editorial here.

But the Phils haven’t taken over entirely. You will find new fiction by Melvyn Bragg (extracts from his book in progress); Les Murray’s choice of the best ten Australian poems; Blake Morrison’s full article on The Reader organisation’s Get Into Reading programme; Ian McMillan of The Verb (BBC R3); Myra Schneider, Morgan Meis, Tessa Hadley, Josie Dixon, and many others.

Issue 30 highlights include:

  • New poetry by Phill Jupitus, Matt Simpson, and Stephen Sandy, plus we publish the first installment of Les Murray’s choice of favourite Australian poets.
  • Phillip Pullman considers the writer’s responsibility to the reader, the work and to his imagination.
  • We print Blake Morrison’s extended essay, originally published in The Guardian, which examines the work of The Reader Organisation and bibliotherapy more generally as a force for change.
  • Morgan Meis takes us back to the beginnings of sea-faring, bridge-building hubris and tackles Melville and Hart Crane on the way.
  • The Poet on her Work: Myra Schneider talks about her poem ‘Field’ and the way that finding the right form helped let the vibrancy of memory into poetry.
  • Tessa Hadley looks squarely at the difference between stories and reality in her essay ‘Crying at Novels’.
  • Melvyn Bragg lets us read some early manuscript extracts from his new novel, Remember Me, and so witness the not-quite-in-control beginnings of a book taking shape.
  • The Interview: in a far-ranging discussion The Reader editor Philip Davis and psychoanalyst Adam Phillips thrash out a line between imaginative possibility and responsibility, Bellow and Malamud, inspiration and reality principle. Nothing is decided but all seems clearer.
  • Readers Connect is reborn with a panel of five readers giving us their ratings for Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Not to be missed. Which judge will turn out to be the Simon Cowell figure?
  • Plus reviews, recommendations and all our regular features, including the new regular ‘The Old Poem’. Brian Nellist introduces Sir Walter Raleigh’s ‘Like Truthless Dreams’. Enid Stubin writes from the heart in her latest ‘Our Spy in NY’

If your subscription to The Reader is about to lapse, please note: this is not an issue you would want to miss. Visit the shop now.

The Reader Download Edition:

If you’re thinking about subscribing but want to feel the quality of the cloth first, why not take a look at the previous issue of the magazine, issue 29, now available online for free. Visit The Reader download page.

16 thoughts on “The Reader, Issue 30, “I live and write” now available”

  1. Very good news about the free download of previous issues as the magazine is MUCH too expensive for the average person, especially as it is subsidised – try using cheaper paper, folks!

    It would attract an even wider readership, though, if a paper version of previous editions were made widely available as lots of readers don’t use computers, you know.

    In fact, this used to be the case as older copies were sold for just £1 to Continuing Education students at Liverpool and many were sorry to see this suddenly disappear (as they were to see the demise of the early ‘Reader Days’ at 126 which were much more fun and ‘interactive’ than the ‘Penny Readings’ which seem to feature CD less and less so are somewhat spuriously connected with him). It seems that you forgot your early supporters when you expanded, which is a shame.

    Also, final gripe, could we have ONE issue without mention of Bernard Malamud and/or the ‘Get Into Reading’ Project? I think that for the last year – if not more – both have been in every issue and though both may be great, ‘enough is enough’: don’t use a great magazine as an advertising tool, you’re better than that.

    p.s. This blog is the best thing about ‘The Reader’, now, so ‘well done’, Chris! You have achieved what ‘The Reader’ claims to want but actually doesn’t: wider accessibility, lack of elitism, truly catholic interests – Reader eds. please take note!

  2. Hello Noggin

    I’m pleased you’re enjoying this blog, but I’m bothered by this perception because I think it’s not true:

    “what ‘The Reader’ claims to want but actually doesn’t: wider accessibility, lack of elitism, truly catholic interests”

    The Reader Organisation does all kinds of things for all kinds of readers, from the “accessible but serious” high quality writing in the magazine, to Readers’ Days (the last one was in May this year), the blog, the outreach work organised through Get Into Reading, the Penny Readings, and this year the Shipping Lines festival. I think it would be difficult to reach a wider range of readers without adding a TV studio and it certainly wouldn’t be possible with the magazine alone. There’s nothing to stop someone enjoying one, some, or even all of these things and people do; that’s why we “cross advertise” Reader activities.

    I’m afraid the days of the £1 copy have passed mainly because the magazine has to have high (and relatively expensive) production values, mostly because a nicely produced magazine is a pleasure to hold and read; photocopied pamphlets won’t cut it any more. The free issue makes amends I hope, but it can only be free because the economics of being online allow it (and we really do need donations if people can spare something). Having said that The Reader magazine actually has a lower cover price than most similar magazines in this market.

    I appreciate that the connections between these things may not be as clear as they could be and we are currently working hard on making that better in the future. In the mean time I hope this reassures you that the “core values” (ugh!) of the organisation have not changed.

    Chris

  3. Thanks for responding, Chris, you have enhanced your ‘blogman’ reputation even more! You are a loyal chap and I knew my comments wouldn’t be welcomed but I am as eager to compliment as to criticise, as my praise of the blog shows. I am sure I will be faced with a barage of remarks similar to your own but differing views are what ‘comments’ are for, aren’t they? It is just a matter of record that:

    a] GIR and Malamud have been given space in the magazine very frequently recently
    b] The Penny Readings are not really interactive or connected with Dickens
    c] Most ‘Reader Days’ are on the Wirral.

    Sorry but it’s true.

    Finally, I simply cannot agree that ‘packaging’ matters so much, it’s what’s inside that counts: ‘David Copperfield’ is as brilliant in paperback as leather bound and was first published very cheaply indeed because its super-savvy author knew the value of his words and a penny!

  4. p.s. Re the recent ‘Reader Day’ you mention, held in May:

    a] it was in Cheshire (aka ‘the Wirral’)
    b] Jane spoke about GIR
    c] Phil spoke about Malamud.

    I do think I have a point, you know …!

  5. OK, I can see we’re not going to agree on this, but for what it’s worth there was a lot more on offer at the last Readers’ Day than you suggest. It’s true Jane spoke about her specialist subject and the subject of much interest, GIR, but I spoke about writing history books, Caroline Smailes talked about her novel, and Rebecca Goss talked about her poetry. There were also sessions on The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and on Tennyson. And that’s apart from the wide ranging large group sessions. This is hardly a limited set of topics, but people will talk about that they know and that’s expected and for the best. Comments from people who attended were extremely positive.

    As for the magazine, well, ‘packaging’, as you call it, matters a great deal. Bookshops don’t like stocking ‘magazines’ printed on photocopier paper and writers feel a lot happier writing for a publication that can be taken seriously, where their work will be presented properly and treated with respect. I happen not to think of it as packaging, but rather part of the product as a whole. Good design and quality materials are part of what makes it as good as it is.

  6. I think we can agree it’s a good publication, can’t we? ‘Constructive criticism’, which was how mine was meant, encourages debate and that can only be ultimately positive. I know The Reader does many things but it has seemed a little repetitive in certain areas of late so I commented on it. Sorry if this ‘ruffled a few feathers’ but it was intended to be in the spirit of debate not condemnation!

    The term ‘packaging’ was certainly not meant pejoritively – more people could read it if it were cheaper, that’s all I was saying and if I were a writer, I would want as many as possible to see my work no matter how inexpensive the paper.

    Finally, I have taken the time and trouble to write this because the concept of The Reader matters to me when people stop writing, start worrying!

  7. I think we can agree it’s a good publication, can’t we? ‘Constructive criticism’, which was how mine was meant, encourages debate and that can only be ultimately positive. I know The Reader does many things but it has seemed a little repetitive in certain areas of late so I commented on it. Sorry if this ‘ruffled a few feathers’ but it was intended to be in the spirit of debate not condemnation!

    The term ‘packaging’ was certainly not meant pejoratively – more people could read it if it were cheaper, that’s all I was saying and if I were a writer, I would want as many as possible to see my work no matter how inexpensive the paper.

    Finally, I have taken the time and trouble to write this because the concept of The Reader matters to me when people stop writing, start worrying!

  8. On a completely different subject from earlier comments … I have just read Philip Pullman’s ecstatically inspiring piece, ‘The Storyteller’s Responsiblity’ in The Reader, issue 30. I was reading it because I was doing anything to avoid ‘thinking of some interesting events [and] putting them in the best order to bring out the connections between them’ [page 41] … because the events seemed uninteresting and the order was, well, not. But I found myself entranced by Pullman’s words about emotional honesty in a story, his sense of being the servant [in the best sense] of the story and his respect for and love of stories. I am now back at my desk to write this quick thank you before returning to my own story with renewed enthusiasm for the events I am thinking about and attempting to find some order for, and the connections between them.

    Thank you Philip Pullman, and thank you The Reader for commissioning the piece. I shall blog about it soon.

  9. Thanks for this Angela. The Pullman piece is terrific–what he as to say about clarity is refreshing–and we’re lucky to have him.

  10. Point of Fact

    The last Readers Day was in Halton. Runcorn to be precise. Before that – Archbishop Blanch School, Central Liverpool, about three minutes from the CE building. We have to look to free partner venues to keep costs down. Unfortunately, these days, CE would charge us…Astronomical, too.

    Point of Principle

    As well as all this recent stuff, Malamud was in the bloomin’ lovely, cheap, first issue. Like the poor, you know, he is always with us.

    Point Taken

    We will put some paper back issues on sale for £1 – Sales! Please see to that ! – as we regularly have done for years.

  11. Thanks, Jane, a ‘three point [good] turn’ which will be much appreciated by the ever-present poor! (Are we who declare ourselves to be so now to be known as ‘Malmudians’?)

  12. Sorry that should be ‘MalAmudians’ – you know what they say, ‘I don’t care what they call me as long as they spell my name right’!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *