The Spring instalment of The Moth is here. Not to be confused with the US storytelling platform, this is a mere slip of a magazine costing only £4 but one that’s become invaluable to us because it offers both genuine literary nourishment and the inspiration to publish something yourself.
The Moth is a collection of poetry, short fiction, illustration and interviews published by Rebecca O’Connor (editor) and Will Govan in County Cavan in Ireland since 2010. It’s a beguiling read, fashioned from unsolicited submissions (up to 3000 words, if you’d like to send them something) from known and not well-known practitioners. There’s an impressive list of media notables who are praising it to the skies, and it now runs a prestigious literary prize. And of course, it has an impressive sibling for children called – naturally – The Caterpillar.
We stock a large number of literary magazines and journals at Magalleria and we want to keep building the range, in part because they nurture and showcase talent or explain new or unfamiliar writing. But partly also because the majority of literary journals don’t seem to flourish outside of libraries. They make an impressive flock when you can herd enough into one place, but you don’t see many in regular newsagents (at least not the non-illustrated variety) and they’re hardly rampant in bookshops because, well, they’re not books.
The Moth doesn’t see itself as a journal. It’s a deceptively light, illustrated reader of only 36 pages. Its contributions are presented without any analysis or commentary – once you get past the list of contents you’re straight into the reading.
The Moth doesn’t see itself as a journal. It’s a deceptively light, illustrated reader of only 36 pages. Its contributions are presented without any analysis or commentary – once you get past the list of contents you’re straight into the reading. I really like the brevity, the lack of mediation and above all the simplicity of the approach. The interview format gives the floor almost completely to the interviewee so that you get less of an interview (there are no questions) and more of a monologue, but in a good way.
Because The Moth makes it look easy isn’t to suggest that it is, but I always show it to people who are thinking about starting a magazine of any sort. For starters, its content flows easily, intuitively. A short story, a quartet of poems, another story, interview, a centrepiece drawing or painting, and so on – all the elements of The Moth are marshalled so effectively it’s easy to ignore the nifty editorial handiwork at play. The range of illustrative styles is widely varied but consistently impressive and harmonised.
What impresses me particularly about The Moth is that doesn't overthink the format. It’s basically a stapled booklet, not far from something you might conjure from a sophisticated photocopier.
But one that you’d want to treasure.