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Forward prize nominations


We are very happy to announce our nominations for this year’s Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. They are:

‘Postcards from the Northwest’ – Caitlin MacKenzie (issue 10, read here)
‘Our Return to Sierra Vista’ – Jeffrey C. Alfier (issue 11, buy here)
‘Lunch in Ars en Ré’ – Lucy Furlong (issue 10, read here)
‘Birdsong in the May-wood’ – Tim Keane (issue 10, read here)

Best of luck to all the nominees! We think they’ll hold their own.

Previous Forward Prize winners include Thom Gunn, Seamus Heaney, Alice Oswald, Ted Hughes, Carol Ann Duffy and Kathleen Jamie. The Best Single Poem prize is open to poems published in the last 12 months in a British or Irish print publication.



Back in April I was tugged into the world of Kickstarter by Birkensnake, one of my favourite literary magazines. Based in the States, they produce gorgeous magazines, and always have the content to match. Their Kickstarter project was to fund the sixth annual issue, to be produced in seven separate editions by seven separate editorial and art teams. It sounded too good to miss.


My copy arrived last week. Edited by Benny Lichtner and Elan Lafontaine and produced by Nicole Trigg and Michele Chun, it’s a thing of beauty, and is—predictably—full of great stories and poetry in that special, slightly off-kilter, Birkensnake way. You can read the issue/issues in-full and buy a copy/copies over at their website. There are more photos of this edition below the break.

– Euan

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Just two weeks until the issue 11 deadline

'I love fairy Tales. :)' (CC) by Flickr user dixieroadrash

Photo (CC BY-NC-SA) by dixieroadrash

We’ve had a load of really great submissions in for issue 11 so far, but I’m sorry to say that this has only made us greedy for more. If you would like to send us a story or a poem (or three), you have until midnight on the 7th of October to do so. Full submission guidelines, as well as the link to send in your work, are found at our website. If you have any questions about the process please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

— Euan


Coming soon!

Coming soon!

Word Factory apprenticeship


The Word Factory have just opened for applications to their inaugural apprenticeship scheme, and they’re on the lookout for emerging British short story writers. Those chosen would be mentored by the authors Alex Preston and Stella Duffy and would be able to take advantage free entry to Word Factory events and seminars.

To apply all you need to do is send a short story of up to 4,000 words, and a short summary of why you want to apply, by the 1st of September.

We know the folks behind the The Word Factory (one of the Structo team is usually on the door at their evening events), and we can vouch for the fact of their being lovely people, not to mention talented and well-connected. This is definitely worth your time, so get writing.

— Euan


Comics Are My Rock And Roll

We’re big fans of the Alternative Press posse. They’ve put on a bunch of really great events, including two International Alternative Press Festivals at London’s Conway Hall. And we’re not the only ones: the filmmaker Daniel Baldwin was there at the first Festival in 2011, complete with his camera, following Jimi and Peter as they worked like madmen to put on the show.

Here’s the trailer for Baldwin’s upcoming documentary: Comics Are My Rock And Roll. It looks ace.

The Sir Paul Getty Bodleian Bookbinding Prize

Perez-Sierra Rodriguez

All photos ©  Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

As the last post should have made blindingly obvious, we love beautiful books and magazines. Digital publications are wonderful too, but the feeling of a well crafted object in your hands when reading is a truly different experience.

At the extreme end of the beauty scale are this year’s entrants to the International Designer Bookbinding Competition, aka the Sir Paul Getty Bodleian Bookbinding Prize. These are books you might be afraid to touch, never mind read. At this point they have become plain ol’ art.

The theme this year was Shakespeare, and the winner was Dominic Riley, for his goatskin binding which depicts the story of Pyramus and Thisbe. Head below the fold to see some of our favourites.  Continue reading