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This report is taken from PN Review 90, Volume 19 Number 4, March - April 1993.

Passport to a Magazine Mike Gerrard
It began with a casual remark. As a writer with an interest in computer technology, I mentioned to my writer friend Thomas McCarthy that it was quite feasible to publish a magazine from home using today's powerful breed of home computer. 'Really?' he said, 'I've always fancied publishing a literary magazine.' 'Me too,' I said, neither of us realizing where this little conversation would lead.

It led us first to our regional arts authority in Cambridge, Eastern Arts. Literature Officer Richard Ings suggested we produce a 'manifesto', stating exactly what kind of magazine we wanted to publish, and why. We both felt strongly that not enough foreign writing was being published in Britain, and that there weren't enough outlets for new British writers to publish short stories. We decided that we would exclude poetry on the grounds that (a) there were enough poetry magazines in existence already, and (b) neither of us read much poetry so wouldn't be qualified to judge it.

What we did want to publish was some of the exciting foreign writing that in those days, four years ago, wasn't too widely available. How many writers win the Nobel Prize when their books are unavailable in Britain? Naguib Mahfouz and Camilo José Cela are only two recent examples of authors whose work only appeared on British bookshelves several months after winning world acclaim. The attitude of Britain's publishing establishment has, for too long, been that if the writers aren't in print in Britain then ...

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