New beginnings

 
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So here we are, catapulted into cyberspace by people all around the world who backed us on Kickstarter, our first-ever issue of short stories and graphic fiction from all around the world has arrived: it’s Summer 2022.

We open our account with five stories stretching from fable to autofiction, from dark comedy to concentrated drama. Sarah Hall paints a portrait of a character on the verge of a desperate act in Be Good – a story which tackles a subject that she says on our podcast is almost unavoidable. Alain Mabanckou begins in holiday mood, strolling through the streets of New Orleans in My American Cousin. He’s translated, as he has been for more than a decade, by Helen Stevenson, who reflects on this strange intimacy in Dancing to the music of translation.

Fittingly for a first issue, these stories are full of characters moving into a new phase of their lives, or starting over, like the unnamed protagonist in Ladee Hubbard’s Tupperware. The young woman in Isabel Greenberg’s Confinement is starting over too, sailing across a “wild and foaming sea” to begin married life “far from everything she knows”. And while Paul’s hospital stay in Owen Booth’s The Things They Don’t Talk About may have more of the feel of an ending, he’s still looking to explore new territory.

Kate Tsurkan brings this issue to a close with a report on how Ukrainian writers have responded to Russian aggression since 2014. Here’s hoping she – like all of our contributors, and all our readers – can stay safe and well.



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