26 March 2008

Paul Muldoon/UK literary scene seminar

A couple of weeks ago it was Writers and Readers Week in Wellington, part of the International Arts Festival.

As usual, I failed to go to very much, but I did see a session with Irish poet Paul Muldoon, who now lives in New Jersey. (I also really wanted to see novelist Ian McEwen, but his session had sold out.) He read quite a lot of his work, which I don’t know very well but ought to read more of. I most enjoyed a couple of earlier poems he read, both about his childhood and also about ‘The Troubles’.

The other Writers and Readers Week thing I did was go to a seminar organised by Creative NZ, about the UK literary scene for NZ writers. It was taken by Gary McKeone, who was the head of literature at the UK Arts Council until 2006. He’s now the chair of the Poetry Translation Centre the Poetry Archive and Poetry London.

He talked for a while about how government funding for literature works in the UK, and then we writers asked him a bunch of questions.

There were two main things that I took from his talk. The first is that the average print runs in the UK are not very different those here in New Zealand – about 3000 for a novel and 500-1000 for a collection of poetry. I’d always assumed that because there were more people there’d be more readers, but I guess there are more writers too.

The second thing, was that he encouraged us to submit to UK literary magazines. I’ve never really known where to start, how to find the literary magazines to submit to. He gave me some suggestions (Poetry Review, Poetry London and Dream Catcher) and directed me to The Poetry Library, where there is this listing of UK poetry journals.

Look out English lit mags, as soon as I get myself together, I’ll start submitting.


Tim Jones said...

That's really helpful and interesting info about the UK literary scene. I've submitted to (and sometimes been published in) US magazines, but have rarely submitted to UK magazines: I try to submit overseas by email wherever possible, and my impression has been that UK magazines generally require postal submissions.

But this impression may be wrong, and your post prompts me to take another look - so thank you!

showyourworkings said...

Yes, thanks for those notes Helen.