We recently asked people for a little bit of feedback about us. We wanted to know exactly what has come out of being published in the magazine. Here are four of the many responses we received. Happy Valentines Day!
Christophe Riesco, writer: I would recommend Shoestring as a platform for young writers like myself who simply don’t stand a chance at publication in the more famous literary magazines. We may take writing very seriously, but we are not well-connected and we don’t write in the house style of, say, Poetry Review. Nor can we afford to subscribe to many magazines, in an age when many magazines prefer to publish their subscribers only.
Newer magazines such as Shoestring, based around universities but not exclusively so, offer a different space to work in: they expect a certain standard, and there is competition, but the standard is broad and inclusive and the number of other submissions is small enough to allow one at least a decent chance of publication. Numerous websites offer something like this too, but the magazine format is still taken more seriously and engages the attention of the reader more closely than a website can.
In terms of the north west region, much of our poetry activity is performance-based rather than literary, and doesn’t have much room for people who care about Wallace Stevens, as it were. Shoestring is more open-minded than a lot of northern poetry channels, with room for quiet, cerebral, or delicate poetry, and as such helps to complete the picture of poetry in the north west.
Alice Grevholm, photographer: Being published in Shoestring made my self-confident so much stronger! It made me realize that I might be good enough to start a career as a photographer despite everything. The fact that it’s made and exposed in England makes it a bigger deal and even cooler for a Swedish teenager like me. I love Shoestring’s idea about giving young people opportunities like this. It makes us stronger as artists. To get my picture on the front cover of the first issue, and another picture published inside of issue two has opened my mind a lot.
Aiden Clarkson, writer: Publication in Shoestring helped me secure my place on a Creative Writing MA; now I’m intending on continuing into PhD study. I’m sure that my inclusion in this high-quality magazine – and indeed its presence as a physical publication as oppposed to a strcitly online venture – assisted me in my application. Publication in journals of quality is an indicator of quality as an artist, and Shoestring is an important publication because it provides selected artists from across a variety of disciplines a respectable publication to include in their portfolio. Kate and the Shoestring team are obviously very passionate about what they’re doing, and the product is genuinely exciting; I and other writers I know will keep submitting work to Shoestring because it’s the kind of magazine we want to be published in; we’ll keep buying it and promoting it to our acquaintances for the same reason.
Nadia Misir, writer: It’s a rough life for an undergraduate these days. Especially one with a double major in English and Global Studies and a minor in Creative Writing. What ever will you do with that, people often ask me. I’m going to write, I tell them. Many laugh, others are bewildered and few wish me luck.
I finally received my copy of the Manchester vs. New York issue from Shoestring when I returned to school after my winter break. When I saw my name typed correctly in the table of contents, I felt like gravity had ceased to exist. My mind defied the laws of physics, I was so happy. When I saw my writing on page 10, unmarred, I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face for a week. It wasn’t a scam or a dream or an illusion. Somewhere someone saw value in my writing and believed in my words. Not even a writer can fully capture how that sort of validation feels.
Shoestring’s decision to publish my work added to my motivation to continue to pursue my writing. Flipping through the pages of that issue, where my work is showcased among other talented writers, photographers and artists, continues to remind me why I’m pursuing my passion and not just a paycheck.
Thank you to EVERYONE who replied to our emails. It makes us really happy to know that we are actually affecting the lives of the artists we love, and positively paving the way for the unsung artist. If you haven’t already submitted to the Paris edition, please do so! See the ‘Submissions’ page on this blog.
Lots of love,
Kate and the Shoestring team x