We’ve been talking about the redesign of Brittle Star for a while, and now the magazine is finally here in all its compact beauty. Designed by Silbercow, Issue 33 is different from most magazines in that it has nothing on the front cover: no title, no focal image, no details of who or what is in it – in fact the only thing it has is a two-toned background wallpaper. We wanted something different from the previous design, and also something quite bold. Brittle Star has evolved once more (our last redesign was in 2007): this incarnation feels more like a classic literary journal, but it still has its playful side: inside, the stories and articles are headed with illustrations and on the back is a wonderful illustration by Martin Parker of the bird’s eye view of a typewriter type bar. We hope, in future, to invite other artists to take on the illustrations of a whole issue.
Over the last few months, friends of ours have tried to drag information out of us about the redesign – but we held our tongues! They wanted to know about the shape, the size, the colour… Well, the shape is rectangular, the size is about the size of a 1970s paperback – compact and able to fit in a pocket – and the colour for this issue is blue and black.
The whole of the magazine has been redesigned from the logo, to the magazine size, to the fonts, to the use of illustrations, to the presentation of the work. Even the contents and contributors’ notes pages are different! And the visual reworkings complement the new features we’ve introduced: we have two regular columns – one for poetry (written by Andrew Bailey) and one for short fiction (written by Sarah Passingham) and, for the first time ever, Brittle Star is publishing reviews. From here on in we’ll review first full collections of poetry or short fiction – no pamphlets or chapbooks – and only collections from new writers. Our regular reviewer for poetry is Paul Blake, and for fiction it’s me (Jacqueline Gabbitas).
And, although the magazine is smaller in size it’s almost triple the number of pages of the old-style average Brittle Star, which means more space for the excellent new poetry and short fiction that we’ve built our reputation on. And more space also for work from writers from the smaller independent presses – publishing presses that deserve attention. To see a sample of the ‘not new new little magazine’ – and to try before (hopefully) you buy, please click on the image above.
The Barbican Library launch of Issue 33 also saw the launch of our Inaugural Poetry and Short Fiction Competition. This is a competition open to any writer of poetry or short fiction. The prizes are £250, £100, and £50 (1st, 2nd, 3rd) for both poetry and fiction – so that means six prizes in all. The judges are Mimi Khalvati (Poetry) David Constantine (Short Stories) and me. Subscribers to Brittle Star get their second entry free. To download an entry form, please click on the Competition Tab on the top menu or click on the image above.