Hitting a handful of London bookshops way back in early 2011, Open Pen has just released its twentieth issue and can be found in bookshops around the country now. The free short fiction journal is stocked in over forty bookshops these days, as well as bars, pubs, cafes, universities and writers’ centres. It even has a stockist in Cuba.
Twenty issues of Open Pen has brought the magazine close to a hundred short stories from almost as many fiction writers. The red and black coloured issue sees Louisa Adjoa Parker, Dan Coxon, Jim Gibson, Jonnie McAloon, Katherine Orton, Simon Pinkerton, Elissa Soave, Dan Ayres, Gary W. Hartley, and Gerard McKeown join the fold. Their fiction is varied and yet bound together by their relevance, as has become a part of the identity of Open Pen. As always, regular contributor N Quentin Woolf is on hand to deliver the killer blow. that just leaves editor Sean Preston to deliver a nutshell report on the thrills and plentiful spills of the first twenty issues.
You can subscribe to Open Pen here, but why pay when you can get to a bookshop and get it for free? As has always been the mag’s hope, why not pick up a book whilst you’re there? Something different, something you wouldn’t usually go for. Something with bite. That’d make Open Pen happiest of all.
Three of the stories from Issue Twenty live online over on the mag’s website. Check out The Thursday Club by Elissa Soave, Handjob by Dan Ayres, and Of Course by Gary W. Hartley.
Here’s hoping there’s another twenty issues ahead.