Posted on 1 Comment

The South Circular 1st Birthday Party

The South Circular 1st Birthday Party cake © Mark Duggan
The South Circular 1st Birthday Party cake © Mark Duggan
Cake by Esther Walsh. Photo by Mark Duggan 

Well, we had a swell time.

Anthony Colclough (issue 4), Albert Moore (issue 2), Elizabeth Reapy (issue 5), Nathan O’Donnell (issue 3) and Adrian Duncan (issue 1) read extracts from their stories published in THE SOUTH CIRCULAR and they made us giggle, shuffle, laugh out loud and wonder for the first half of the night. They were followed by djs Sally Foran and Lil’ Dave who did what they do best: made us dance!

Before we knew it, everyone dancing was also wearing some shape of vintage spectacle or brandishing an optical tool a long-time obsolete. In our wildest dreams of what the 1st Birthday Party would be, we did not see this coming.

It was an extraordinary thing to watch writers we have published read the same stories to a live audience and we were struck how firstly, these stories have stood the test of time (well, a year) and then how they were different but the same said out loud, spoken from the mouths of those who created them first. We always considered a celebration of the writers and their work an essential part of what THE SOUTH CIRCULAR is all about but we never reckoned on how actually delivering such a happening would transport us so much outside of that moment so that it suddenly became weird to take any credit for the ejournal itself.

What we’re getting at is, it was great to gather, it was great to hear the stories said out loud, it was great to meet ‘our’ writers in the flesh and it was great to know that we have even more reasons to continue into our second year with a bit more confidence and an awareness of the effect THE SOUTH CIRCULAR has on some folk.

If we could, we’d go back and live it all again. But we will never repeat the special vibe in the room that night. We cannot say thank you enough to those who contributed their time, skills and energy to making our first event so much fun.

So for the time being we’re getting back to work: reading submissions for issue 6, due in June. We’re going to put all ideas of a second birthday out of our minds for now. Well, maybe just to the back.

Photos © Mark Duggan 

Posted on Leave a comment

Issue 1 is in the pipeline!


If you signed up for our Newsletter, then you’ll already know a little about the progress of our journal. Issue 1 is in production and it’s coming along nicely.

We’re delighted to announce that issue 1 of THE SOUTH CIRCULAR will feature stories by Eddie Stack, Eley Williams, Shane Hulgraine and Adrian Duncan. And we’re just ecstatic that Fuchsia Macaree agreed to do a cover for us, with barely a brief to go on!

Way back in early January, we fretted quite a bit about the best publishing format that would best serve our desire to bring you, the readers, an exciting collection of stories. In fact, to be perfectly honest, this question had come up as early as May 2011 and went on until about August but we eventually put it away to concentrate on things like the website and the first round of submissions.

Throughout this process of development, we looked around, in as many nooks and crannies as we could find on our own, and spoke to many different publishing (book and magazine) and digital experts to see what the general feelings were about ebooks, Kindles, iPads, PDFs, Atavist, isssu … the list goes on and on. We also tried to predict the future, keeping a close eye on those busy developing games and educational apps for smartphones and tablets, as well as free online publications.

In the end (or should I say the beginning), we’ve opted for an EPUB format for iPhone, iPad (iBooks) and Android (Aldiko). We made this decision quite soon after Apple announced iBooks Author. Truth is, we felt that even after nine months of planning, time was now against us and we were torn between bringing issue 1 out when we had promised everyone we would and postponing it until we had conquered the obstacle course that is iTunes authorization.

One piece of advice I received very early on, last March in fact at the Banter session, ‘Young guns doing it for themselves’, was to ‘bootstrap’ wherever possible. Don’t spend money when you don’t have to. I’ve also interpreted this to mean, keep things simple until you can make them complex. We’re going to spend the next year working hard to bring you the work of excellent emerging writers, beautiful cover art by a hand-picked wish-list in a format that reflects the very latest in developments in digital publishing.

We won’t rest until we’re absolutely certain we’re on that track, every day, every way.