Creative Writing alumni’s new literary magazine “The Phare”

CW: Claire, hi, thanks so much for joining us on the Creative Writing blog at University of Gloucestershire. Could you tell us a little bit about your connections with this department?

Hi Senja, yes I joined UoG as a mature student in 2016 to take a degree in Creative Writing and loved it so much I continued on to take a Masters in Creative & Critical Writing which I finish in September 2020.

CW: And how was your studying experience?

I can honestly say I’ve had the best time. Of course I felt nervous and apprehensive going back to studying after such a long time, but everyone was really welcoming and not once was I made to feel like the odd one out amongst all the younger students.  There were a couple of other mature students on the course which was great too. However, for me the teaching experience is what really stood out.  The tutors were always available and very happy to answer any questions or go the extra mile to offer support. I learnt a huge amount, not just about the craft of writing, but about the business of writing which is so important for anyone wanting to continue writing as a career after University.

CW: But now that you are finished, I believe that you’ve decided to stay in the world of Creative Writing, is that correct? Would you tell us a bit about your new project?

Yes!  A fellow MA student and I have created The Phare Literary Magazine –  We’re currently an online magazine which publishes flash fiction, short stories, poetry and photography, however in 2021 we will also publish a printed version – initially once a year and then more frequently as time goes on.  As well as looking for exceptional writing, we also offer resources for writers such as online workshops, monthly traditional workshops at local venues and writing retreats. We wanted to create a community for writers, so Phare members can also sign up to a forum where they can upload work for discussion amongst the Phare community or just ask for help/advice on a writing issue they may be having trouble with.

CW: So what inspired you to create a literary magazine and who are your influences?

I’ve wanted to create a magazine for years – having been in marketing communications and a commercial copywriter for more than 25 years, I’ve produced many magazines/newsletters etc for clients but most have been business to business publications and not something you or I would particularly want to read! It’s also something I wanted to do with someone else – it’s so much easier having someone to bounce ideas off.  During the degree and the M.A. we were introduced to writers, editors and publishers of literary magazines such as Shooter Magazine and I thought yes, this is something I could do. When I met Steve during the M.A. who’d been an editor of New Flash Fiction Review for three years, the pieces just seemed to slot into place.  With our joint skills and experience we work together really well.

5) What kind of writing are you looking for and hoping to publish?

We are really picky, but fortunately we both lean towards the same style of writing so we don’t have many editorial differences.  We’re looking for writing that that holds a mirror up to ourselves –  something that reflects the truth of being human over the oceans of uncertainty. We had a fantastic response to our launch issue with writers submitting from all over the world.  To get an idea of the style and type of work we’re looking for head over to The Phare and take a look at some of the published pieces.

 CW: What is your message or words of advice to anyone who’d like to submit to Phare?

– Just do it! We can’t wait to read your work.

CW: Thank you so much for your time today, Claire! Best of luck with your new magazine and we look forward to reading the published work!

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