The Big Issue Fiction Edition Launch

The independent magazine that got fingers-in-many-pies James Franco to submit a story for the very special fiction edition launched last night as a part of the Melbourne Writer’s Festival.

It was a full-house, with many standing at the back, the atmosphere was a mix of excitement (not just for the free food) and appreciation for the talent. The magazine contains five commissioned pieces and six which were selected from a slush pile of about four hundred. On the panel there was Sophie Cunningham, Rafael SW and Tony Birch hosted by the very Irish Chris Flynn. What is it, Chris Flynn asked, about the end of the world that seems so thrilling?

For Sophie Cunningham it is the adventure of something new, but in reality it seems very frightening. As she gets older Sophie admitted that she doesn’t enjoy apocalyptic themed books as much, although she has seen Day after Tomorrow at least fifteen times. Rafael SW’s story in the issue is about an astronomer and the problem he has with human relationships. Tony Birch lightened the seriousness of the theme up by talking about his brother’s foreskin which inspired his story ‘Sticky Fingers’. Tony’s brother often rubbed his foreskin while playing marbles for good luck. Unfortunately this caused some health problems and led to an infection.

‘The doctor said, you either have to give up playing marbles or get your foreskin removed.’

After everyone had composed themselves (and got some graphic images out of their minds) Sir Andrew Motion gave a very touching speech about the importance of The Big Issue and as a writer feeling like you are contributing to society. It was inspiring to say the least and it is a nice reminder that writing is about connection and I’d like to think that it is no less helpful than a doctor stitching up a wound.

I have only started reading this 64 page issue but am wowed by the variety and the talent of the writers. Here is a brief summary from the editorial of what to expect by Chris Flynn and Melissa Cranenburgh: ‘stories of comets, melting ice, earthquakes, broken families, marbles, tales of TV stars, caffeine-addicted birds, disappearing houses and galaxies within.’


The Big Issue Fiction Edition is now on sale from your local vendor. Remember half of the proceeds go back to the vendor themselves.


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