January 12, 2022

Kickstarter launched for new online literary magazine Fictionable


The global COVID pandemic may have devastated many areas of life, but it has not quashed our love for reading. Figures from the Publishers Association showed that fiction sales for UK publishers rose by 16% in 2020, with digital sales in particular increasing by 12%.

Into this fragile but hopeful arena launches the campaign for a new online literary quarterly, which aims to raise £15,000 on Kickstarter to fund its publication. Fictionable is the brainchild of Richard Lea, editor at large for Oneworld and former writer and editor on the Guardian books desk. Fictionable aims to publish specially-commissioned short fiction from all over the globe, showcasing established writers alongside new voices currently under-represented in English and American publishing, as well as writers who have not yet made it into English. Lea said:

“It’s an idea I’ve been thinking about ever since I started commissioning short fiction at the Guardian. We had such an excellent response to our series on oil – featuring stories from Rose Tremain, Alain Mabanckou and China Miéville – as well as our series on water – with AS Byatt, Sarah Hall, Martín Kohan and Isabel Greenberg – that I’ve been looking for a way to do something similar on a sustainable basis ever since. The surge in reading during the pandemic and our increasing familiarity with digital subscriptions seemed to make this the perfect moment.”

 Already signed up to contribute to the planned first edition is author Sarah Hall, author of The Wolf Border, novelist and poet Alain Mabanckou who will be translated by Helen Stevenson, Owen Booth, author of The All-True Adventures (and Rare Education) of the Daredevil Daniel Bones, illustrator and graphic novelist Isabel Greenberg as well as Melville’s own Ladee Hubbard, author of The Talented Ribkins. Hall said about the launch:
“I’m really excited about Fictionable, a great new platform for the short story. The form is so powerful and versatile, with diverse worldwide traditions, and it’s going to be thrilling to both contribute and read new work from amazing writers.”

As a digital magazine, Fictionable hopes to reach a global audience, and in the aim to bring readers stories from across the world each issue will contain at least one story in translation. Making the quarterly stand out will be its dedication to comics, including a graphic short story in every issue. The Fictionable site will also contain a blog and a podcast featuring in-depth author interviews, supported by senior editor Rachel Aspen and audio producer Esther Opoku Gyeni.

An annual subscription will cost £20 a year, but is available for £15 to Kickstarter supporters. Other incentives for Kickstarter backers include personalised signed books from issue one’s contributors, personalised reading lists, and editor’s reports on your own short stories. Lea added:

“We’re very excited to bring Fictionable to Kickstarter, where we can connect with readers from all around the world and bring this project to life. I can’t wait to see the short stories our fantastic contributors will come up with.”

Issue one is planned for publication in June 2022.

Nikki Griffiths is the managing director of Melville House UK.