Australia’s literary magazine scene is changing – ever more so over the last few years through the growing shift from print to digital media.
Amid all the upheaval, it’s evident we need lit mags now more than ever. For years they have preserved our voice as a nation, keeping record of our cultural identity and values – freeze-locking moments in our history and acting as a sort of time capsule.
Last month during the Melbourne Writers Festival, I went along to ‘Media Makers: Lit Mags, The New Breed’ – a thought-provoking discussion between editors Brigid Mullane of Kill Your Darlings and Ellena Savage of The Lifted Brow on the importance of lit mags in fostering the next generation of Australian writers.
Well-known writers such as Anais Nin, Tim Winton, Hannah Kent, Benjamin Law, Carmel Bird, Sophie Cunningham and many others have all cut their teeth through having their early work published in such magazines.
But independent lit mags have taken a hit recently through cuts to arts funding, with Brigid Mullane describing the implications as ‘potentially catastrophic’ for new writers. ‘You don’t just emerge and be Tim Winton,’ she said. ‘Someone helps and guides you along, and that’s what lit journals do.’
The emerging writer is like a sapling, pushing their way through to the forest canopy as they craft and hone their skills.