Valve and Octavius: two literary magazines giving students a space to write

The two Scottish writing publications have sprung from the minds of creative writing students and graduates

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Valve and Octavius: two literary magazines giving students a space to write

BOOM! Hear that? It’s the explosion of student literary magazines, and it wants you. Two of the brightest, shiniest new magazines are Valve and Octavius, both started by students at Scottish universities. Kirsty Logan speaks to the editors about why they decided to launch new magazines alongside the responsibilities of their uni work.

‘We all studied journalism, as well as creative writing, and people’s first response was always, “do you write for the student newspaper, then?” There was never the same response to creative writing,’ says Charlene Moore from Octavius. ‘We wanted to take student writing out of Word files and desk drawers and show just how much new literary talent there is in Scotland.’

Valve had a more formal academic beginning: ‘Valve was started for our Creating a Literary Journal class,’ says Gabriella Bennett (pictured). ‘It gives a voice to work of an experimental nature – whether in terms of structure, content or theme – from brand new, unpublished writers as well as well-known names.’

So you’re ready: there’s space for a student magazine at your uni, and you’re the one to fill it. What do you need to know? ‘Organisation is key,’ advises Gabriella. ‘From keeping a “tidy house” in our email inbox (folders, sub-folders and sub-sub-folders all exist!) to working out costs from printers and liaising with publishers, to booking performers and venues for showcase and fundraisers, to weekly meetings with the editorial team to sourcing designers for cover art work and typesetting … the Valve diary is very well-thumbed!’

Charlene notes the importance of good design – and of a sense of humour. ‘We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and have fun with our image and marketing – our custom artwork, by Roberto Poliri of Forevermore Tattoo Parlour, has been a particular talking point!’

So what’s next? Gabriella has big plans: ‘The future of Valve is a big, unwritten book that smells exciting and wordy.’ Charlene, too, knows exactly what she wants for Octavius’ future: ‘When a student tells someone that they write, we’d love if that person’s first response is, “do you write for Octavius, then?”’

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