Litro 175: Desire

Desire


 
 
 

 
 
 

Some of these writers featured in this issue speak of the desires of the body, of the flesh. Some speak more to a body politic or “real” politic. They all, including the poetic writer and translator Lawrence Schimel whose prose sparkles and sears with the heat of eroticsm; Chika Onyenezi who brings us nostalgic longings; Hannah Seidlitz whose melancholic desire sings; and Ingrid Norton who offers us dreamy prose, contribute dutifully and beautifully to this exploration of this most basic and complicated thing we all share: desire. Remember their names as, over time, you’ll want to grab more of their work.




Litro 174: Freedom



How free are we, anyway? How free will we be for how much longer? Philosophically, are we subservient to the laws of physics – is free will an illusion? – politically and socially, can we do what we like, or are we chained by higher powers that would restrict us ever further? This issue is off and about freedom, while we’ve still got it.
 





Litro 167: Faith & Faithlessness


This edition of Litro Magazine asks the questions what does it mean to have faith? Can we live without faith? But faith in what? Faith in God or the gods, or faith in humanity, in ourselves? (Are these mutually exclusive?) Faith in our country, in our political leaders (surely not)? Faith in love, or (seemingly so often) faith in hate? Or faith in reason, in science; faith in faithlessness?





Litro 173: Comedy



This edition of Litro Magazine aims to bring a little brightness and laughter to dark times and winter months, with an edition of comedy.
 





Litro 172: Addiction



Seems like everyone’s addicted to something: whether it’s merely caffeine or chocolate or tobacco, or whether it’s alcohol, or drugs from moreish prescription medications to legal highs to illicit substances from the softest weed to the hardest crack or smack…
 





Litro 171: Summer



For this summery issue of Litro Magazine our call for submissions wasn’t limited to a particular theme – we threw wide our doors for writers’ best work on any subject matter, to let them surprise us – and so the issue that emerges is a bit of a mix, even more so than usual, ranging from the serious to the playful, covering dark matters and silly games.
 





Litro 170: Back of the Bus


This issue’s theme, “The Back of the Bus”, though fairly open to interpretation – the back of the bus might be where the cool kids sit on the way to school – inevitably calls to mind the American civil rights movement’s struggle against the injustices of racial segregation and one woman’s action to insist on a basic human right. It was only sixty-three years ago, on 1 December 1955, that Rosa Parks made history in Montgomery, Alabama by refusing to give up her seat for a white man and go sit in the segregated area of a bus. Tis act of defiance would change the course of American history and earn her the title “mother of the civil rights movement”.


 

Within this month’s pages of Litro we have a bit of a mix: stories and essays more directly engaged with race and politics rub shoulders with stuff a bit more oddball. On the one hand, Kate LaDew’s “Jo Ann Robinson” is a creative non-fiction about the life and work of another great civil-rights activist; Paola Trimarco’s essay “The Broadway 36” remembers 1970s bus rides through what King had called “the most segregated city in America”; Rebecca Ruth Gould’s essay “Jim Crow in Jerusalem” explores parallels between racial segregation in modern-day occupied Palestine and Israel and in Jim Crow America; and LaMarr Tomas’s short story “A Harsh Spring Light” is about the pain and humiliation a black high-school senior is made to feel during history lessons about America’s greatest sin.
All these explicitly political pieces sit in comfortable contrast alongside stranger stories like Jonathan Covert’s “We Pick Karen”, an unusual take on office politics, envy and competition, or Elizabeth de la Forêt’s “Don’t Google Me”, in which a fifty-one-year-old woman comes unexpectedly into her heyday. Chris Di Placito’s “Animal Kingdom” follows a guy just released from prison on his bus journey back into freedom– or is it freedom? – and Han Smith’s elliptical “Reproduction Furniture” explores the aftermath of a horrible but everyday encounter on a bus. In a story set in Nigeria, “The Fulani Damsel”, by Jef Unaegbu, the narrator impulsively jumps of the bus and into another culture, to be entranced by it; and, returning to the theme we started at, in an exclusive extract from Michael Nath’s forth-coming novel The Treatment, about a fictionalised version of the Stephen Lawrence murder, a woman police officer goes undercover in a gang of racists.

And for another culture and perspective, our cover and photo series this month is “Life in Kashmir from a bus stop”,
by Lauren Stewart.




Litro 169: South Korea, finding the soul in Seoul



Finding the soul in Seoul is Litro’s newest body of captivating stories from the Korean peninsula, showcasing writing by Korean authors, including those from diaspora communities who write in languages other than Korean. As in so many countries, the canon of modern Korean literature has long been dominated by men. However, Korea’s extraordinary flourishing of contemporary writing has been led by women, who frequently dominate domestic prize lists and have had the biggest success abroad. So in edition we give a platform to these women whose stories cement the female experience in the fullest sense of the term – aware that there are no issues, political, societal, artistic or philosophical, that are not also women’s issues – we aim to show how Korean women are ‘grabbing back’ the canon and writing themselves into literary history. .
 


 

The Haenyeo are believed to be the last of the mermaids; an ancient tradition where the women harvest the ocean from childhood into old age. Their story is about the breath of life or ‘Sumbi’ and the breath of death or ‘Mulsum’. A fishing girl models their life in an underwater dance, shown here wearing a jeogori made from net and a crown made from a mask.
Our cover artist is Zena Holloway, Photographer, Zena Holloway, works almost exclusively underwater the technical aspects of working in water combined with superb creative direction increases the striking imagery she captures. In this edition Zena’s series titled Sea Women accompanies “Sea Mothers”, by Janet Hong, a beautiful poetic dive into the lives of the haenyeo, or Korean sea-women divers.

The issue opens with South Korean author and translator Bae Suah, whose writing departs from the tradition of mainstream literature; she has created her own literary world based on a unique style and a knack for psychological description. She gives us here a surreal tale of a writer and a dog, “While a Tibetan Dog Howled”.
Anton Hur’s essay “How to Write Queer Korean Lit: A Manual” does what its title promises.

We have five poems by the classic early-twentieth-century avant-garde Korean writer Yi Sang.
And we present an extract from Mary Lynn Bracht’s novel White Chrysanthemum (Chatto & Windus), in which the heartbreaking history of Korea and of its “comfort women” is brought to life in a moving and redemptive debut that follows two sisters separated by World War II.

There’s art by Kyung Eun You, “Where Are We Now”, a series of linoleum print cuts in comic-strip format, dealing with the loss of the artist’s mother and her father’s depression and alcoholism, in an immigrant family in the United States.

Edward Howell’s essay “South Korea is what North Korea is not” explores the differences between those two nations. Moving into sf territory, “Are You Gonna Keep This Up?”, by Park Min-gyu, looks at a brief almost-friendship on a doomed earth, while a flash fiction by Kangmyoung Chang, “Highly Personal Superpowers”, offers a not-so-heroic take on the superhero genre.

Unidentified Flying Objects”, by Samantha Kim Rogers, explores a Korean American girl’s relationship with her ill father and his work.

The Little Hedgehog”, by LP Lee, offers a fable of North–South relations in the Korean peninsula. “Sea Mothers”, by Janet Hong, accompanied by beautiful underwater photography by Zena Holloway, is a poetic dive into the lives of the haenyeo, or Korean sea-women divers.

And for online extras, go to litro.co.uk to find two longer stories: Yun Ko-eun’s Sweet Escape”, a Kafkaesque piece about an obsessive battle with bedbugs, and Choi Jae-hoon’sAn Untold Case of Sherlock Holmes”, in which the great detective investigates the murder of a certain famous writer…




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  • Full-page ad in Litro print magazine
  • 1+2 guests invitation for exclusive World Series event in London and New York
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  • Full-page ad in Litro print magazine
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  • Full access to the Litro digital archive
  • Litro tote bag
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