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We all know the whims of lady luck. Looking back on 2014, most of us will have had our fair share of lucky breaks – and plenty of bad luck too. Here at Litro, we’ve had lots to be grateful for in the last year: the launch of our American website LitroNY.com, our three events at the Latitude Festival in the summer, the publication of our ebook anthology Transatlantic in the US, and, of course, all the wonderful writing that has passed through our pages and our website. But none of these came without their share of misfortunes and problems to be overcome. Nothing worthwhile ever does.
Litro #139 – No Such Luck – explores stories of failure, loss, disappointment, and some very, very bad luck. Here we have tales of failed relationships, homelessness, death and despair. And yet, somehow, there are still a few bright sparks of hope among the hardship and ill fortune. After all, every writer knows that it takes more than a little bad luck to break the human spirit.
We’re excited to have David Rose opening this issue with At Colonus, a broadside aimed at Boris Johnson’s recent campaign to eliminate rough sleeping. David’s Posthumous Stories is one of the best collections we’ve seen in recent years, and his contribution displays a masterful touch. What better way to follow it than with Simon Holloway’s Mosquitoes, a character study examining what it means to be left behind after your other half passes on.
Matthew Di Paoli offers a lighter interlude in The Cleaning Lady, a story of childhood obsession, stray dogs and oversized underwear. Then Kelly Creighton revisits an old lover – and a classic The Vaccines track – in Teenage Icon, unpicking the old adage that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Following that, Dominic Stevenson remembers the fallen of World War One, and the victims of the current economic crisis, with his poems I Was There and Bonfire Night Beneath the Stars.
Reece Choules tackles parental grief in Seen and Not Seen, as his narrator withdraws from life following a personal tragedy. Then tragedy is faced full-on in No Angels by Michelle Bracken, as she attempts to answer the question that has haunted mankind for millennia: what happens after death? In our last story, Lucy Durneen picks apart a failed affair in Wild Gestures, a piece that was highly commended in this year’s Manchester Fiction Prize. It’s easy to see why, as Lucy handles her tale of failed romance with grace, wit and imagination. Failure has never looked so colourful.
Finally, we talk to Colin Barrett, author of the critically acclaimed short story collection Young Skins. Colin has won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award – plus he’s recently been shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. We chat with him about his writing, his roots, and the importance of luck.
As 2015 looms large ahead, we have plenty to look forward to. We’ll be turning our gaze towards Mexico in the spring, while our Myths & Legends issue, due in March, will include the winner of this year’s IGGY & Litro Young Writers’ Prize. Throw in some unmissable live events, as well as some exciting news on the publication of our anthology in the UK, and 2015 is already full of promise. Let’s hope our luck stays good.