We had the honour of being on a panel discussion with The Tangerine Magazine, a magazine of new writing, in the Writer’s Centre recently. We spoke to its editor Tara McEvoy about it.
Can you tell us about the origins of The Tangerine?
The Tangerine is a Belfast-based magazine of new writing, and includes fiction, non-fiction, poetry and artwork. It’s published in print three times a year, with certain features available online. The team includes Michael Nolan (Fiction Editor), Caitlin Newby (Poetry Editor), Padraig Regan (Contributing Editor), Matthew Morete (Design Editor), and myself. We launched the magazine two years ago, to offer a space for experimentation and boldness; for fresh creative work and thoughtful critical discourse.
What balance do you strive for in terms of ‘new writing’ from the North and elsewhere?
We’re Belfast-based, and one of our initial aims for the magazine was to offer a platform for the range of extraordinary work being produced in the North, which was something we felt was lacking. But we also try to make the magazine as open and inclusive as possible, and accept submissions from writers and artists worldwide.
You also include photo essays and illustration in your issue. How important is the visual aspect of the magazine?
Artwork has been of integral importance to the magazine. We’re interested in the resonances between illustration, photography, and artwork, and have been lucky to work with some fantastic artists – and a great designer.
Do you get any support to produce The Tangerine?
Before our first issue, we ran a Kickstarter campaign to help us raise funds to get the magazine off the ground, and we were blown away by the generosity of our backers. Since then, we’ve continued to be overwhelmed by the support people in Belfast and further afield have given us. We rely on advertising and sales – so every single copy that’s sold makes a difference, and helps us to produce the next issue.
What other publications have been a source of inspiration for The Tangerine?
We’re inspired by the rich heritage of literary magazine publishing in the North – from The Honest Ulsterman to the Gown Literary Supplement to Fortnight – as well the diverse and exciting journals coming out of the South at the moment: The Stinging Fly, gorse, Banshee, The Well Review, Paper Visual Art, and The Dublin Review, to name a few.
Three writers/creatives from the North who are exciting you right now?
It’s hard to pick out just three people, but these three writers spring to mind: Stephen Sexton, recent Eric Gregory Award-winner, whose début collection is due in 2019; Susannah Dickey, whose pamphlet, I had some very slight concerns, is available now from the Lifeboat press; and Wendy Erskine, whose first short story collection, Sweet Home, was launched earlier this month (The Stinging Fly Press). They’re some of the finest writers Belfast has to offer.
What are the most exciting cultural developments in Belfast right now?
It’s a great time for the arts in Belfast, from literature to visual art and music. For several years, The Lifeboat reading series has been an unmissable fixture on the poetry scene, and the team behind it (our friends Stephen Connolly and Manuela Moser) are leading lights in publishing in the city, too, having founded their own press. Recent pamphlets by Joe Lines and Anna Loughran are exemplary of the daring and important work they produce. Accidental Theatre is the place to go for innovative new work by emerging playwrights.
A group of creatives have taken over a tower block and transformed it into a vibrant arts space: Vault Artist Studios. Framewerk, an independent arts gallery on the Newtownards Road, regularly programme brilliant shows and film screenings, and the team there are currently working towards opening a feminist-led queer art space, The 343: a superb initiative. Its proprietor, Dawn Richardson, is one of a number of club night organisers/DJs making waves in the city with the collective Hatecrimes. The fun-filled Ponyhawke and GIRL deserve a mention too. Speaking of collectives, the illustrators behind UsFolk are adding a splash of colour to the city.
Issue six, Autumn 2018 is out now, £14 (inc. postage), £17 (inc. tote bag)
Words: Michael McDermott