I was lucky enough to be sent a few copies of The A3 Review to...well, review.
The A3 Review is a prose and poetry magazine set up by Writing Maps, a company that create tiny writing prompt sheets in the design of maps - each one designed to help you with a specific area of writing, like characterisation - I'm personally going to get a copy of the City Map, to help me work out the geography of the steampunk city in my new collection.
The A3 Review is set up in a similar way - rather than turning the pages like a traditional magazine, you unfold this one slowly, with each panel containing a piece of fiction or poetry. It's a really cool little trick - I felt like I was discovering new pieces of a puzzle as I delved deeper into the magazine.
I was given both the Orange and Purple issues of A3 to review, and it's a real credit to the magazine's slush readers and editors that both issues have a very distinct feel. The Orange Issue features more prose poetry than the Purple, and so, as you unfurl the issue and discover more pieces, there's a real feeling of shifting through snapshot moments, rather than traditional 3-act stories. There's a real poignant, longing feel to the issue, especially in stories like Pam Bridgeman's "Curlews, Outer Hebrides" and "Fireside" by Jessica Cummings. A lot of the stories involve distance, either physical or emotional. I'm not a fan of "list poems" - I think it can be used as a crutch, especially in spoken word - but Tania Hershman's "I Instruct" is beautiful; at once demanding and pleading, especially in its repeated closing lines.
The Purple Issue, on the other hand, has more flash fiction, which was obviously a plus for me, but since these pieces were picked from a selection of competitions, the delicate running tone was missing from this issue. Still, the stories themselves still feature the snapshot quality that flash fiction brings - a ton of depth and emotion being conveyed in a tiny amount of words. Jennifer Cox's "A Constellation of Seeds" is a gentle moving story about a parent and child learning to understand each other, and "Tornado Warning" by "Ingrid Jendrzejewski's tale of blossoming childhood rivalry is somehow deeply sinister, despite its short length and simple story.
All in all, I was really happy to have been given the chance to discover this little magazine - the writing is of a high quality, it's great to find a magazine that caters to shorter fiction, and the innovative design immerses you in a way I didn't expect - unfurling like flower petals (or the pages of a map) to reveal treasures within.
You can learn more about A3, The Writing Maps, and how to buy issues at their website.
Musings on my life as a writer.