On Saturday 26th September, I was at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh for its annual ‘By Leaves We Live’ event, a book fair celebrating poetry and visual art, particularly the crossover between the two. I sat all day behind the Magma stall. I sold subscriptions and individual copies of the magazine and collected names of new subscribers to the Magma newsletter. However, most of the time was spent in conversation. I’ve no idea how many people I talked with throughout the day, but it was a lot!
Many visual artists were displaying books, some of them quite exquisite, as you can see from this small selection from the Artist Book Group.
A few publishers also had stalls, including Red Squirrel Press, who were represented by Sheila Wakefield and one other person who must have slipped off for a coffee when this photo was taken. They also had another little helper sitting on top of their table.
Individual artists and poets had stalls too, including Kona Macphee (published in Magma 43) who is donating all money raised from sales of her Bloodaxe collection, Tails, to UNICEF (find out more from her site).
I’d thought that spending a whole day behind a stall might have become boring, but it was entirely the opposite. There were nearly always people gathered around the Magma stall. It was great to meet existing readers, others who were interested in the magazine, and even some whose work had appeared in it. We sold quite a few copies of Magma 44 and many people signed up for the e-newsletter. During the rare quiet moments, there were always Francesca and Giovanna (pictured below with me) from 20X20 magazine to talk to.
Thanks to the fine people at the SPL for making it such an enjoyable event, for the endless supplies of coffee, and for inviting Magma to be part of things. Also, thanks to Peggy for permission to use her excellent photographs.