A Letter from the Editor
December 21st 2013
Welcome to Issue Eleven
It is over six months since I last sat down and composed a letter to StepAway Magazine readers. Following the publication of Issue Ten, we devoted our summer to the publication of Voicewalks, a collaboration with Durham University dedicated to the creative exploration of inner speech and voice hearing experiences within the context of walking in the city.
The project was a great success. It was a pleasure to work with the Hearing the Voice team at Durham. We were also proud to finally hold the first print copy of StepAway in our hands.
Voicewalks was launched at the Durham Book Festival. Contributors Adam Steiner, Martyn Halsall and Roz Oates read their work to a packed St. Chad’s Chapel, before Iain Sinclair delivered his keynote piece, ‘Scoring Silence’.
Following the launch, Voicewalks was distributed across the globe, from Yorkshire to Yerevan. The online collection received over 4,000 downloads.
We now look forward to our second special issue, an exploration of the streets of Fitzrovia, London. This project will form part of The University of Westminster’s Fitzrovia Atlas project and will be published on March 21st 2014. Submissions are now open.
2013 has also been a momentous year for past contributors to StepAway. Maureen Oliphant’s poem ‘Chained’ was published in the Human Rights Consortium’s poetry anthology. Many of our writers have published books. The most recent include Debotri Dhar’s Postcards from Oxford: Stories of Women and Travel, Adam Berlin’s The Number of Missing and Elvis Alves’s Bitter Melon. We wish the very best of luck to all of our writers who will publish or are planning to publish in 2014.
This year also saw one of the publication of one of the best walking books of the past decade: William Helmreich’s The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City. This awe inspiring study is more than a series of field reports delivered by one of the rare few individuals to have walked almost every block in the five boroughs. It is a celebration of urban wandering, a street level personal account of one man’s relationship with the city, and a vast footstep by footstep panorama of the metropolis in its glorious and ever shifting entirety.
In his introduction to The New York Nobody Knows, Professor Helmreich writes: “Walking is critical…because it gets you out there and lets you get to know the city up close. However, you cannot merely walk through a city to know it. You have to stop long enough to absorb what’s going on around you. And the only way to do that is to immerse yourself in it – spending as much time as possible in the streets…”
Professor Helmreich echoes the mission statement of every StepAway Magazine contributor. His study emphasises the importance of the walk, not only for the writer but for every urban wanderer who longs to understand the city in fine detail. In short, it is essential reading.
Princeton University Press kindly offered StepAway Magazine a number of copies of The New York Nobody Knows to share with our readers. To enter our NYNK competition please go to our Twitter account @stepawaymag and describe an urban walk in 140 characters or less. The authors of our favourite tweets will receive a complimentary copy of NYNK. The competition closes on January 31st 2014.
Turning our attention to Issue Eleven, we have a wonderful line-up of writers for our winter solstice publication: L.S. Bassen, Gabriella Brand, Lorraine Caputo, Joachim Frank, Anne Hugo, Lane Osborne, Margherita Ragg, Rouchswalwe, Steven Ray Smith, and Amy Schreibman Walter. Our cover art is courtesy of the New York based artist, Jean Shin. As part of her artistic process, Ms. Shin amasses large collections of a particular object. We found Worn Soles to be a most appropriate and striking choice for the StepAway cover.
As we descend into the depths of winter, may all of your cold weather walks end with a hot cup of tea or a dram of something stronger. Merry Christmas from everyone at StepAway Magazine. Here’s to a happy, peaceful and prosperous 2014.
Darren Richard Carlaw