A Letter from the Editor
March 21st 2016
Welcome to Issue 20 of StepAway Magazine.
I’m pleased to report that StepAway Magazine is five years old today.
In the opening to my first editorial on March 21st 2011, I posed the question: ‘who was the first writer to bring a city to life for you?’ I then discussed Blake’s ‘London’ and how, for me, the poem forged a connection between the urban present and the past, capturing that fear and fascination I experienced when walking in the city as a young boy.
I then namedropped Baudelaire, Benjamin and Poe, flâneurs all, before moving on to twentieth century literary wanderers, such as Frank O’Hara, whose New York walking poem ‘A Step Away from Them’ inspired the title and content of this magazine. ‘This is where StepAway Magazine begins,’ I announced hopefully.
Five years later, when asked ‘which writers bring a city to life for you?’ my answer is simple. For me, the writers featured in this magazine capture the true essence of what it means to walk in a city. Their approach is always fresh, innovative and, most importantly, transportive. Each issue makes me want to lace up my walking shoes and explore the streets. StepAway Magazine owes a great deal to its writers and cover artists, and now is a more than appropriate time to say a heartfelt thank you.
The past five years have flown, and we’ve achieved a great deal. We’ve won a Walking Visionaries Award, which was presented to us in Vienna. We’ve worked with Durham University’s Hearing the Voice Project to create Voicewalks, a creative exploration of inner speech within the context of walking in the city. We’ve celebrated the streets of Fitzrovia with the University of Westminster. We’ve been part of Newcastle’s Festival of Belonging, thanks to Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts and Trashed Organ. And let’s not forget the publication of twenty issues showcasing the work of well over one hundred and fifty new and established writers.
One of the greatest pleasures of working as StepAway editor is being offered the opportunity to share the work of undiscovered writers. In our twentieth issue I am proud to publish a poem by Ruth Nyimba. I met Ms. Nyimba when working on a project for Newcastle City Council. Born and raised in Malawi, she is a prolific writer and a burgeoning talent. I look forward to learning of her future successes as she takes her first steps into a literary world that can only benefit from her honest and deeply moving poetic reading of everyday life.
Issue 20 also provides a worthy home for the work of a startlingly talented set of writers, including: Caroline Boobis, María Castro Domínguez, Sally Long, Ilona Martonfi, Luke Otley, Sue Spiers, Nicole Taylor and Norma Wilow.
Our cover photograph comes courtesy of Roberto Conte. Based in Monza / Milan, Mr. Conte is an architectural photographer whose work has featured in La Repubblica and the Wall Street Journal, amongst others. I was struck by the profound manner in which Mr. Conte captures singularity in an image – how each shot is a meditation on form or pattern. The cover photograph itself is in fact taken indoors, at the Bauhaus Museum in Dessau, Germany. The spectral shadow of the walker, present yet a step away from view, proves an ideal fit for this issue. Mr Conte’s portfolio is as intriguing as it is unmissable, and can be found on his website, with a broader selection of photographs available on Facebook.
Before signing off, I would like to say one last thank you to our dedicated readers. Our readership has grown massively over the past five years, and with your support the magazine continues to go from strength to strength.
Enjoy Issue 20!
Darren Richard Carlaw