Dear John…

November 2nd, 2014

We are living in an age when we are more likely to fire off an email or a quick text than to commit pen to paper and post a letter.

Now, a new literary journal at The University of Nottingham is reflecting on the timeless art of letter writing — in whatever format it happens to take.

The Letters Page, which saw its first edition published this month, is edited by Jon McGregor, bestselling Nottingham author and Professor of Creative Writing (Writer in Residence) in the School of English.

The journal was launched by Vice-Chancellor Professor David Greenaway, who symbolically posted out printed copies, as well as sending the first pdf version to subscribers via email.

Professor McGregor said: “Letters are the oldest form of writing, and a key part of literary culture. Through The Letters Page, I hope we can explore what letter writing means to writers and readers today. After a lot of work behind the scenes, I’m very excited by the first issue.”

The Letters Page came about when Professor McGregor began to explore the possibility of creating a new literary journal through a blog.

He invited responses in the form of handwritten letters sent through the post.

Professor McGregor said: “The medium became the message, and the idea of The Letters Page — a literary journal in letters — was born. Most of the letters we received were legible, most of the letters had something interesting to say about letter writing; a select few stood out, I felt, as fine pieces of writing regardless of form.

“In future we will be taking that ‘regardless of form’ to heart and looking for fine pieces of writing — essays, stories, poems, memoir, travelogue, reportage —which just happen to fit the generous parameters of the letter format.”

The first issue features correspondence from as far afield as Canada and the US, Spain, France, Germany, Cyprus and the Republic of Ireland.

Submissions are now open for the second issue, loosely based around the theme of penpals.

The development of a new literary journal for creative writing was one of Professor McGregor’s key missions when joining the University. The journal will act as a vehicle for students to learn about reading and editing and assessing high quality work.

To download the current issue of the The Letters Page, subscribe, and find out how to submit your writing, visit
Twitter: @TheLettersPage

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