Birkbeck's Square journals are shaping up

Final year Birkbeck BA Creative Writing students begin work on annual 44 Square and 45 Square publications to showcase new work.

Birkbeck students in the final year of Creative Writing BA courses are switching from their own compositions to tackle the demands of editing, designing and publishing literary journals.

They are turning their attention to two annual sister publications 44 Square, featuring fiction and non-fiction prose, and 45 Square, a journal of poetry, providing an opportunity for students at the end of their degrees to help develop the work of younger writers.

The publications, which first emerged in 2011, nod to the School of Art’s historic Bloomsbury address at 43-46 Gordon Square and celebrate the area’s lengthy literary tradition, including its famous association with the Bloomsbury Group of intellectuals, writers and artists such as Virginia Woolf and John Maynard Keynes, who lived in 46 Gordon Square during the first half of the 20th century.

Katherine Angel, author and lecturer in Creative Writing, said: “This project is the culmination of both editorial and industry-focused strands of the BACW. It develops students’ understanding of all aspects of the publishing process, including the commissioning, editing, design, production and launch of a journal. It is a complex and often hugely rewarding endeavour with which to round off the degree.”

Christina Baum, literary translator and editor of 44 Square Journal, said: “One of the great things about being a literary translator is how it leads me to new writers. It’s been fantastic being part of this publishing project and investing in new talent here at Birkbeck. Having them launch their debuts in the Keynes Library at the launch event is particularly special.”

Lorna Menzie, a teacher and editor of 45 Square Journal, said: “It has been a great chance to broaden our skillsets beyond the development of our own writing and to help sharpen our editorial judgments.”

The launch event for both the 44 Square and 45 Square journals will take place in the Keynes Library on Thursday 7 June with selected readings to an audience of Birkbeck peers as well as staff, editors, and agents.

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