"Murray is the best kind of literary biographer" – The Financial Times.
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Winner of the 2015 Basil Bunting Award for poetry

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Slightly Foxed

Back refreshed from my two weeks in Turkey and Greece the padded envelope spills out the latest issue of Slightly Foxed where you can read my short piece on Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals as well as many other interesting pieces such as Jeremy Noel-Tod taking a slightly sceptical line about W G Sebald. Slightly Foxed has the strap line "The Real Reader's Quarterly" which is reminiscent of another magazine called The Reader. Both seem to assume that there is such a thing as a "reader" which the people who read more self-consciously literary or intellectual periodicals are presumably not. I can't fathom this odd premiss but that doesn't matter, because Foxed is a a good read and is good at resurrecting sometimes neglected classics.

After torrential rain on Monday in Saloniki it was nice to get back to sunny English weather.


Chris Routledge said...

Ah, there's a history here. According to the ancient myths and stories "The real reader's quarterly ..." sub-heading appeared as a deliberate attempt to distinguish Slightly Foxed from The Reader magazine, which has been around a bit longer. Of course The Reader magazine is just one part of an organisation that does outreach work, literary events--including the 'Shipping Lines' festival in Liverpool this autumn--and research. It promotes reading as a beneficial and worthwhile activity in a variety of contexts, such as prisons, hospitals and so on. So The Reader Organisation as a whole represents readers and reading in ways that a magazine, with a fairly limited constituency, cannot hope to achieve on its own. I hope that helps clear that up--and congratulations to the Slightly Foxed folk on another good-looking issue (I haven't read it yet).

Nicholas Murray said...

Thanks, Chris, for that useful clarification. Promoting reading, particularly amongst those not in the habit of it, is clearly a Good Thing so well done The Reader. I thought I had detected the faintly sickly odour of populism and I am glad to have been proved wrong.

Mark Thwaite said...

Always good to be pointed to an article of yours Nick, but I must admit I've always found something off-putting about Slightly Foxed. There always seem to be something snobbish about that byline too...

Don't get me wrong, this has nothing to do with the writers that SF covers (ReadySteadyBook would be in the front of the queue for "elitism" if that is what I had in mind!) It is more to do with the tone of the whole thing which seems to wallow in a kind of nostalgic bibliophilia which I find difficult to square with engaged, critical reading.

Tom Cunliffe said...

Well, I love Slightly Foxed, not least for its production values - beautiful paper and cover! I can understand what Mark says though, but sometimes its nice to read something slightly less critically.