This is really hard to write, so here goes.
After six beautiful, intense, tiring, strange and magical years, Synaesthesia will be closing indefinitely from July 2019.
It’s been hard decision, but the right one. We’ve put so much love, energy, time (and money, lots of it) into running this brilliant magazine for so many years, that it can only feel like a success – even if it has to come to an end. Endings aren’t always failures, and Synaesthesia has never, ever failed at what it’s tried to do: encourage creativity, publish diverse and sensual work, and fostered good homes for writers and artists since its inception in 2012.
For so long, it was just the two of us (founders Carlotta and Annabelle): staying up late at night, sometimes into the early morning, editing and designing six issues a year. Six! We were new graduates back then and something in us burned for that manicness, that feeling that we were creating something bigger than us.
And we were. We went from receiving 10 submissions a month to more than 1,200 a year, six issues down to four, then two. We grew from a two-person team to three, then four, five, six. We published so many brilliant writers and artists, interviewing creators along the way like musician Chris Pureka, running annual competitions with guest judges Adam Marek, Mark Cugini and Lara Williams. We launched our first print issue – WE ARE WOMEN – at the Birmingham Literature Festival in 2017, attended panels and events. At one point, we were making enough money to cover our costs. We were living out our dream: run a successful literary magazine – and sustain it!
But this is where that thing called 'life' intervened, and time is no longer on our side. It takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work to run a literary magazine – and a lot of emotional investment. With full time jobs, with huge milestones in our lives that require that same amount of dedication and focus, we really have been burning the candle at both ends. And while that seems cliché, it has become increasingly difficult to be able to give Synaesthesia the time it deserves without moving mountains in our schedules or keeping our eyes open with matchsticks at the end of a day. We love reading, writing, replying to all of our artists, contributors, and supporters of the magazine – so we’re doing all of you a disservice if we can’t be there in the same way anymore.
So it’s bittersweet to call it a day – sweet because we know we’ve created something special, bitter because it has to come to an end. But it feels hopeful. Synaesthesia has given us a springboard in so many ways: it’s taught us how to be better writers, it’s opened doors to real-life jobs, given us new friendships and strengthened existing ones, and as readers, it’s shown us how strong the indie literary world is and how, more than ever, it needs our support. Literary magazines should be accessible. They have the capacity to be every writer’s first port of call, their first embrace into a difficult and joyful (and sometimes tiring) publishing world.
On a practical note, we’ll keep our archive open for as long as possible, and we’ll try to ensure it stays that way. Our email will stay open, though we won’t be monitoring it as often. We’ll still be around on social media. Our June series will be our last, so please read, enjoy and share.
And finally, lovely reader, if you’ve been around with us all these years, thank you. Support literary magazines, because they really do need you. Don’t just submit to them – read them. Choose one you love and donate £5, help them keep doing what they do best. They – and their writers and artists – are the future.
And, of course, keep writing with those senses.
Carlotta & Annabelle, Caroline, Hana and Kaz