In her creative writing MasterClass series, Margaret Atwood, critically acclaimed author of The Handmaid’s Tale, Alias Grace, and Oryx and Crake, talks about the classic fairytale, Little Red Riding Hood. To inspire her pupils to think of stories in a different way, she proposes a new opening sentence: ‘It was dark inside the wolf.’
It’s these switches in structure and experimentation with narrative voice, setting, imagery, and characterisation that turn stories on their head. From the outset, I wanted Silk + Smoke to be a haven for just that, for the stories that don’t bend to fit any one genre or traditional style but pull us into their own strange worlds.
Silk + Smoke is a home for the horrors that make you flinch and recoil away from the page, for the post-apocalyptic thrillers that flush a chill through your veins, for the comedies that have you laughing out-loud on the train to work, for the personal essays that lay the soul bare, for the words cherry-picked and weaved together into lyrical poetry, and for the dialogue handcrafted into scripts.
This magazine started in December 2018 as nothing more than a Twitter page and some half-baked ideas. We received nearly 200 pieces in our first call from submissions and now the very first issue has finally arrived.
Thank you to the contributors, who wrestled and pulled their ideas from their mind to the page, for making this first issue possible.
– Sophie McNaughton