Editor: Dan Burgess
Genre: Magazine, Fiction, Poetry, Art
Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“Firewords is an independent literary magazine packed full of powerful fiction and poetry – all enhanced by bold design.”
Due to various reasons, it has taken slightly longer than planned to release this edition of the magazine. However, the time is finally here and we think the wait has been well worth it.
As well as seeing another record round of submissions, this edition of Firewords has us working with more talented artists and illustrators than ever before. They have used their artistic skills to bring each piece of writing to life in a unique and striking way.
The theme of this issue is Change, a topic we picked a while ago but, after recent events, has acquired even more significance. Change can be something a lot of people struggle to embrace but it often makes for the best stories. The short stories and poems published in this issue may make you laugh or cry, and there’s even a chance they may just change you. Enjoy!
This is the first issue of Firewords Quarterly I have read, and it was recommend to me because I am a writer. As well as being a great read for people looking for short fiction, flash fiction, and poetry, Firewords is ideal for writers to draw inspiration from and to consider submitting work to. It’s not a very long magazine, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should read it in one sitting. I have dipped in and out of it, and read one or two pieces each sitting.
I wasn’t ‘gripped’ as it were, from the beginning, but the more I read, the better the content got. Reading short stories isn’t something I do very often, and this magazine is a great way to get into reading them. The authors’ aren’t well known, but the quality of their writing is as good as any in my opinion. They are imaginative and go beyond the theme of Change. They play with what we know, and really capture the essence of how short stories can make readers feel.
The character representation throughout the stories is excellent. On more than one occasion there are stories with LGBT+ characters. But the subtly of these characters is what impressed me, and I don’t know why I didn’t expect it! There was even a story involving an imaginary friend, and anyone who knows me knows that they are my favourite kind of stories.
The poetry, however, didn’t affect me that much. The final one, and the piece that closes the issue, is the one I loved the most. I find it difficult to understand poetry, but when they include lines that are just right, that’s when I can say I enjoyed a poem.
The artwork is very impressive, and works with the piece to enhance the reading of it. The artists have clearly read the fiction and poetry, and been inspired to create unique and befitting illustrations to accompany the work. The art brings the writing to life, and I’m so glad there’s a little literary magazine that includes this element. I’ll definitely be buying future issues.
The magazine also includes a section dedicated to flash fiction. In each issue, there will be two prompts: the one which has writing inspired by it included in the issue, and a prompt for writers to be inspired by and submit their writing to the next issue. The guideline for this is that the flash fiction must be under 400 words. I really enjoyed this section, and the final one, Bedtime Story by Damien Mckeating, gave me chills.
From Lightning Flowers (short story) by Andrea Stephenson, p. 13.
“I was so shy that I could barely speak to anyone. Every choice I made was so that I could avoid doing anything that would scare me or make me feel uncomfortable.”
From The Great Beauty (short story) by Annie Zhu, p. 24.
“At the moment, he is everything to me. Life has become simpler since his opinion became the only one that counts.”
From There Stands a Man Skipping Stones (poem) by Alex Andrew Hughes
“There’s one person out there who sees
two lives entwined, who no matter how far
apart always come back together.
Although that same person also sees
two unfortunate souls bound together
unable to separate.”
For writers who want to submit creative work:
Submissions for short stories and poetry (under 2000 words) are accepted via the Firewords website.
Link to the magazine on Goodreads: