Click here for Issue Twenty

> kill author: 2009–2012

This was > kill author, an online literary journal. It ran from June 2009 to August 2012, publishing a new collection of fiction and poetry every two months. We made it to twenty issues and then stopped. It’s always a good idea not to outstay your welcome.

Despite our name, we didn’t really want to murder authors. We just wanted writing that took risks: words that surprised us, shocked us and roused us from our slumber. We sought writing that was vital and urgent, sometimes even bruised and raw. All heart and liver, guts and spleen.

Issue titles: a non-explanation

Every issue of > kill author was subtitled with the surname of a deceased writer—though despite what lots of readers thought, the choice of subject had absolutely no bearing on the content. It was merely a different way of titling each issue. Please remember that as you browse the archive.

The journal’s title was inspired by The Death Of The Author, a work by the French philosopher and literary critic Roland Barthes, whose name graced our first issue. We completely agreed with the criticism he makes in his essay—that readers rely far too much on their knowledge of an author’s personality in an attempt to try and gain some meaning from a work. Barthes’ preference was that the meaning should come only from the impression left in the reader’s mind by the words on the page, rather than from the identity of the writer. That was our preference throughout the twenty issues of > kill author, too.

Masthead: an explanation

Our masthead was as follows: we were who we were, and no more. As the editors of this journal, we originally took the decision to remain anonymous. We had our reasons. Read this explanatory statement, published shortly after our first issue in 2009, to find out what they were.

[In our final issue, we revealed that there was in fact just one editor. The last introduction explained more. If you’re curious to know the identity of the editor, you can find that information here, but it’s really not very important—and certainly shouldn’t take priority over the work of more than four hundred writers published by this journal during its lifetime.]