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'Pub Trivia' is where we get to know our favourite Australian publications a bit better by firing off some quick questions at them.
This week we speak to Ben Walter from Picton Grange about Very Specific criticism, how "quarterly" can be more philosophical than you'd think, and having a print run of three copies.
So, what is Picton Grange?
The Picton Grange Quarterly Review is a literary magazine printed in a run of three copies. We offer them for free on Facebook and Twitter, so long as readers are willing to abide by the rules: to offer in turn the copy they have received on their own social networks within 48 hours of receiving it. We like to think that over time, this gives it a bigger circulation than Meanjin, but they probably just end up down the back of people's couches.
When did you start?
We printed our first issue in early 2014, and have just released our ninth. “Quarterly” is a state of mind.
Who is Picton Grange for?
For people who are just enough interested in good writing to take the bait when they see it offered by a friend. This is often someone who isn't a regular reader of mainstream literary magazines. Paradoxically, the low print run means that it is more likely to reach unlikely readers.
If the publication were to recommend a book to its readers, what would that be?
The Mattering of Matter: Documents from the Archive of the International Necronautical Society, by Tom McCarthy, Simon Critchley and others.
There's a lot to like in McCarthy's writing more generally, but his society represents the kind of fascinating, nonsensical way of doing things that we are all over.
What's the best feedback you've had on the mag?
We have been described by one reader as the most hipster literary journal in Australia.
What's the weirdest criticism the publication's received?
Being described by one reader as the most hipster literary journal in Australia.
More commonly, people express good-natured exasperation at missing out on a copy – usually, we sell out our print run in about ten minutes.
Tell us something people don't usually know about Picton Grange.
The limited availability of Picton Grange is at the heart of its questionable success. So I tend to keep it secret that I fulfil my legal deposit requirements, giving a fourth copy of every issue to the State Library of Tasmania.
When's the next one out?
It is time to do something more interesting, so our forthcoming issue will be the final one – we have filled it with a short story by Robbie Arnott, and will of course release it quarterly.
The designer Nick Gross and I are also considering releasing an omnibus edition as a book next year.
Where can readers find you?
For a selection of past content, see The New Tasmanian Fiction, which highlights many of the stories published in our early issues.
Banner credit: Lali Masrlera, Flickr
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