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Ideas. Writing. Culture.

02 Mar '15

MONA and Island Magazine propose a literary partnership.

Posted by Kate Harrison

MONA founder David Walsh and Island magazine editor Matthew Lamb announced today that they are to form a literary partnership. 

In an introductory note to the next issue of Island - due out in late March - Walsh writes: ‘my lust for literature, and my lust for collecting, has led me to seek a trophy journal.’

Lamb and Walsh see the partnership as essentially using MONA as a framing device to help put Island magazine on show, to help amplify its explorations of all aspects of literary culture. So if Island is seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of MONA. 

Each issue will be like a miniature fringe exhibition of ideas, words and images. Island will retain its creative autonomy and intellectual independence. MONA will be invited to submit bespoke content and ideas for Island to consider. Together the partners are taking their first big risk: starting with the next issue Island will become a print-only magazine, with no digital edition, and no online content from the magazine.  

There will still be a website through which to subscribe to the magazine or to locate retailers, but essentially, like any museum exhibit, the audience is asked to engage with the physical experience of the magazine as a print-artefact.

Lamb said he first approached Walsh after seeing The Red Queen exhibition in 2013 that explored the reasons behind why homo sapiens make art, because ‘it became clear to me that MONA is built primarily on ideas. And those ideas derive, in no small part, from David’s love of reading, of writing, of books, and of libraries.’ 

‘Whether this will be a long relationship is difficult to predict,’ Walsh writes, in his introductory note. ‘Of more significance is whether it is consensual: am I raping Island? Was Island in such a parlous predicament that it had to bend over and take one from me, all the time thinking of Tasmania?’   

Lamb replies: ‘Did we bend over and take one from Walsh? That’s not entirely true. We were  standing up against a wall at the time. I like to think, in that way, we have retained our dignity.’ 

Island is one of Australia’s leading literary magazines, a print-only quarterly of ideas, writing and culture. Based in Hobart, Tasmania, Island has been evolving within Australia’s media ecology for the past 35 years. 
Island 140 will be published on 30 March 2015.