BCN INK RIP
The New Year has kicked off with the recent loss of one of the most interesting, eccentric, successful and downright Quixotic publishing ventures ever launched in Catalonia (and there have been a few). Barcelona INK, the city's only literary magazine in English – ever - has gone the way of all pulp. The miracle, perhaps, is that it lasted as long as it did, given that it was a print publication, edited, produced and distributed by a lone entrepreneur (the poet Ryan Chandler). Starting in 2009, Ryan managed to put out a total of eleven issues of the magazine, packed with short stories by a huge range of English language writers connected in some way with Barcelona or Catalonia (Rupert Thomson, Steve Toltz, Colm Toibín, Philip Levine...) as well as numerous interviews and literary essays, and translations from novelists and poets writing in Catalan or Spanish. There was a women's issue put out by, well, women, with a cover design by New York punk poet Lydia Lunch; and there was an extremely successful noir issue which nobody suspected at the time would herald the magazine's demise. In short, Barcelona INK was an attractively packaged and rigorously edited magazine that filled a previously undiscovered niche: that of literary creation and translation in English in one of Europe's most visited – yet little-known - cities.
Not that it's all been beer and skittles. Bookshops stocking the magazine would fail to let the editor know when it had sold out - which it often did, despite a fairly hefty 6€ price tag - obliging him to keep tabs on them through numerous phone calls and then rushing over with a new batch of copies whenever required (the exception was the more efficient Laie café-bookstore, which is why he now won't go anywhere else for a coffee). When he eventually published a book-length anthology – 'The Best of Barcelona INK' (2012) – he was rightfully astonished to find that nobody in the UK had any interest in reviewing it and, indeed, did not so much as return his emails. The following year, even though he had edited and laid out an excellent issue #12 of Barcelona INK, Ryan's patience didn't stretch to going through the whole presentation/distribution mill again, and he finally decided to consign it to the internet, where it hangs to this day. Barcelonaink.com. Please feel free to take a peek.
Matthew Tree, Catalonia Today, gener de 2014