Aislinn Irvine looks at The Moth, a quarterly Irish contemporary arts and literature magazine which has attained international acclaim.
The Moth, designed and produced in a private art studio in a farmhouse in Cavan, brings together a host of established and up-and-coming writers, poets, and artists under one unique and beautifully presented arts magazine. It is a compilation of previously unpublished poetry, short stories, and visual artwork from local and international artists alike. Everything about the magazine is modern and ‘chic’, from its matte-finish cover to its minimalist design, not to mention the wealth of contemporary wordworks and artworks that stock its structured pages from cover to cover.
‘It’s got to feel real and convincing as a piece of writing, whether it’s moving or funny, or whatever it is’.
Set up by editors Rebecca O’Connor and Will Govan in June 2010, when the married pair decided to pool their existing professional literary and artistic talent and skills together to produce ‘Ireland’s newest, and coolest, poetry magazine’, The Moth has published a new issue every Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter since then. Speaking to The Irish Times they said, ‘an idea evolved to produce a magazine that would feature the things we like … It was going to be an artefact that people could pick up and enjoy’. Both editors bring something different to the production. O’Connor had a background in literature as a published poet and former commissioning editor. She draws these skills together to manage the selection, editing, design and production of the magazine every three months. Gavan, on the other hand, gained expertise in the advertising side of things through his previous work in trade publication, as well as his studies at art college. He is the entrepreneur behind the business. Gavan is in charge of the interviews in each issue, having met with such writers as Roddy Doyle, Irvine Welsh, and Billy Collins.
It is not just a magazine, but a work of art.
Remarkably, O’Connor receives over four hundred submissions per month to their studio in Cavan. These pieces are judged on the ‘quality and integrity of the writing’. In an attempt to pinpoint exactly what it is that she is looking for she told The Irish Times, ‘it’s got to feel real and convincing as a piece of writing, whether it’s moving or funny, or whatever it is’.
The Moth is universal, both in its content and its readership; it draws the reader in with its beautiful, simplistic presentation. It is not just a magazine, but a work of art.
The Moth can be subscribed to annually for €24 at www.themothmagazine.ie or purchased at The Winding Stair and The Rathgar Bookshop.