|Melissa Cranenburgh, co-editor of The Big Issue
The Big Issue is such a fantastic concept. A fortnightly magazine, with great content, sold by vendors who often don't otherwise have any income- people with mental illness, drug or addiction problems or other tough circumstances. The vendor keeps half of the $5 cover price. Becoming a vendor helps not just with income, but socialisation, confidence and many other benefits too. The Big Issue started in Britain in the early 90s. The Australian edition was launched on the steps of Flinders Street Station in 1996. Since that time over 7 million copies have been sold, giving more than $15 million to the vendors.
There are no vendors where I live but I always buy a copy when I'm in Sydney or Melbourne.
|Sir Andrew Motion launching the issue
2012 is the 8th year for the fiction edition, which has 12 short stories, 6 are commissioned by the editors and 6 are the result of a submission process- over 400 writers submitted their work. One contribution is getting a lot of media attention (including a lovely radio piece on Radio National today) this year because a Hollywood actor, James Franco (of course I had no real idea who he actually is) wrote it. The other commissioned authors are Margo Lanagan (I'll finally get to read some of her work! YAY), Tony Birch (new to me, but he sounds really interesting), Sophie Cunningham, Wayne Macauley and James Bradley.
The launch was a really interesting session. Sophie Cunningham and Tony Birch were there, as well as one of the writers selected through the sumbission process, 22 year old Rafael SW. They all spoke and read from their stories. Although at the end Chris Flynn asked about the other writers who had come through the submission process, and I think all of them were in the room! A big moment for them all.
The 2012 fiction edition is on sale until September 10. I hope you get the chance to buy one too. Now to just get time to finish reading it.