Slightly Foxed, an Independent Literary Magazine

I like a book to sweep me away with a brilliant plot and believable characters – I was happy to leave literary criticism behind after university. Even so, when Slightly Foxed’s pretty cover caught my eye, I decided I could make an exception. 

Slightly Foxed Issue 65 Cover with purple rhododendron in vase
Slightly Foxed Issue 65 open on Contents Page with rhododendron flower

Slightly Foxed quarterly magazine

Slightly Foxed is an independent-minded literary magazine. Each quarterly issue features contributing writers’ personal essays on a book of their choice. None of the books in the essays are new, but they’ve all made an impression. As I continue to make my way through a stack of novels in lockdown, I hoped Slightly Foxed could help inspire me with what to read next.

Reading Slightly Foxed is like roaming through an esoteric second-hand bookshop with a well-read friend.

I bought a copy of issue 65, published in Spring 2020. The magazine doesn’t commission essays; every essay feels friendly, passionate, and informal. I had expected all the essays to be about novels and stories – there’s a fair few in the Spring 2020 issue: George Orwell’s Animal Farm; books by Evelyn Waugh; W. Somerset Maugham and others. But there were also essays on books about animal behaviour, manuscripts, and gardening. Reading Slightly Foxed is like roaming through an esoteric second-hand bookshop with a well-read friend.

Slightly Foxed Issue 65 open page with illustration framed by rhododendron petal
Slightly Foxed Issue 65 held in hand

Personal essays

It’s the personal essays that make Slightly Foxed’s suggestions of books so interesting. Dog’s Eye View by Rebecca Willis about Alexandra Horowitz’s, Inside of a Dog was warm and witty. Christopher Rush’s fascinating essay examines how Animal Farm parodies Russian communist leadership. And I loved the poignant personal essay from Mary Helen Spooner about the poems of Robert Service.

I may not have found the book I want to read next, but Slightly Foxed is far from pretentious literary criticism, more of a glimpse into someone else’s life with a book. 

Slightly Foxed issue 65 open on essay titled Dog's Eye View
Slightly Foxed Issue 65 with rhododendron in vase

Slightly Foxed, also known as Foxed Quarterly has a book imprint and sells titles that are older or obscure. And between magazines, you can keep up with a monthly podcast. Something I’m catching up on during lockdown!

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