In today’s profile, we meet Jannat Ahmed, founder and editor-in-chief of Lucent Dreaming – a new creative writing magazine coming straight out of Cardiff!
I’m Jannat, founder and editor-in-chief at Lucent Dreaming. The LD team and I have officially just launched our debut issue from Rabble Studio. I’m a 22-year-old MA English Literature graduate from Cardiff University, born and bred in South Wales and ever since I could read, I’ve wanted to write. Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl and J.K. Rowling have been the cornerstones of my imaginative life since I started school and they continue to inform what I do today. I dabbled, about 11-ish years ago when I was in my final year of primary school with a little thing called J Club. It was a club I made up where I asked for the email addresses of anyone who visited our house and sent them a ‘magazine’, i.e. a word document that comprised exclusively of wordart, clipart and rhyming poetry about flowers written by me.
At 10 or 11 years of age I had a club that sent a magazine every month (for only about two months), that also sold stationery I’d bought from Woolworths, and even had its own paperclip collection bought by my dad. Looking back, I think I was ridiculous but onto something. Just over a decade later and it seems I’m kind of doing the same thing but better (I hope!)
Lucent Dreaming is my childhood dream come true: it’s a new independent creative writing magazine publishing beautiful, strange and surreal short stories, poetry and artwork from emerging authors and artists worldwide. Our first issue even has poetry about flowers! This is the story of how it started.
It was during my MA, this time last year, that I happened to be working on a parody creative writing magazine for one of my modules. After having too much fun making parody adverts for Cardiff University’s new revolving doors and Arriva Trains Wales’ delayed transport, I thought it would be a great idea to make a real creative writing magazine. I was talking to my friend Jess—now also one of Lucent Dreaming’s editors—about her experience of trying to get a job in publishing. She told me she’d exhausted her savings going to publishing internships and still didn’t have enough experience to get a job. It was then I asked if she’d be willing to donate her time to my as-yet-unnamed ‘real’ creative writing magazine and she said yes! Jo and Jonas—my two other editors—also, surprisingly, said yes. And so it began.
The idea was put on hold over the summer while I was working on my dissertation but come September it was back on. We had a name and a logo and we launched our website for submissions on Halloween last year. We planned on being an online-only creative writing magazine but that soon changed.
In November last year I applied for the pilot Ymlaen placement and got it! The placement is for six months and gives me desk space and business mentoring at Rabble Studio as a collaboration between Creative Cardiff, Cardiff University’s Enterprise and Start-up Team and Rabble Studio. Since January I’ve been working from Rabble, a coworking space for freelancers, small businesses and remote workers, and it’s been fantastic. I’ve been around freelance writers and designers and a bunch of other wonderful humans who have set up businesses before, worked with printers before and know what it’s like to work in creative industries. Everyone is so friendly, helpful and incredible at what they do; it’s been invaluable to me to be around them.
Working at Rabble has morphed Lucent Dreaming from an online-only to an also-print magazine. Last Saturday saw the launch of our debut issue and we’re so proud of how far it has come in such a short space of time. We sold half our magazine print run as well as our hand-designed notebooks and we can’t wait for issue 2! (We’re currently accepting short story and poetry submissions by the way!)
As far as the future is concerned, we hope to continue LD in print. Our aim is to encourage creativity and to help writers reach publication. However, we’re not just a publisher, we see ourselves as a springboard. We offer feedback on all qualifying submissions so that writers aren’t left in the dark about why their work might be rejected. We give our writers feedback so they have constructive ways to improve for their next submission. And, for everyday creatives, writers and doodlers, we’ve also set up a notebook subscription because we know that creativity rarely concludes with publication in day-to-day life (and it’s the other half of my childhood dream to sell stationery!). Whether or not you’re interested in publishing your work, we want to encourage you to be creative. A haiku, a doodle, a list of important memories—they are all produced from a feeling that cannot always be pinned down, but it’s that beautiful, strange, surreal feeling that we want to inspire both through our magazine and everything else we may create in the future. I hope we never lose sight of that dream!
Visit the Lucent Dreaming site – they’re currently open for submissions and preorders of Issue 2.
Jannat Ahmed is a recent English Literature graduate and expert project-starter. She enjoys anything she is capable of envying and secretly compares LD to Lovegood’s The Quibbler with confessedly more fiction. She is editor-in-chief at Lucent Dreaming.