Our story

Portmanteau was founded in January 2021

Portmanteau LDN was founded with the aim to create a more equal publishing industry.

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Portmanteau LDN is an independent literary magazine based in London, UK (with staff based in Scotland, Sheffield & London) dedicated to publishing poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, and art of all kinds.

 

We're driven by the need to change the way the arts and cultural industries operate.

In a world where arts funding is being cut by government officials in front of our very eyes, and working class people are being driven further away from pursuing arts careers, we feel passionately about the need for change.

 

Not only have we sought to pay all contributors since our very first issue, but we strive to share knowledge freely so there is no uncrossable barrier for those who cannot afford to create and those who want to create. 

It's important to us that people understand why we do what we do, so please find some reading below and don't hesitate to reach out if you wish to discuss any of the issues we touched upon on this page.

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  • Around ‘an eighth [of workers in Publishing are] from working class origins’, compared to over a third from upper middle class social origins.

  • Hiring practices for the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) are often based on ‘powerful social networks’... shared cultural tastes are highly influential in the recruitment process, with workers showing a tendency towards hiring candidates within the same social stratification themselves - making point #1 an even more powerful insight into class in the CCIs.

  • There is a class pay gap between workers from working class and upper-middle class origins. London’s higher professional and managerial sector have an average £10,660 difference, with the discrepancy in the publishing industry even more pronounced - up to £23,000 per year.

  • London contains 40% of all the creative and cultural workers in the United Kingdom, and accounts for half of all cultural sector employment which is why the public arts funding per capita in London is more than ten times greater than the rest of England. The subsequent price rise in housing and commodities serves as a further barrier for working class people.

  • The CCIs are often perceived by those who work in them as meritocratic (meaning success in the CCIs is believed to be based on hard work rather than social status), meaning the lack of class diversity in publishing goes overlooked.

* Panic! It's an Arts Emergency. Social Class, Taste and Inequalities in the Creative Industries​

* Are the creative industries meritocratic? An analysis of the 2014 British labour force survey 

Mind The Gap: Financial London and The Regional Class Pay Gap

* The Geography of Creativity in the UK. Creative clusters, creative people and creative networks.

Different Like Me: Why Cultural Omnivores Get Creative Jobs

 

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Read on to find a little more about us as a small team with a big vision.

our team

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Ruby Lizon-walker

Founder and Editor in Chief

Hey, I'm Ruby!

I graduated from the UCL Publishing MA in 2020 after completing my dissertation: "Literature prizes and their influence on class participation."

Prior to that I studied Creative Writing at UoG.

I currently work as a Content and SEO Executive, & in my spare time you'll find me at the laptop - either reading your writing, or writing my own!

You can follow me on Twitter @rubylizonwalker

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Shona Henderson

Marketing and Communications Director

Hi! I'm Shona. I graduated from the University of Glasgow with an undergraduate MA in English Literature in 2019 and a postgraduate MA in Publishing from UCL in 2020.

 

Currently, I work as a Digital Products Manager for a specialist independent publisher making ebooks and audiobooks among other digital things. 

 

I love sitting with a cup of tea and a good crime novel. Also, I love being online, talking about books and when Twitter or Goodreads doesn't have my attention, I've been known to write a bit of poetry.

 

You can follow me on Twitter @_shonahenderson

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Phoebe Lizon- Walker

Production and Design Director

Hi, I’m Phoebe! I recently graduated from Sheffield Hallam with a degree in Illustration.

 

I love making abstract work full of busy patterns and colours, and I am really inspired by artists like David Hockney, Beate Kuhn and Peony Gent. 

 

When I’m not making art I love music, films and walking (perks of Sheffield - the peak district is next door!)

You can follow me on Instagram @phoebelizonart