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The reader

Speakers and guests pack out the Art Deli for the launch party of the July issue of The Siem Reader.

FIVE hundred copies of the latest issue of a literary magazine produced by expats living in Siem Reap have now hit the streets following the launch party for the July edition of The Siem Reader, held inside the Art Deli in Alley West on July 1.

A crowd of 30 fans and contributors packed out the building for readings of short fiction, poetry and opinion pieces featured in the magazine, while enjoying two-dollar literary-themed cocktails including the vodka and lemon-heavy “Leo Tolstoy” and the “smooth scotch and lime Nobel Prize-winning Hemingway”.

Launched in March, The Siem Reader is best described as “a high school literary magazine amplified for the real world”, according to Leigh Morlock, one of its five editors.

Released quarterly, it’s supported by advertising by local businesses, although the intention is to keep the magazine non-profit, Morlock’s fellow editor Megan Smith told 7Days.

“I see it as a forum for publishing what people submit with a pretty light filter. What it is is determined by what people submit. The advertising we carry is just to cover costs. [We] think people are more supportive of a labour of love than a commercial venture,” she said.

Content in the July issue ranges from high-concept poetry, historical accounts of journeys

in the Antarctic and a movie review of the nun exploitation film Nude Nuns with Big Guns, described by author Phil Butterworth as “a thought provoking film about nuns turning tricks”.

Smith says she hopes to improve the magazine to the point where so many submissions are received every year that themed issues are produced, but at the moment the intention is just to provide a creative outlet for Siem Reap’s expats.

“A lot of people have been thinking about doing something like this for a long time. There’s a complete dearth of any Siem Reap-based publications that represent people living here, and there’s probably room for more.”

Submissions for the October issue of The Siem Reader are now open.



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