The first issue of London-based women’s magazine Lyra features a stunning front cover. There’s so many new women’s publications springing up from the UK capital at the moment – after Riposte, there’s been Ladybeard, Orlando, and Another Gaze to name a few – so it’s important to look at how Lyra stands out from the crowd.
A lot of this can be deduced from the tone that’s set by the still, evocative cover: like the picture, Lyra’s content is thoughtful, insightful, personal, slow-burning, poetic, and also at times erotic, and so the first issue suitably explores lust in its many facets.
What makes Lyra particularly intriguing for magCulture readers is the way that it’s steeped in and references feminist magazine history. At the start of the publication, printed on powder pink paper, is what will become a regular feature; it asks how much has changed since the 1970s by comparing today with articles once published in now legendary, feminist title Spare Rib. For issue one’s column, writer Clare Lydon asks whether ‘the big O is still a feminist issue?’ (above).
Also at the beginning of the magazine – almost continuing the homage to publications from the past – is an interview with Irma Kurtz, author and editor of the radical late 60s magazine Nova (above). Lyra editor Georgina Fray refers to this interview in her letter, quoting Irma on why there’s resurgence of interest in Nova, which Irma attributes to the fact that “there’s a space that needs filling with something that has wisdom, is good to look at and appeals to people of different ages and genders.” Georgina says that this quote perfectly sums up the vision for this new title.
The magazine is predominately made up of mid-length articles: there’s an in-depth interview with Hoxton’s Sh! Woman’s Emporium founder Ky Hoyle, another interview with founder and editor of E.R.O.S. Journal, Sami Jalili, who also designed the issue (above), an explorative essay about the meaning of the bed (below) and a handful of extracts from fiction and poetry.
All in all, the design of Lyra still needs to be tightened and refined – it lacks the visual consistency demended of any magazine today – and both text and layout could do with an attentive eye going through for small slip ups and details. Yet the writing drew me in to an extent that it didn’t matter too much – and I’m now looking forward to seeing how it grows into itself aesthetically. Lyra is for the magazine reader who owns dog-eared copies of Anias Nin’s diaries, enjoys the art featured in AnOther magazine, and who has an interest in feminist thought from the past and how it relates to and informs our present.
Editor-in-chief/founder: Georgina Gray
Art direction: Sami Jalili