Sorting Out The Mail In The “Friend” Office

As you’ll know, we’ve been working from home since just before lockdown, in March — which, unbelievably, is nearly five months.

The only person in the office since then has been office cat Marmalade.

Here he is, keeping new team member Abbie’s desk warm!


Photograph by Lucy Crichton.

We are mindful of keeping everyone in the office safe, so the submissions process has been slightly different since lockdown.

Published “Friend” authors have been asked to be in contact with their assigned editor prior to submitting by email.

Authors who are as yet unpublished in the “Friend” have been asked to continue to submit by post.

Which means . . . there’s nearly five months of mail in the office, and it needed to be looked at!

When Angela asked if Fiction team’s Alan and I would like to pop into the office and start having a look through the mail, we decided sooner rather than later would be best.

We popped in last Friday.

Getting into the building pre-lockdown used to mean simply remembering your swipe card, but for the moment, it’s a little different. Ahead of your visit, you ring ahead for access, after which it’s sanitising and signing in.

Good to be back

Unsung heroes, the DC Thomson Mail team, have been keeping on top of everything.

Here’s how it looked when Alan and I arrived:


Photograph by Lucy Crichton.

First of all, we tackled the mail for our own Fiction team, sorting it into submissions from unpublished authors, and another pile for published authors who, for one reason and another, had sent submissions by post.

There is a backlog of submissions from unpublished authors, and this does mean that for the rest of this year at least, our response times will understandably be much longer than usual.

“Between Friends” letters


Photograph by Lucy Crichton.

Next, we got everything into one spot for the Features team, and then the letters for “Between Friends”.

We were surprised, and delighted, to receive our first Christmas card. It really brightened up the morning!


Photograph by Lucy Crichton.

All quiet on the Fiction desk

It was great to be back in the office.

A first step, hopefully, to moving back, in time.


Photograph by Lucy Crichton.

Editor Angela mentioned that when she visited, it felt like the difference between being a house where the occupants have left, compared to when they’re simply out for the day.

Without the people, the building isn’t the same.

Photograph by Lucy Crichton.

There’s lot of good news, though – we are trying our very best to make sure that your “Friend” continues to be published every week, with its mix of entertaining and comforting features and fiction.

We remain open to submissions, and although we may be running slightly behind our usual timescales, we’ll try to give every story a fair response, as soon as it’s possible to do so.

If you’re worried that a submission written for a certain date, such as Christmas, will be received too late, remember that we’re open to submissions all year round, for our Annual and our Specials, as well as our weekly.

Click here to have a look at our guidelines.

Interested in subscribing to “The People’s Friend”, but looking for more information? Click here to visit the DC Thomson Shop.

Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!