Fiction Ed’s Blog: More Than A Magazine

Shutterstock / Marco Rubino ©

When people ask me about writing for “The People’s Friend”, I’m happy to help.

I explain about word counts, and the type of stories we feature.

I talk about how to submit. Do’s and don’ts. Formatting. And dialogue.

These are all important. But if you’d like to write for us, there’s something else you need to factor in.

And that’s the how much the magazine means to our readers.

Our History

The “Friend” began life in 1869, and from the off it had a special relationship with its readers.

It aimed not only to entertain, but also to give people of any background the opportunity to submit their fiction and poetry for consideration.

Working-class men and women from anywhere in the world were welcome to submit – whether previously published or not.

During The War

During the First World War, Friend readers worked with the magazine to alleviate hardships on the Front, knitting and fundraising to help make life more bearable for the men.

In more recent days, “Friend” readers have made a difference to the lives of countless children through their support of the Winnie Mabaso Foundation.

So over the course of 153 years, our readers have been at the heart of all we do.

Nowhere is this more shown than in the tale of the knitted slippers – when the Editor of the day gently reminded the staff that if it was knitted slippers the readers wanted, whether they were in fashion or not, that’s what we’d give them.

More Than A Magazine

When I went to Barcelona to celebrate my fortieth birthday (not today or yesterday!), I visited Camp Nou, the stadium of Barcelona FC (above).

Embedded in the seating are the words – Mes Que Un Club, or More Than A Club.

The club means so much to the people who love it.

And it occurs to me that this is exactly the same as the “Friend”.

Readers Are The Magazine

To our readers, we’re more than a magazine.

We’re a link to loved ones. A link to happy times past, and a comfort in trying times.

Something that can be relied upon to provide good reading, with nothing scandalous, or upsetting for bedtime.

The magazine is part of our readers’ histories – it means such a lot to them.

And that’s why it matters to us that we get it right for them.


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 150 years of 'Friend' fiction!