Tumut-based writer Samuel Willmot has launched a monthly literary magazine, The Revolutionary Gazette, as a way for up-and-coming writers to have their works published and to collaborate with like-minded people.
21-year-old Mr Willmot, who has relocated from Maitland in the Hunter Valley to Tumut, said that writing has been his primary hobby ever since he could first put pen to paper.
He recalls winning a prize for his poetry at six years old, and said that being able to publish his work and see it in print throughout his childhood helped foster his love for the craft and turn the hobby into a true passion.
“As you get older, it’s obviously harder to find avenues to get that creative output going anywhere,” Mr Willmot said, explaining how the Gazette was first born.
“At the end of last year, I sporadically had been hearing from friends who had been working on writing projects that they’d like to find an outlet for but couldn’t. They were considering careers in writing but didn’t know where they’d be able to get some sort of experience, so I thought, ‘Well, why don’t I try to start a collective and put all these things together?’”
Working with friends in the Hunter, students in Sydney and writers and graphic designers all along the east coast, Mr Willmot turned his idea into a reality and published the first edition of the Gazette in February.
It’s printed locally in Tumut and is distributed through the mail, as well as in-person where possible. The Gazette is also left at cafes and similar venues for people to browse.
“It’s been very very rewarding in terms of being a creative with other creatives and all doing something together; seeing a product is just very fulfilling,” Mr Willmot said.
Since the Gazette was first published it has grown its readership mostly through word of mouth, and there are now almost ten regular contributors.
More local contributors are coming on board as well, with the next edition set to have works by three writers based in the Snowy Valleys.
“At first it was very haphazard, but it kind of all came together and now it’s sort of got a routine, there’s almost what you’d call a staff body,” Mr Willmot said.
As well as being a writer, Mr Willmot is an avid reader and has been inspired by numerous authors and poets throughout his life.
The title of the Revolutionary Gazette itself was largely influenced by early 20th century writers such as T. S. Eliot and G. K. Chesterton, particularly his book ‘Manalive’.
“[Those writers] all had this vision of revolution not in the sense of overthrowing or restarting or some kind of political upheaval, but sort of going back to where it comes from,” Mr Willmot explained.
“They were trying to integrate into a more holistic, almost cosmic picture, because the planets have revolutions, the stars have revolutions.
“When they talk about human beings having a revolution, it’s this idea of reconnecting.”
The Gazette features a different theme each month, such as ‘Boundless Seas’, ‘Tangled Limbs’ and ‘Eyes Awakened’.
Mr Willmot is hoping that it will go “beyond relevance”, and that the Gazette can be read and enjoyed by anyone, regardless of who they are and when they read it.
“We don’t want it to be tied down to where each of us are now,” he said.
“Hopefully it’s the sort of thing that, should a copy still physically exist in 50 years’ time, if someone were to pick it up, there’d be something interesting in there, something engaging.”
The Gazette is primarily a passion project and is achieving its goal of bringing creatives together, and Mr Willmot hopes that it will only continue to grow over the next year.
“I’m hoping that by the end of the year it’s a passion project that returns a little bit to the people that are putting the effort into it,” he said, with sales of the Gazette only just beginning to cover the costs of printing.
Mr Willmot is interested in receiving submissions to the Gazette from local writers and creatives. You can learn more and subscribe to the Gazette online.