Nfld. & Labrador

Calling all writers! New western Newfoundland literary journal Horseshoe could be your lucky charm

Adam Beardsworth and Tom Halford have teamed up to put together a new literary journal in western Newfoundland, one that will feature the region's writers and work with students at Memorial University's Grenfell campus.

Two western Newfoundland writers are highlighting writing in their community

A metal horseshoe hangs from a piece of wood, with Horseshoe Literary Magazine written in the center.
The Horseshoe literary journal currently has one issue online, with submissions for the second issue due by Feb. 27. (Horseshoe Literary Magazine)

The creators of a new literary journal in western Newfoundland want it to be a top-tier publication that showcases the best work the region's writers have to offer.

With one issue of Horseshoe published online, founders Adam Beardsworth and Tom Halford are calling for submissions of fiction and poetry for the second issue. 

"We simply want to publish some great literary work and call attention to the talent we have here, both in western Newfoundland and in Newfoundland in general," said Beardsworth.

He said they want Horseshoe to be a top-tier literary journal, like Riddle Fence in St. John's, and Halford added they hope to feature a wide range of literature.

"It doesn't have to be exclusively about or from western Newfoundland," said Halford. 

"But anything that, you know, takes your readers on a journey that is somehow connected to this part of the world would be wonderful." 

The namesake

The journal's name is about more than just luck; it's an homage to a tradition in the region — going back "40-odd years," according to Beardsworth — of writers and English professors getting together to play an annual tournament of horseshoes. Beardsworth said it was started by some of the most influential writers in the area, including Al Pittman and John Steffler. 

"Several of these writers go back to the beginning of the tournaments, so we sorted of wanted to pay homage to those writers who helped found western Newfoundland literary tradition," he said. 

Halford said honouring the tradition and attending that tournament makes you feel "connected to the community in a way that is really meaningful."

But Horseshoe is not just a journal for writers; it's also intended to help students at Memorial University's Grenfell campus. 

Beardsworth said when they were putting together the first issue, they were planning to have future issues edited by students in Grenfell's new master of applied literary arts program.

A learning experience

For the second issue, an editorial board of six students will help with the details of the magazine like layout, editing and design. Beardsworth said the experience will be good training for the students. 

"It gives them a kind of leg up in terms of professionalization," he said. 

"And many of them are interested in careers in the publishing industry or the arts industry or editing, and so on. So it gives them that experience and it aligns with their CV. And, you know, it gives them the opportunity to work one on one with some great writers and to really understand the ins and outs of the industry." 

Right now, the journal is only online, but Beardsworth and Halford hope to print physical copies in the future. 

For now, Beardsworth said, the online platform allows writers to share their work easily.

"As we move forward here and as we get our students involved, we'll be doing all the necessary work to secure funding that will allow us to add a print issue as well." 

Halford said having a publishing house at the Grenfell campus is "a longstanding dream" of his.

The goal, he said, is to find people in the community who have work they want to publish and help them share their art.

The deadline for submissions for Horseshoe's second issue is Feb. 27.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador


Sarah Antle


Sarah Antle is a journalist working with CBC in the St. John's bureau.

With files from CBC Newfoundland Morning


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