Notes: where biscuits and erotica unite

Notes Magazine: does your relationship resemble a Hob-Knob? Are you more ero-tea-ca than erotica? Get your copy.

Cambridge Castle Inn harvard London Notes Oxford student writing yale

Notes magazine, for those who don’t know, began two years ago in the Castle Inn in Cambridge. It’s published once a fortnight, and contains the best in student writing, from Cambridge, Oxford, London and Scottish universities, Harvard, Yale, Chicago, NYU and Australia.

The editors have just produced an annual, 60 pages long, in colour, properly bound, and it’s a lovely thing to look at. The content inside, a collection of the best submissions so far, is divided into four sections: the sublime, corpus, the sea, and passage. Under these headings you will find poems, short stories, essays, photographs, paintings, prints – look out for Brajith Srigengan’s image of a bone cell.

I managed to obtain a copy, and have been carrying it around with me for the last few weeks, absorbing the insights contained within its pages. After careful analysis, here is a round up of the best Notes moments, which I would recommend you experience for yourselves.

1) Revision Notes

When you’ve realise you are not one, but two weeks behind your revision timetable, and there are simply not enough hours in the day to read all the books piled on the floor. You should read Ignoring Things by Kat Addis (p37) which matches relationships to biscuits and will comfort you in your procrastination.

Hardcore revising

2) While the kettle boils

So you’re in the kitchen, trying to decide between English Breakfast or Earl Grey (or Pukka Three Mint if you’re feeling fancy). The kettle’s boiling, the gyp room’s tiny, there’s dirty dishes on the side, and you can’t find any mugs. As they say, a watched pot never boils, and Sublime by Will Burgess (winner of the Erotic Review Short Fiction Prize 2012, p13) will provide ample distraction.

Notes and ero-tea-ca

3) When the going gets tough

You’ve done the revision meltdown, had the crying jag, and now what you need is a little me-time (or Jim Beam time). Accompany that early-afternoon drink with some serious meditation on the legacy of the Atlantic slave trade, in the essay Water as Death and Life by Isabella Proia (p41). You’ll soon realise that life really could be much, much worse.

Notes on a scandal

4) Bedtime reading

After a hard day’s procrastination, there’s nothing more satisfying than coming home to Notes. Lets face it, in exam season, it’s likely to be the only thing you share your bed with, and it will be a pleasure to read.

Comforting on lonely nights

If any of this interests to you, head to to order your copy. They cost £5 but I can promise you they’re worth it. A subscription to the fortnightly magazine, which is always varied and interesting, is also money well spent.

Start your own family of Notes  

And if you’re interested in writing for Notes yourself, email [email protected].