The Library of Rejected Beauty is one of those wonderful ideas that only comes along occasionally, but once it does you wonder that nobody thought of it before. Basically, it’s an online magazine dedicated to taking only those stories that have been rejected elsewhere, but which are still valid works in their own right. On a deeper level, it’s a collection of short stories that would perhaps never have seen the light of day without it – and a comment on the way different people judge something as subjective as ‘good’ fiction.
I first came across the magazine a couple of years ago (probably on Twitter) and sent them my short story Fearful Symmetry, which had been blown out of market after market because it’s written in (dare I say it) second person point of view. There’s a good reason why I chose that format, but I realise it’s pretty unpopular. Luckily the Library saw past it to what I still believe is a rather sweet story loosely based on my own childhood, and published it for me.
And now they’ve done it again. I had a lovely email this morning informing me that my latest submission Taking Flight had just gone live on the site. This is a short, magic realist or modern-day fairy tale set on the shores of Windermere, which I wrote for a Mslexia contest. I don’t have much luck with that particular market and it got nowhere, so a few weeks ago I dusted it off and sent it along to LRB, who leaped on it. As their very own Librarian pointed out, it’s a slice of rather unusual escapism that’s all too appropriate during the current lockdown!
You can see the story for yourselves, for free, by clicking here. But don’t just stop at my story – take time to explore the site and find some fictional gems that other magazines rejected, sometimes multiple times. It’s well worth the effort, because there’s some amazing writing here.