Route 57

Welcome to Route 57, the University of Sheffield's School of English online creative writing magazine, a literary journal where students can read and publish innovative poetry, fiction, short plays or scripts, and literary non-fiction of the highest quality.

Environs: The Modern Natures Issue

In 2019 we saw the publication of our 15th issue. To mark this anniversary edition, we invited submissions from University of Sheffield students, staff, alumni and affiliated person sto a special themed issue: Environs: The Modern Natures Issue. 

For the second year running, Route 57’s themed issue was a collaboration, this time with The Hepworth Wakefield and Kelham Island Museum, as part of the ‘Co-Constructive Humanities’ project. The special issue took the ‘environs’ that these spaces suggest as a cue for creative, critical and experimental explorations of the ‘modern natures’ we live within, and which ‘environ’ us. 

The Hepworth’s exhibition ‘Modern Nature’, from which the issue took inspiration, ‘explores our evolving relationship with the natural world and how this shapes individuals and communities.’ To environ is to surround, skirt, compass; to enclose, encircle or circuit. But it is also to consider what environs us, the borders and breachings of layers of atmosphere, “green belt”, the hinterlands and interstices of ecological resilience and/or biodiversity decline.

‘Modern Nature’ interrogates the ‘merging of urban and rural landscapes, the rapid expansion of cities and the increasingly intrusive management of the countryside.’ These places were historically sites of labour, where moorland met mill. Now the northern, post-industrial spaces of modern natures worry at and question the urban-rural distinction, but also the terms and tropes of the ‘liminal’, and the ‘edgeland.’ Place-writing can attend to the complexity of these environs. 

This special issue wagers that the environs of the present might also be generative. We want your poems, prose fiction, performance writing, artwork and creative and/or critical non-fiction that approach our modern natures from a variety of perspectives, and which engage with what environs us. We are looking, then, for work stimulated by the place(s) of modern natures, the “re-wilding” of the urban and the ongoing management of the rural.

Also writing at the environ, or the limit of the earth-system, where climate emergency, drought and flood, planetary-scaled bio-degradation and collapse, are strangely bound to plastic flows in the oceans and the agency of objects; to consumer responsibility; and to ecological mourning and mental health.

We are interested in work which adopts a less human-centred perspective, as well as work that thinks through the human as it environs, and is environed by, the modern natures of planetary existence. 

The special issue was co-edited by Daniel Eltringham and Veronica Fibisan. The journal was divided into sections, each of which had a staff editor. We also had student editors for the different genre sections. 


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