‘Ambit is a surreptitious peek inside a private world. Without it such vital sparks of inspiration could well be lost for ever.’ – Ralph Steadman

Ambit is a 96-page quarterly literary and art magazine. It is created in London, published in the UK, and read internationally. It’s available through subscription, in selected bookshops, and in libraries worldwide.

The magazine is put together entirely from unsolicited submissions. You can read more about our guidelines on our submissions page. We look at everything that is sent to us, and give no preference to well-known writers over the newest artistic talents.

AMBIT is edited by Briony Bax; Poetry Editors: André Naffis-Sahely, assisted by Jade Cuttle; Fiction Editors: Kate Pemberton assisted by Louise Ihringer, Gwendolen MacKeith, Rob Newton and Mike Smith; Art Editors: Olivia Bax and Jean-Philippe Dordolo; Illustration Editor: Mireille Fauchon; Production Editor: Mike Smith

Contributing Editor list: Shanta Acharya, Liz Berry, Fred D’Aguiar, Tony Dash, Richard Dyer, Travis Elborough, Helen Gordon, Declan Ryan, David Shook, George Szirtes, Jennifer Lee Tsai.



History

In 1959 a young doctor, Martin Bax, diagnosed Angst and Ennui as the prevailing mood. He prescribed Ambit Magazine: poetry, fiction and art – ‘sometimes shocking, sometimes experimental, sometimes comic, always compelling’.

The inspiration came to him in the British Museum where he became fascinated by Rhythm Magazine, started by John Middleton Murray and Katherine Mansfield in 1911. The Lavenham Press took on the magazine and still prints it today. 

Over the years, from small beginnings, the team has come together. Edwin Brock was joined by Carol Ann Duffy and Henry Graham to pick the poetry, and J.G. Ballard was joined by Geoff Nicholson to pick the prose. 

Martin and his friends were the bad boys of the 60s and 70s and pushed the limits with their avantgarde stories, poems, pictures and photographs which were at times accused of being pornographic. The performer Euphoria Bliss often came to their events to read from the magazine and appeared on stage in unlikely outfits (once wearing nothing but an extravagant hat). The 1967 ‘Sex Issue’ raised eyebrows at the Arts Council, which had given the magazine a grant at this time. Later that year Ambit announced a competition for the best poem written under the influence of drugs. The Arts Council demanded to see the proofs of the intended issue, which weren’t forthcoming, and on publication they withdrew funding for the year. The prize was awarded to Ann Quinn for a poem she wrote whilst taking the contraceptive pill. 

In 2013 Dr Martin Bax retired and a new editorial team took the reins. Briony Bax (a poet previously published in Ambit, who is married to Martin’s nephew, and is the daughter of the poet Adrian Mitchell) became the new editor. From issue 214 it was printed in full colour and the art section was expanded to take up a full third of the magazine, with interviews, studio features and commissioned online artworks to download. Briony was keen to step away from the ‘slap and tickle’ reputation of the magazine and along with her team focused instead on new work more reflective of the times. 


Ambit is 60 

‘I love Ambit for all its wild history and its constant ambitious push for the new, brilliant and unexpected… a magazine which strives to surprise, delight and challenge.’ Liz Berry

Ambit has always welcomed emerging writers and artists, letting them shine alongside established names. 

The 60th anniversary edition (Ambit 237) is a bumper highly collectable retrospective issue celebrating a wealth of talent from the Ambit archive. Designed by Craig Oldham, it features a special slip case and looks back on six decades of publishing artists and writers who have influenced art and culture across the world. See Ambit 237.

Many writers got their start in Ambit whose editors through a combination of inspiration, bloody-mindedness, imagination and sheer tenacity have often been the first to publish some of the best writers of the last six decades. The roll call of contributors includes Carol Ann Duffy, B.S. Johnson, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Edwin Brock, Stevie Smith, Peter Porter, Fleur Adcock, William Burroughs, J.G. Ballard, Liz Berry, Adrian Henri and Deborah Levy to name but a small fraction. 

The covers of the magazine have featured art work from stellar names as Eduardo Paolozzi, Sir Peter Blake, David Hockney, Ralph Steadman, Vanessa Baird, Maggi Hambling, Ramesh Kalkur, Paula Rego and more recently, Doug Argue, Phillip King, Scott Myles, Alison Turnbull, Etel Adnan, Anna Barriball, and Jonathan Lasker.

This year Ambit is taking the party on the road, supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, with events planned throughout the year across the UK (sign up to our mailing list below to keep informed - Ambit could be coming to you!) 

Briony Bax, editor:  ‘I look forward to welcoming you in joining us in our celebrations of 60 years of printing amazing contributors – recognised and never-before-published - and to ensuring another 60 years of supporting and encouraging new fiction writers, poets and artists.’

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Ambit is a registered charity in the UK, number 1151183

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