It was in the spring of 2020 that the idea sprouted for a new international literary magazine. I was sitting in a comfortable extended window frame of an old colonial villa in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, my home for the last 10 years, while reading an e-book. Or staring outside. Or reading again. It was so quiet everywhere.
The state of spring 2020 was that of a worldwide pandemic outbreak. A coronavirus traveled worldwide and was testing humanity in staying indoors, on lockdown, in quarantine or on high alert once outside. Even though my location didn’t have anything but the advice of outdoor mask-wearing, which pretty much everybody in Asia already does for years (unless you enjoy the horrible fumes in traffic) and frequent hand-washing, it was quite a change of life. Schools had closed and a lot of my foreign expatriate friends had left on the last flights out, back to their presumable safer home countries.
I run a small art house movie theater in the capital city and survived on offering private movie sessions for small groups that found it safe to be out together. The movie theater became an important escape haven for those with little to do. During the day I would read a lot and work on my own writing.
In a corner was a printed copy of a Dutch literary magazine; literature from my home country. It was quite popular and successful and I loved the contents, but it had ceased to exist after two years. Online, there were a few literary magazines to be found. Mostly published by universities, or big time review sites that would publish anything including current rants against American politics in lengthy essays, next to non-fiction exploits about parenting in quarantine and fictional short stories that were, in the end, hard to find.
With my background in writing and publishing I decided to take matters in my own hands and just launch a new online literary magazine. Looking at anything from all over the world, looking for fiction and non-fiction stories that matter and take me somewhere else, while I would read them wherever I would be. What do you do when you read? You are silent, you are quiet, you are submerged into the pleasure the authors present to you. And The Quiet Reader was born.