17 January 2018

EDITOR’S DESK | Happy birthday, 500 Words Magazine

Birthdays and anniversaries are always exciting events to celebrate. And June 1st was no different here at 500 Words Magazine as we blew the first candle to celebrate the anniversary of the magazine.

We had quite an eventful first year. From comparing our Sudanese weddings to the royal weddings, to learning why breakfast shouldn’t be allowed in the offices, to traveling to the future to see what changed in Sudan, to learning how much changed in our country since the time of our fathers, to how those in Diaspora leave their homes to find comfort elsewhere. We also managed to unite the Sudans once more, when writers from both countries celebrated the first anniversary of South Sudan’s independence through our South Sudan Anniversary Special.

The magazine was honoured to have such prominent names write on its pages. Leila Aboulela, acclaimed Sudanese writer, described eloquently growing up in Khartoum, her house, and her neighbourhood. Lam Akol, a prominent South Sudanese politician, wrote expeditiously about the first anniversary of South Sudan’s independence, and sentiments of the Southerners after having their own country. It’s true that we expected more writers, but we never imagined such big names would be present on the magazine, or for Reuters Africa to tweet about us, or BBC Africa to follow us on twitter.

Plans are in place to expand the magazine. We will introduce a new debating platform where experts will be invited to debate certain topics related to Sudan, and the readership will be welcomed to have their say. There’s a lot to look forward to, from writing competitions to free book giveaways. And as always we’re welcoming suggestions for new features.

We’re lucky to have all those great writers contribute to our humble magazine. But you’ll be surprised to learn that just a small portion of this was actually planned for, true story. When we started we had a plan that we’re supposed to implement during the first 6 months after the launch; but after we got showered with feedback after publishing the first 10 articles, we started changing that plan so it fits the people’s interests.

Now that we’ve entered our second year, the content of 500 Word Magazine will be based on what the reader wants, and what the contributors feel the need to address. We hope to have a wider readership in our second year, and have even bigger names grace our pages. Thank you all for what has been a wonderful experience, and stay tuned for more Sudan.

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