Posted 03 January 2023
Interview by Frankie Mari
Mention Lara Delmage

Writer and editor Lara Delmage on battling misogyny in publishing and experimenting with writing styles

Whether it’s through struggles with financial stability or the still-misogynistic world of publishing, it has been Lara Delmage’s sheer persistence and belief in the power of art and words that have led her to persevere. The assistant editor secured her job at art and culture magazine Snack with the support of the Scottish Graduate Career Advancement Scheme for 2020 and 2021 uni graduates while freelancing for Barcelona-based arts and music publication Metal Magazine. All this she’s done while cultivating a blossoming creative writing practice in poetry and theatre. Here, Lara talks us through the setbacks faced by young women in digital publishing, as well as the power of tenacity and getting involved in local creative communities.

Lara Delmage

Lara Delmage

Job Title

Freelance Writer and Assistant Editor, Snack Magazine



Previous Employment

Project Editor, StoryTerrace (2021-2022)

Place of Study

BA English Literature and History of Art, University of Glasgow (2016-2021)

Social Media


What I do

How would you describe what you do?
At Snack, I curate content, edit articles, write features and conduct interviews – that’s all the fun stuff. I also deal with a lot of the admin and production side: emailing press, securing interviews and so on. There’s a lot of writer management involved, which means making sure that they’re looked after, getting useful feedback and feel heard.

We’re a super-small team. It’s just me and editor-in-chief Kenny in the wee pigeonhole office in the Southside of Glasgow; everyone else works from home and mostly on a freelance basis.

I’ve been writing freelance since 2019 when I interned at Metal Magazine in Barcelona. This involves doing a lot of research and prepping interview questions that align with the magazine’s concept, but also questions that the artist hasn’t been asked a million times before.

I’m now focusing more on my creative writing, mainly poetry and playwriting, which requires so much tenacity and vulnerability. Sadly writing doesn’t really pay the bills, but I’ve been lucky to have more editorial work to keep me alive. I recently just finished a performance writing traineeship with Scottish Youth Theatre and Playwright’s Studio Scotland, TextLab, which was amazing for nurturing this side of my writing.

“There’s a lot of writer-management involved in my job, which means making sure that writers are looked after, getting useful feedback and feel heard.”

What are the main influences and inspirations behind your work?
Intersectional feminism, queerness, folklore and animals are all my biggest pools of inspiration.

Can you tell us about some of your favourite projects to date?
Recently, the piece I’m most proud of is my play I’ve written with the help of SYT’s [Scottish Youth Theatre] TextLab emerging experimental performance writer’s programme.

My play, Woman in Seal’s Clothing, in a nutshell, is about whether or not it’s possible to practice authentic self-love in a patriarchal society. I wanted to make it accessible to people with visual impairments, so have built in audio description into the piece in a way that it simply doesn’t work without it. It was important to me that it be crucial, not an afterthought.

Woman in Seal’s Clothing riffs off traditional Selkie [Celtic and Norse mythology] stories; seals who can turn into people and vice-versa. It sounds a bit cerebral, but I like to think it’s playful and funny too. It’s also a queer love story, and who doesn’t love one of those?

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Lara’s poem Intelligent Animal, for The Paper

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Lara’s poem Soup, published in Little Livingroom

Marriage on Screen The Skinny July 2022 copy

Lara’s article Marriage on Screen, for The Skinny

How I got here

Would you say you need any specific training for what you do?
You definitely don’t need to have a degree in English Literature. You can get to this point by reading a lot, writing a lot and knocking on doors until someone eventually pays you the attention you deserve.

The difference between an okay writer and a great one is being able to allow your voice to come through while still maintaining the overarching vibe of the publication. This is a very, very hard thing to cultivate, and really just takes a lot of practice, and a lot of getting it wrong.

As a young woman in this industry, people often assume that you don’t know better than them, and will resist you often without realising that what they’re doing is sexist. Know when to speak up – these micro-aggressions shouldn’t go unreported and unapproached.

As for creative writing, there’s always a voice in the back of my head telling me that there’s no point emailing that magazine, submitting that poem, writing that play, because my work’s crap and I’m crap. But you just have to ignore it and send it anyway. Someone will see you for who you are eventually, so don’t give up – persevere.

“As a young woman in this industry, people often assume that you don’t know better than them. If this happens to you, know when to speak up.”

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Lara performing at Endless Summer Festival

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Rehearsal reading for Lara’s play at the Scottish Youth Theatre

How did you land the job?
I managed to get this job thanks to a Scottish government scheme, GCAS [Graduate Career Advancement Scheme] 2020 and 2021, dedicated to getting Scottish university graduates into work. They pay six months of the candidate’s wages at living wage, and offer graduates in the pool the opportunity to reach out to businesses we’d like to work with.

I emailed Snack and they were keen to take me on, which I felt thankful for. Due to the dire economic situation at the moment, the hiring landscape for arts jobs is difficult. The creative industry got hit so hard with Covid, and hasn’t even had the chance to recover before receiving another blow that is inflation.

But in terms of finding these kinds of jobs, signing up to newsletters is a good idea – Sian Meades-Williams’ is great – but so is just crafting a really good email that showcases your personality.

When I was made redundant in August, I wrote a blurb about myself and sent it to loads of publications I was interested in working with. It’s a bit cringe, but I think it helped to exhibit who I am without writing a long-winded, excruciatingly boring cover letter that they probably wouldn’t even read in the first place.

“When I was made redundant, I wrote a blurb about myself and sent it to loads of publications I was interested in working with.”

Excerpt from Human Performance Textlab Clear Channel Campaign

Excerpt from Lara’s poem Human Performance

What was your journey like when you were first starting out? Did you find your feet quickly?
When I first started writing and editing I was daunted, but loved what I was doing so much that I threw myself into it without too much thought. The hard part is getting someone to give you a chance.

Working in this industry, especially publishing, it can feel like you take one step forward, and two steps back. It’s terrible because the industry profits so much off the back of youth culture – of unpaid internships, or poorly paid internships.

It’s not a very stable way to live, but I just have to believe it’s possible, because I can’t really do anything else and know so many other people who can’t either. How dull would our lives be without art, literature, culture? Our voices are necessary, worthy, valuable, but this isn’t ever reflected in pay. Money shouldn’t be everything, but in this capitalist society it sadly is.

“How dull would our lives be without art, literature, culture? Our voices are necessary, worthy, valuable, but this isn’t ever reflected in pay.”

If you could pick three things that you’ve found useful or inspiring to your work or career, what would they be and why?
Number one has to be Elizabeth Day’s podcast How To Fail. I still have a hate-hate relationship with failure, but listening to this helps me to reframe it, to understand that if you’re not failing, you aren’t really getting anywhere.

I love It’s Nice That’s Nicer Tuesdays talks – I’ve been watching them religiously for years. I think it really helps to demystify the industry and gain inspiration from creatives in different fields.

Also, my peers! I’m endlessly inspired by the people around me, including those who don’t work in the creative industry. I think we’re pit against each other and taught to compete. It’s a trap, because the people around you can support you when you didn’t get that job, when you got shitty feedback on something you poured your heart into. I learn so much from my friends, family, colleagues, strangers. No art happens in a vacuum.

Also, a book that I am totally obsessed with is Carmen Maria Marchado’s Her Body and Other Parties. The way she plays with form and language is experimental and surreal without being alienating, which is such a delicate balance to achieve and something I hope to grasp one day.

“I’m inspired by people around me. I think we’re pit against each other, but it’s a trap, because we support and learn from each other.”

What have been your greatest learnings with making money and supporting yourself as a creative?
Still learning this one! Honestly just making sure that I know my worth, and that I deserve to be paid properly for my work. A piece of advice is to not be grateful for the exposure. Exposure isn’t going to pay your energy bills.

“You deserve to be paid properly for your work. Exposure isn’t going to pay your energy bills.”

Also, just because your day job may not be creative, doesn’t mean you're any less of an artist. If you’re a writer, you’re a writer, end of.

I can’t remember who said this, it might’ve been [playwright] Stef Smith… she said that nothing will ever happen to make you feel like more of a writer, so you may as well just claim the title and get used to saying it, telling people you’re a writer at parties and things. You don’t need to provide receipts – if someone says they’re an accountant you don’t ask them for proof, do you?

What would you say has been your biggest challenge along the way?
Getting paid properly!

It’s so hard to get people to pay you what you deserve for your work. Also, as a young woman, some people have a hard time taking my feedback.

It thankfully doesn’t happen all the time, but that kind of insidious misogyny has been difficult to navigate and impossible to escape. Those kinds of sexist attitudes come so naturally to people that they don’t even always realise what they’re doing, or why they’re feeling undermined.

This isn’t just a publication world thing; all of my female-presenting peers have encountered this in various different fields and workplaces.

My advice

What’s the best career-related advice you’ve ever received?
This is a bit cliché, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Opportunities very rarely fall in your lap. All the jobs I’ve gotten are through taking a punt and sending a cringe email – the worst thing they can do is say no.

What advice would you give someone looking to get into a similar career?
Having a creative support network is important, especially if you’re a writer, because it can be such a solitary experience.

It’s great to have a writer’s group or club where you can not only share your work, but also see first-hand how other writers are actually doing, instead of viewing it through the rose-tinted lens of Twitter or Instagram that can be really toxic.

If you’re at uni, join creative societies! And if they don’t have them, make one yourself! In my second year, myself and a couple of friends started the Glasgow University Zine Society, which is still alive and well today.

Being a part of Gum [Glasgow University Magazine] – first as a writer, then as style and beauty editor, and finally as co-editor-in-chief – was also so instrumental. It’s such a great, fun, experimental space to play and be free. I didn’t really appreciate having such a liberating platform for creativity – we weren’t beholden to the university, or to advertisers, so we could publish off-the-wall, super-liberal, queer content without worrying about being too this or too that.

If you’re not at university, seek out as many free, creative workshops, collectives and opportunities as you can! They are there, and they would love to have you.

  • Scottish Youth Theatre has amazing resources, I’ve have found a group of writers to share work with through TextLab.
  • Creative Scotland’s Opportunities hub always has loads of free and interesting workshops on there. They also post paid jobs too.
  • In Glasgow, Gum, Pith and From Glasgow to Saturn regularly host free workshops which you don’t have to be a Glasgow Uni student to attend.
  • Also shout out to Drawing Life Glasgow. I modelled for them for a few years which bolstered my confidence; their life drawing sessions are a great de-stresser and a good way of meeting other creatives.

Interview by Frankie Mari
Mention Lara Delmage