The idea for the magazine was born in a café in Bandol, a small town on the south coast of France between Marseilles and Toulon. A previous customer had left a copy of the popular American pocket magazine Coronet on one of the tables and when a group of refugee writers arrived for their regular daily meeting it was passed around. The group comprised the German poet and dramatist Ernst Toller, the Austrian writer Arnold Zweig, the German novelist Leon Feuchtwanger, and the thirty-six-year-old Hungarian journalist, photographer and film-maker Stefan Lorant, former editor of the Münchener Illustrierte and the Weekly Illustrated. Also present was Alison Blair, daughter of the editor of the Calcutta Statesman and then married to a wealthy businessman. When Feuchtwanger suggested that Lorant should start a similar but more upmarket pocket magazine in the UK, Blair offered £2,000 of her own money to fund it.
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