NWR Issue r8

Review 8

May brings us full circle as we complete our first year of our new branding, including eight e-editions with reviews, essays, comment and multimedia spanning artforms. It has felt like a grope in the dark (me groping not vice versa: those days are long gone), to be frank, with me worrying whether we were expecting too much of subscribers (asking them to use codes, I ask you!) or were we giving too much away for free to the rest of you lucky browsers? So it was an education to hear at a training session last week with expert in digital platforms, Carolyn Morgan, that not only were we giving both those on our subscribers list a very great deal in their package, but that we were also most probably giving too much away for free to everybody else (eg an in-house curated nonfiction prize with associated events, tasters and publications), and, most shocking of all, our subscriptions as they stand were far too cheap. We will be mulling this over and looking into how The Economist does things, as apparently they have got it sussed when it comes to placing the right stuff on the right platform at the right price. 

Another circle closes in Review 8 with Ellen Bell's review of Bangor University lecturer Lisa Blower's novel, Sitting Ducks, in which class consciousness and non-preachy partisanship are just as delightfully present as Lisa promised in our interview with her back in early 2014 when she had just been shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award. Yet another loop is thrown around Cardiff fiction writer Crystal Jeans, whose dirty urban voice you will first have heard in Issue 103 in 'Split Me in Two, Gareth Moon'. I'm delighted that she's found a book publisher in Honno, that Honno are challenging Parthian on the dirty urban streetscape and that we will publish an extract from her debut novel of Jehovah's Witnesses and pitbulls, Vegetarian Tigers of Paradise,  at the end of May, to coincide with my interview with her at Hay Festival on Monday 30 May at 7pm. Our video interview with Crystal goes live right here.

Please join us also at Hay, on Wednesday 1 June (3pm), where we unveil the shortlist of both the University of South Wales Prize for Travel Writing and the Best Travel Book Poll, both under the New Welsh Writing Awards banner. Alongside the usual extrovert stuff, with wine, we'll be showing a video of shortlisted authors and entries, with readings and animation, talking about what makes the perfect travel book, and I'll be interviewing a mystery guest from the shortlist. Last year's winner (of the WWF Cymru Prize for Writing on Nature and the Environment), Eluned Gramich, is going great guns, including presenting her debut novel to our Prize partner, literary agency WME. Eluned's winning long-form memoir set on Hokkaido, northern Japan, is still available as an ebook, Woman Who Brings the Rain, described by Amazon reviewers as as 'enticing', 'evocative' and 'really beautiful and thoughtful… a page-turner and highly recommended'. 


• Omar Sabbagh reviews Pigeon by Alys Conran (Parthian)

• Garry MacKenzie reviews And She Was: A Verse-Novel by Sarah Corbett (Pavillion Poets: Liverpool University Press)

• Daniel Leeman reviews From the Horse’s Mouth by Tina Carr and Annemarie Schöne (Simply Solar)

• Ellen Bell reviews Sitting Ducks by Lisa Blower (Fair Acre Press) 

• Watch a video interview with Crystal Jeans talking about her novel The Vegetarian Tigers of Paradise and future projects.


previous editorial: Review 7
next editorial: Spuds and Lobster


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