BLOG Gwen Davies

NWR Issue 96

New Welsh Review summer issue 2012

I recently spoke of the relative merits and kudos of print and online editions in a session on literary magazines at the Dylan Thomas Centre. This is also the subject of a Literature Wales website item by Funderland author Nigel Jarrett. The summer issue of New Welsh Review, out now, is our last edition to appear only in print format, since this autumn we launch app-subscriptions and e-pub versions alongside the traditional format. So where better than giving a newspaper column the exclusive on celebrating print alone?

John Harrison, whose new book on Antarctica, Forgotten Footprints, is reviewed in the same edition, launches the first in his new series, ‘Islands on the Edge’, with a piece on St Kilda: ‘St Kildans didn’t like the sea. They couldn’t swim and never made a boat… they thought fish poor fare: not oily enough…. They were the only known culture to exist primarily on birds. The fulmars arrived in December, and the islanders climbed down the cliffs on ropes to kill them. As well as eggs and meat, the birds yielded oil, up to half a pint a bird if you drew back the wings when taking them, to stop them vomiting it over you.’

In the fifth of our series pairing contemporary writers with classic texts, Grahame Davies pays an imaginary visit to Cairo’s St David’s Building, a former department store run by the Davies Bryan family, decorated with Iolo Morganwg’s druidic ‘secret sign’ and ‘once the largest modern edifice in Africa’. His essay is a response to an Egyptian-set 1913 novel, The Lost Mameluke, by David M Beddoe.

Translation features in this issue include a Chinese poem translated by Pascale Petit; Tony Bianchi’s story, ‘Eric ’n’ Ernie’, in which a teenager gives his overbearing father his commeuppance, and Richard Gwyn’s review of epic novel Traveller of the Century by Argentine literary superstar Andrés Neuman.

Issue 96 also feature Sarah Howe on young US women poets and Alice Entwistle’s review of Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch’s ‘magnetising’ new poetry collection, Banjo. This is launched at Hay on 5 June and an interview with her is here. On Friday, 8 June, I will be in conversation at the festival with Fflur Dafydd and Horatio Clare. Ellie Rees, Horatio’s teacher at Atlantic College, interviews him online as our second showcased author, and the trio is completed by myself in conversation with Gee Williams, author of A Girl’s Arm.

This was first published in Gwen's Western Mail First View column on Saturday 26 May 2012.



       


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