OPINION Gwen Davies

NWR Issue 122

Your Chance to Secure New Welsh Review's Future

We have launched a Crowdfunder campaign to #SecureNewWelshReview in order to urgently raise £14,000 so that we can keep thriving. Wales’ foremost literary magazine is now appealing to our readers, supporters and the literary community in Wales and beyond to pledge; the move follows funders’ cuts of over £17,000 in 2019: a 20% reduction. Readers, writers friends and supporters can pledge by visiting this page.

In an era where funding for the arts and independent publishing is in sharp decline, New Welsh Review is sadly not immune. Last year, we received a £5,000 reduction (10% below budget forecasts) in annual funding from our core sponsors, Books Council of Wales, as well as a cut of £11,000 from the magazine’s academic host, Aberystwyth University, which has continued to help fund the New Welsh Writing Awards. In light of this, a Crowdfunder has been launched with a wide range of Rewards on offer.

Rewards vary from a workshop on the poetry of flight in Aberystwyth with Matthew Francis; an intimate talk in Swansea with Andrew Green, author of Wales in 100 Objects; copies of recently published books by Firefly, Honno, Parthian, Seren, University of Wales Press; pitching and translation workshops with New Welsh Review editor, Gwen Davies, the opportunity to be a bookseller for a day at Griffin Books in Penarth and much more...

The magazine has been central to a thriving and innovative creative and review culture in Wales for over thirty years. New Welsh Reader is published three times a year along with six e-editions and since 2015, the Welsh publisher has also run the writer development initiative, the New Welsh Writing Awards, in partnership with Literature Wales’ Tŷ Newydd, Gladstone’s Library and Curtis Brown literary agency.

According to the magazine’s recent readers’ survey, 76% of its estimated 1,250 readership reside in Wales with a remarkable 40% of their readers working in the creative arts. New Welsh Review regularly partners with literary festivals; in 2019 alone, the magazine delivered events, workshops or talks in Aberystwyth, Newport, Crickhowell, Hay, Penarth, Swansea and at Gregynog Hall.

Editor Gwen Davies says: "I love writers, but I really cherish readers. A magazine is not just about the architecture but also the household. We exist to discover, promote and celebrate the writers of tomorrow as well as established voices in Wales and beyond. I am enormously proud to work alongside authors at the top of their game, such as Philip Gross, Gwyneth Lewis, Rory MacLean, Robert Minhinnick, Fflur Dafydd and Patrick McGuinness.

I am also proud to spot and welcome emerging writers who have gone on to be prize winners, including Crystal Jeans, Eluned Gramich, Mari Ellis Dunning and Alys Conran. To give our prose – such as work by Cynan Jones and Peter Goulding – international wings through negotiating rights with journals such as The New Yorker or the Times Literary Supplement. To nurture a much enhanced female contributor list. To make multilingual writers feel at home and in communion. To run a bijou book imprint, offering even longer shelf-life. To open up our offices to disadvantaged, talented students from across Wales, giving them a step onto the ladder and doing our bit in making the publishing industry that bit more diverse and less London-centric.

Publishing is a relatively budget artform, as writing and reading are relatively cheap pastimes. All can play a fundamentally democratic role in preserving intelligent debate, upholding civilised values and championing developing literary genres. But while of course we are grateful to our core and project funders, all this thought needs love and care to thrive. To live on, such qualities require the right proportion of investment. But that is currently askew. We depend upon the love and care of individual readers and writers to help set that balance right. While we are grateful to be currently in receipt of core funding from Books Council of Wales, and project funding from Aberystwyth and Swansea universities as well as from an individual donor, we will nonetheless be unsustainable by summer 2020 unless we bridge this shortfall while we get ourselves onto an even keel.”

Readers, supporters and friends can find out more about the appeal and pledge from just £5 upwards via the Crowdfunder page here.


previous opinion: Swansea Automatic


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