'Love in the Time of Cholera': New Welsh Review Campaign Successful despite COVID 19! (02-04-2020)

Today (2 April 2020), New Welsh Review's Crowdfunder campaign successfully raised £15,422 in 35 days
We are delighted to announce that our fundraising campaign, launched with the site only five weeks ago, achieved our target of £14,000 within weeks, with 221 supporters.

Despite the fact that Britain went into lockdown due to coronavirus during our campaign's last ten days, that we had to move our workforce to home premises, and that millions of self-employed, including writing freelancers (into whose goodwill we hoped to tap), were left facing economic uncertainty, we sailed past our first target, above our second, and closed our campaign two hours ago, having banked £15,422.

Campaign lows included coronavirus anxiety; coronavirus UK government measures, firstly the closure of our office building and early evacuation of students, latterly the UK government's lockdown creating economic uncertainty, both individual and globally, with its inevitable impact on people' ability to budget beyond their own individual needs. The terror that our own (UK and Welsh) publishing industry infrastructure was under grave threat, not just from the closure of bookshops but also wholesalers such as Gardners, the Books Council of Wales distribution centre near Aberystwyth and even the possibility that global suppliers such as Amazon might make the long-term decision to prioritise 'non-essential' goods such as books during the crisis. Such contingency planning, affecting not just our magazine but also the books we publish, became a weekly and essential distraction. The realisation that we would no longer be able to offer some of our imaginative 'rewards' based on face-to-face and public interaction, such as our planned 'Be a Bookseller for the Day' at Griffin Bookshop, Penarth, and other talks and workshops, both artistic and bookish. Also, the launch of competing fundraising campaigns by other cultural organisations affected by the crisis, particularly those dependent on public-space related art forms and activity.

Campaign highs included the very early support of author Philip Pullman, artist Jackie Morris and the very practical and warm support of artist Dan Llywelyn Hall, who offered an etching/artbook and the auctioning of his Snowdonia mountainscape in oils. Also a crucial mid-campaign £5000 donation from a mystery donor. And lovely donations of rewards, which were all sold, by poets Deryn Rees-Jones and Damian Gorman. Our own COBRA meetings in our individual kitchens and studies, to tweak day by day as political events simply happened.

But we made it, thanks to you, our 221 supporters and the wider generosity of our colleagues and friends in the publishing, books and arts community, of Wales and beyond. Our short-term future is secure, and we look to our fantastic new website and 'customer-relation management' system to make that bridge into a more secure future. Increased productivity, less faffing around on rubbish websites (like this one, sorry dear!), slicker communication with subscribers, contributors and friends. A medium of publication which matches the quality of our content. Beautiful imagery in the right shop window. Our digital offer to individuals in a one-stop shop, alongside digital back-issues, and the whole thing searchable via theme or category. Already we know, in transition to our new site, that major themes have emerged in the content we already have. They are nature, poetry, the short story, the novel, industry, politics, dysfunctional relationships (that's fiction for you), alienation (that's poetry for you), disability, female power, family, travel writing, the nonfiction essay, artistic interpretation, translation, international and adaptation.

We look forward to you all searching on our new site, to find out what the new themes will be that emerge for Wales and the world during the coming years. 'Solitude' will be one, and its counterpart, 'community', may well emerge once we've all had too much of being alone, even with books and magazines to keep us company. There will be other themes, and we, our writers and with our collective imagination, will be there to identify them and help them cohere into a collective consciousness that we can be proud of.


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