NWR Issue 82

Life and Times

The most exciting first editorials shoot from the hip. They rebel against regime, convention, inertia. They delight and infuriate. Make their authors enemies and win them new, unexpected allies. They mark the end of the past, herald a new era, offer promises that, sadly, more often than not, are quickly forgotten by those that make them - though rarely those that believe them. As it is, if the temptation were there to deliver something along these lines, I am denied such an easy

I take over New Welsh Review following a period of significant reinvigoration and innovation under the often courageous editorship of my predecessor, Francesca Rhydderch. When Francesca took the helm back in 2002, she committed to bring New Welsh Review into the twenty-first century, to passionately foster new talent from Wales and beyond, to produce a high- quality, aspirational, erudite, and engaging quarterly characterised by a rooted cosmopolitanism - defying expectations, interrogating tradition and eschewing dogma. She was true to her word. Readers, writers and the Welsh literary culture at large are all the richer for that. These key objectives will remain resolutely in place for the duration of my editorship.

But ambition dictates that as well as maintaining existing standards, I must now set some standards of my own. And, then, changing times call for different approaches. If the literary magazine scene has experienced something of a rough ride in the latter part of the twentieth century, the twenty-first century promises a period of even greater difficulty and, ultimately, substantial levels of uncertainty. For a printed literary quarterly like New Welsh Review to ignore the digital future is to effectively embrace its own extinction. As Issue 81 of the magazine highlighted, bloggers now impart both authority and currency in a sceptical, fast-paced age. Meanwhile, online magazines which feature new fiction and poetry, and which potentially promise to bring new work before large, international audiences, are still negotiating the problems of credibility, cash and Digital Rights Management to attract established writers - but their time is coming, and you can be sure of that. Social networking sites such as Facebook have, within the last few years, reached tipping point, becoming an everyday part of many people's professional and private lives.

New Welsh Review will engage with the opportunities new technologies can offer us to connect with our readers. I have recently set up an Editor's blog (http://newwelshreview.blogspot.com) which will feature news and views, and I invite readers to comment. In due course, we will also feature guest bloggers. And, if you're on Facebook, you can now join us there to connect with others and find out the latest news on forthcoming issues, events, offers and more. From spring 2009, we will also be accepting unsolicited email submissions of fiction and poetry, underscoring our desire to increase accessibility - and our commitment to the environment.

While readers can still look forward to features, fiction and poetry from distinguished figures from Wales and elsewhere, as well as from the very best emergent talent around, there will be changes within our pages, too - to enhance the reader experience, to widen our scope without sacrificing our focus, to raise the level of constructive and inclusive debate. Immediately evident to regular readers of the magazine will be the introduction of two new elements in this issue. First Hand, with its accent on the creative process, opens with acclaimed director and screenwriter Justin Kerrigan on the genesis of his latest feature film, I Know You Know. And Anthony Brockway is the inaugural contributor to our new opinion column, The Last Word, calling for due critical attention to be given to science fiction from Wales. This issue, Life and Times, also concludes the themed issues which have been successfully running for the past three years, as New Welsh Review now looks to fresh ways to scrutinise the variousness of the literary output, past and present.

I warmly welcome your views on the development of New Welsh Review's pages and of its online presence. You can contact me by post or via email on editor@newwelshreview.com.


previous editorial: Serious Times
next editorial: Digital Cultures


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