The Welsh Books Council has announced that it will commission a review of English-language magazines in Wales, paying specific attention to publications in receipt of funding from the Council’s grant schemes.
During recent funding periods the Books Council has supported a number of literary and cultural magazines, including New Welsh Review, Planet and Poetry Wales, a literary supplement in Cambria magazine and approximately nine small magazines every year. The independent review will be held during the 2012/13 financial year as part of the Council’s regular monitoring and reappraising of its grant schemes in order to provide varied and appealing material for readers.
"With a scarcity of space dedicated to the literature and culture of Wales in English in other publications, these magazines fulfil a vital role in presenting and debating our literary culture," said Professor M. Wynn Thomas, Chair of the Welsh Books Council.
"We are also aware of the changing patterns in reading habits and this review will provide an opportunity to consider how best to reach readerships that have become accustomed to acquiring information in print and digital form."
The review will help to shape policy on the type of material that should be funded, looking at the present provision as well as the wider variety of magazines available in Wales and beyond. The review will also present a valuable opportunity to consult readers.
"In the past the Welsh Books Council has considered the larger magazine grants separately from the modest grants awarded to small magazines," added Professor Thomas, "and one benefit of conducting a review such as this is the opportunity to regard the provision in its entirety."
It is envisaged that the recommendations of the review will be implemented in 2014 and the magazines to be funded during 2012–14 are given below. Following the usual process, the small magazines grants will be considered by the Grants Panel in July.
Poetry Wales £28,540
New Welsh Review £58,907
On the recommendation of the Magazines Sub-panel and after thorough discussion at the meeting of the Grants Panel, it was decided that the grant for Cambria magazine could not be renewed due to the magazine’s irregular publication schedule during the previous funding period. It was agreed that a grant should be awarded to Agenda for the first time, in order to allow English-language books published in Wales to be reviewed and discussed within its pages.
"The Grants Panel is eager to see the results of the review," said Professor Thomas, "and it will certainly be extremely useful as we endeavour to sustain and develop English-language magazines in Wales."