New Welsh Review has been central to the Welsh literary scene for over 30 years, offering a vital outlet for the very best new fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry — and we’re lucky enough to have interviewed the publication’s editor, Gwen Davies, about her role and all things publishing!
The pages of New Welsh Review’s digital archive, which stretches back to 2011, feature some of the greatest writers and thinkers from Wales and beyond, including Dannie Abse, P. D. James, Tiffany Murray and Byron Rogers.
So…over to Gwen for the interview! 👏🏼
1) What’s your role within the magazine?
Editor; I also judge the New Welsh Writing Awards run by the magazine, which alternates categories in prose and fiction and promotes shorter publishing forms, under 30,000 words.
2) What drew you to the magazine publishing industry?
My first job as a graduate was at the magazine Planet: The Welsh Internationalist, based, as is New Welsh Review, in Aberystwyth, on the west coast of Wales.
Since then I have alternated between working in book and magazine publishing. I enjoy the fast pace and topicality of the magazine world, the sense of representing a country’s culture, and also the importance of visuals. The development of the internet, digital publishing and the revolution brought about by free online reading patterns has been fascinating, if frightening.
3) If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Carpaccio with parmesan and rocket, plus some chips on the side with a lot of vinegar.
4) If you weren’t working in publishing, what would you be doing?
Writing (but that probably counts as publishing, or I would hope it did).
Otherwise I would like to retire and loll about on a beach with a pile of novels, but cannot see that happening soon.
5) Do you have an all-time favourite New Welsh Review issue?
Issue 100, a bumper issue, which we celebrated with a cover by the legendary Magnum photographer, David Hurn.
6) If you could live in any city, where would it be?
Cádiz; I love the way the city buildings run right up to the sea, and the buzz of scooters.
7) What do you think will have changed in the publishing industry in 5 years?
I know it won’t happen but I wish fewer book titles were published, so that some excellent titles, especially by independent publishers, including those from Wales, wouldn’t get overlooked in the way that’s happening now.
I also wish that people would return to the tactile values of print: the fact that print titles are holding up in the children’s market proves that it is an innate human need, to touch and rest your eyes on a calming page that is not backlit. My third wish is that people would realise (and I know it’s starting to happen) that nothing comes for free, and that cultural products of integrity (including magazines, articles and books, but also film and high-quality TV) must be paid for. I would rather pay money up front than have my privacy and personal tastes exploited.
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Thanks so much for taking part Gwen, some very interesting insights there — and now I’m dying to visit Cádiz! 🛵
If you’d like to take part in the Publisher Interview series, please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.