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Back to the Future: A re-launch for the New Welsh Review

19 May 2024 4 minute read
Back to the future, Photo Taz Rahman

Richard Davies

The New Welsh Review is back and looking to the future. The first of the new editions was pre-viewed at the annual conference of the Association of Welsh Writing in English held at Gregynog Hall.

It was a fitting setting for the relaunch as AWWE were one of the founding societies of the magazine..

Sally Roberts Jones, the writer and publisher, was one of the members in 1985 and has hardly missed a conference since, commented, ‘I’m delighted that the New Welsh Review continues to offer opportunities for new writers, especially of the short story.’

Jones has generously donated her bibliography of the Welsh short story to the digital archive of the New Welsh Review.

New Welsh Review Issue no 1 1988

Publisher of the NWR, Dr Richard Davies commented, ‘The New Welsh Review has been part of the literary life of Wales for a generation – it has been important for both writers and critics as a forum for the exchange of ideas, as well a place to publish poetry, stories and essays. It is crucial for a literary culture to be able to reflect, discuss and reflect – the new New Welsh Review will continue to do this.”

Davies brought along to the conference a rare full set of the one hundred and thirty issues of the New Welsh review which represented the work of seven editors over nearly forty years starting with Belinda Humfrey followed by Michael Parnell, Robin Reeves, Victor Golightly, Francesca Rhydderch, Kathryn Gray and Gwen Davies.

The new editions will continue to be edited by Gwen Davies. The full collection was made available through a bequest from Ruth Stephens and the family of Meic Stephens.

Gwen Davies. Photo Taz Rahman

Editor Gwen Davies was also looking back to the future for the new issue where ‘We bring together the best of NWR’s review-essays within a showcase of new work previewing forthcoming titles from some of this country’s key English-language publishers, Calon, Seren and Parthian.

Plus a wonderful original story about a teenage boy on the cusp of bodily and emotional change, ‘Trout’, by Satterday Shaw, and a review-essay on contrasting blustering and humble approaches to stepping over the sub/urban doorstep into nature: ‘Back to the Land’ by Pippa Marland.’

The success of the New Welsh Review imprint received a further boost at the weekend with Birdsplaining by Jasmine Donahaye being short-listed for the Wales Book of the Year.

Also at the reception was the poet Robert Minhinnick who was featured on the cover of issue 1 and has continued to write for the magazine through a long successful career in poetry ‘It is vital, absolutely vital to have this published in Wales.’

Minhinnick also gave a paper at the conference and introduced the key-note reader, the poet, Taz Rahman who read from his first collection East of the Sun, West of the Moon.

Robert Minhinnick and Sally Roberts Jones look on at the new edition AWWE, Gregynog. Photo Taz Rahman

Davies stressed to the conference there were opportunities to write for the magazine and contribute to the ongoing debate.

The NWR is due to appear three times a year. There will be annual prize for the best long-form essay on Welsh writing and culture to be judged by Professor Kirsti Bohata of Swansea University in addition to submissions in prose through the Rheidol Awards and poetry through the Borzello Trust.

The new edition has already received a lot of interest with institutions such as Edinburgh University, Bangor University, Princeton, Harvard, The New York Public Library and the National Library of Wales forming part of a growing subscription list.

All the back issues are currently being converted to digital editions to make the work available through the library network across Wales, the UK and out into the wider world.

Richard Davies. Photo Taz Rahman

Davies concluded ‘We respect the tradition of the magazine, all that hard work and creativity from many editors and writers who have contributed and we will endeavour to live up to the original ethos “to be dynamic, curious, lively and outward-looking, to commemorate the past but to celebrate contemporary excellence and new directions”.’

The new edition will be released on the 5 June. A taster essay from the new edition will be published simultaneously with Nation.Cymru.

New subscribers can sign up at the with a Nation.Cymru 25% discount at

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