Books: I, Eric Ngalle

Books: I, Eric Ngalle

Three weeks ago Wales Arts Review published a review of a memoir by Wales-based Cameroonian writer Eric Ngalle. Although the article was published in good faith, and was written by a writer with a long publishing record in life writing, it seems clear now that the review can too easily be interpreted as an ad hominem, and that in turn the article evokes very reasonable interpretations of problematic angles. We have listened at length to the concerns of those who have emailed and called about this review, and believe it is the right thing to do to retract the article.

Wales Arts Review, since 2012, has published 3,260 articles of critical writing on the arts and culture of Wales. We have always been an independent, progressive platform for the writers, artists, and thinkers of Wales to raise questions and posit answers. As an organisation running a full time schedule on a part time budget, we are proud of our record on publishing work that addresses the most important issues of the day for all of Wales’s people. However, we also feel, after much reflection, it is only right we state clearly when we have failed to meet our own exacting standards.

Just as importantly, we cannot allow the shortcomings that this article represents to overshadow or crowd out the excellent work produced by those involved in bringing Wales Arts Review to its readers.

In the heated knee-jerk exchanges of social media, a three-week wait for a response may seem a long time. But it has taken Wales Arts Review this long to consult with a wide range of people on this matter, and to compose a statement we felt addressed the issue correctly.

Throughout this period we have reflected on our own decision-making processes and we are determined to undertake an evaluation of the structure and efficiency of Wales Arts Review. We are determined to do better.

Wales Arts Review without our readership, those that champion and (just as importantly) those that criticise, would be an empty voice in the vastness of the internet. We are rightly proud to have such dedicated, enthusiastic and engaged readers – and we would like to thank everyone for their support, observations, comments and feedback during the last three weeks.