Memoir of a Magazine

As the future life of Wales Arts Review gets shorter and shorter, co-founder and executive editor Gary Raymond embarks on a new venture: to tell the story of the magazine, from its inception in 2011, to its closure sometime in the near future.

There is every chance this is just a gesture in navel-gazing, in self-indulgence, in talking to myself. But I couldn’t escape the fact that as Wales Arts Review prepares to shut up shop, something of its existence should be wrapped up, or an attempt be made to encapsulate its life. A biography of a magazine was tempting because a good biography would, by its nature, be a thing of comprehensive reflection, energy, and insight into what I think was a remarkable achievement. And as the only person working on the magazine from beginning to end, who better placed to write it than me? But that would be a huge task with uncountable duties to the fidelity of truth and balance etc. I’m not sure that, even if I had the time to dedicate to it (which I don’t), I would be the right person for the job. For that job. I am not impartial, I am not detached, I am not apolitical.

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So, instead, I have set about inviting questions from our readers, our writers, and (as if those things don’t crossover anyway), our friends. Questions that maybe those people have always wanted to ask. And I am going to endeavour to answer those questions as fully and honestly as I can, in the spirit of an old maxim that used to be a common call-to-arms of the early days of Wales Arts Review in editorial meetings: PUBLISH AND BE DAMNED!

In the initial stage, I have reached out to a select few to get the ball rolling – and the questions have come thick and fast. But I’m preparing myself to answer as many as come in, for as long as it takes, sort of like when Alan Alda exhausts all the journalists in The West Wing.

So, if you have any questions, you can email them to

Any new questions coming in will be added to the fold, and later this week I will begin to answer them with all the honesty my memory and perspective will allow. I promise to answer all the questions (although some will be amalgamated to avoid inevitable repetitions of nobody knowing what others have asked. It should be fun, and perhaps revealing, and will be if not a eulogy for the magazine of Wales Arts Review, then at least an epilogue.

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