A Letter from our Editor
It’s been an interesting two weeks. Manic, exhausting, and about as rewarding as this job gets. Two weeks ago Wales Arts Review published our Newport Edition, a chance for us to take a balanced look at our hometown. I won’t pretend it wasn’t a bit of a gamble; Newport, as we all know, does not have a great reputation, and we knew that we would have to overcome that reputation in order to interest people. As editor, I am proud and relieved that the response to what eventually was The Newport Edition exceeded even our most ambitious hopes (and Wales Arts Review is founded on an atmosphere of unfettered ambitious hope). The Newport Edition was an enormous success.
Combining analytical essays, reviews and impassioned memoir from a team of writers who, for one reason or another, hold Newport close to their hearts, Wales Arts Review published our most successful edition in the eighteen months since we first went live.
To celebrate this special edition, and to say a small thank you to all those who made the edition the success it was, we held a small event at Newport’s Riverfront Theatre on Thursday 22nd August. There were several short readings and speeches made to a packed out bar, before the party decamped to the Murenger House for less formal ‘reflections’ and ‘discussions’.
Two weeks have passed since the event and publication of the Newport Edition, and the editorial team have had a chance to examine the reactions and feedback for what we did. Wales Arts Review would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who helped make The Newport Edition such a success, from the editorial team, to the contributors, to The Riverfront for their support, and to our sponsors for the edition, Seren Housing Group.
We can now reveal some cold hard stats regarding where Wales Arts Review is currently ‘at’. And it seems that in such difficult economic times, the appetite for quality writing about the arts is in extremely rude health.
The Newport Edition saw Wales Arts Review’s number of unique visitors (a figure equivocal to a print journal’s circulation figures) rise up to 7,449 people. This would put a conservative readership estimation at around a little under 19,000 according to the calculations used by the National Readership Survey.
We are also able to boast that The Review is now being read in 94 different countries worldwide, including Kosovo, Guadeloupe and Peru. In fact, 20% of our readership comes from outside of the UK.
We can also see from our statistics that the number of people who visited us for the Newport Edition were predominantly from outside of the Newport area (although Newport was the third highest city contributor of readers, after London and Cardiff), suggesting to us that our decision to create a Newport special was hardly isolating or introverted, and certainly not the navel-gazing of a ‘cultural wasteland’.
So, once again, thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make the Newport Edition such a success. The warmth and appreciation that has come across my desk from our readers this last fortnight has been quite humbling. And, more importantly, thank you to everyone who has worked toward making The Review what it has become in the last eighteen months. It is a very special team to be a part of, and I think that is reflected in the standard of our output.
And finally, a passionate thanks to our readers, in whom we put a great deal of faith, but who repay that by showing even more in us, every fortnight.
Senior Editor, Wales Arts Review
Wales Arts Review Senior Editor, Gary Raymond, reading an extract from his Newport ABC.
Rajvi Glasbrook Griffiths reading from her reflective essay ‘Coming to Newport’.
Craif Austin reading an extract from his examination of Newport’s musical culture, ‘Oh, Newport, My Lionheart…’
Wales Arts Review Chairman of the Board, Matt Mathias, welcomes guests to The Riverfront.
Wales Arts Review Managing Editor Phil Morris thanks all those whose hard work goes into making The Review what it is.
Wales Arts Review Deputy Editor Ben Glover (centre).
Seren Group’s Head of Communications, Neil Ingham.
Director of Newport’s Pentalk Lab, and our DJ for the evening, Jamie Winchester.
Banner illustration by Dean Lewis