Scottish Review of Books ceases magazine publication after funding loss

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ONE of Scotland’s leading literary magazines to stop printing after being denied Creative Scotland funding.

The Scottish Review of Books, first published in 2004, said it could no longer print its quarterly magazine after being turned down for funding.

SRB bid for funding of £ 45,000 from the opening project fundraising pot.

The magazine’s editor said the decision to deny the funds was “shameful”.

Alan Taylor, the writer and journalist, said: “It goes without saying that I am deeply upset and irritated by this latest turn of events and totally appalled by the decision by Creative Scotland which, by the way, was taken in behind closed doors and with the names of those who took it redacted.

“It’s really unbelievable.

“This is a dysfunctional organization that claims to support Scottish culture when in reality it hinders it in the most destructive way.

“The irony is that Creative Scotland’s own ‘sector review’ recommended that there be more support for literary reviews and criticism.

“Well, now we know what to think. So here we are in the world’s first so-called City of Literature. [Edinburgh] without a printed publication devoted to the review of Scottish books. It is shameful.

It is believed that Creative Scotland wanted the journal to expand its board of directors and pay its members, who are currently unpaid, among other suggested changes.

In a May 9 letter to the body, its chairman, Jan Rutherford, said that the effective withdrawal of funds “is killing the publication of the Scottish Review of Books as we know it – a magazine reviewing Scottish writing and the arts at large which is freely accessible to readers through the Herald newspaper, bookstores, libraries, festivals and other venues.

“Then, of course, there are the subscribers and the website – scottishreviewofbooks.org – which has an international audience, as well as a more local audience.

“Creative Scotland’s decision … deprives well-respected existing and new writers of a platform for their work and leaves Scottish readers much poorer.

“And that means a valuable information and advertising platform for publishers, booksellers, venues and producers, exhibitors and others.”

The letter adds: “The impact on Scottish letters and critics will be untold. Who would have thought that such a thing could be allowed to happen in what we affectionately boast of being the world’s premier city of literature. ”

A spokesperson for Creative Scotland said: “Creative Scotland appreciates that critics and critiques perform a vital function within the literature and publishing ecosystem.

“Scottish Review of Books has been repeatedly supported by Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund, and we have worked with the organization to support the development and implementation of the Emerging Critics program, which is also supported by our funding .

“The Open Project Fund is very competitive and a recent Scottish Review of Books application was not successful in this context.”

She added: “Unsuccessful applicants to the Fund may reapply and Creative Scotland is committed to offering support in these circumstances; members of our team have met with the Scottish Review of Books to advise on a new enhanced submission and are available to do so at any time. ”

In 2017, the Scottish Review of Books launched a mentoring program for emerging critics.

He said: “We intend to continue our online activities and make our archives fully available on our website. We hope to get back to print as soon as possible. The future of emerging critics is uncertain.”

Ms Rutherford said she is now seeking funding to continue publishing the quarterly magazine.

“We are fighting,” she said.

She added: “The Scottish Review of Books board and management team have volunteered their time for 15 years and have relied on advertising, subscriptions, sponsorship and grants to enable us to ‘print copies of the magazine to distribute to anyone with an interest in Scottish writing.

“We have been inundated with messages of dismay and good wishes over the past few days and sincerely hope that we will find another way forward. Pages devoted to the arts are dwindling in all areas of the media and the print edition of the Scottish Review of Books has been a much needed resource and a good read

“Our website will continue and we hope our readers will find us there.”


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