Funding for Welsh-language Magazines

18 Nov 2011

The lively nature of the Welsh magazine scene made a favourable impression on the Welsh Books Council’s Welsh-language Publishing Grants Panel as they awarded the magazine tenders for the next three years.

"We received twenty applications for consideration," said Gareth Davies Jones, Chair of the Panel, "reflecting the efforts of editors and publishers who produce a vast range of attractive material for readers. There was general praise for the standard of the submissions received."

Due to the interest in the field, applications worth a total of £415,000 were submitted, and careful evaluation was required as there had been no increase to the available annual budget of £360,000.

The funds available allowed 16 magazines, varying in content from current affairs to leisure material for children and adults, to be supported.

"It is very important that we are able to maintain a wide range of publications for readers," said Richard Owen, Head of the Council’s Publishing Grants Department. "An indication of the appeal of these magazines is that they reach so many readers. Total sales of the supported magazines is almost 32,000 and it’s estimated that the total readership is at least three times that figure."

Listed below are the magazines which will receive support for the period 2012–2015:

Issues per year

Annual Grant

News/Current Affairs

Y Cymro

52

£  18,000

Barn

10

£  80,000

Golwg

50

£  73,000

Literature and Religion

Barddas

4

£  24,000

Cristion

6

£    4,800

Gair y Dydd

4

£    2,400

Taliesin

3

£  28,500

Y Traethodydd

4

£    8,000

Leisure titles: Children

Wcw

12

£  36,000

Cip

10

£  26,000

Leisure titles: Adult

Y Casglwr

3

£    1,500

Fferm a Thyddyn

2

£    2,000

Lingo Newydd

6

£  18,000

Llafar Gwlad

4

£    7,000

Y Selar

4

£  12,000

Y Wawr

4

£  10,000

Development grants fund

£    8,800

£360,000

Following much debate, it was decided to withdraw the grant for Tu Chwith. Although the magazine had accomplished important work in developing young writers, the substantial fall in sales over recent years showed that it was no longer fulfilling the needs of its target audience and it therefore fell short of its objectives.

In light of this decision it was agreed to establish a development fund with emphasis on promoting the work of young authors, and to discuss with other titles how best to provide them with publishing opportunities, as well as to research multi-platform methods of reaching new audiences.

Of the new applications received this year, the Grants Panel admired the manner in which the publishers of Y Glec and Wa-w! had succeeded, through the efforts of their editors, in publishing several issues without grant aid. Unfortunately these magazines could not be supported within the current budget without endangering the future of some of the other publications.

In the case of Y Glec, although the Panel understood that it would approach poetry in a different way to Barddas, it was felt that much of the content could be included in other existing publications.

The fact that 18 issues of Wa-w! had appeared since 2009 was testament to the efforts of the editor, but the Panel was not totally convinced that it was possible to develop a magazine with a local flavour into a national publication without undermining the very nature of its success.

Gareth Davies Jones added, "Awarding the tenders this year wasn’t easy due to the competition. However, we can certainly be proud of the thorough process which has secured interesting and appealing reading material which is a credit to all those who are involved in Welsh-language magazine publishing."

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