Literary journal The White Review has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a move towards publishing reviews in reaction to the "current paucity of space for serious-minded literary and arts criticism" in the UK.
Co-founded by Jacques Testard, founder of independent publisher Fitzcarraldo Editions, and writer Ben Eastham, The White Review was launched in 2011 to provide a space for a new generation of writers and artists to express itself unconstrained by form, subject, or genre, and publishes fiction, essays, interviews with writers and artists, poetry, and series of artworks.
The journal now intends to raise £7,000 to enable it to develop a "crucial" new space on its website dedicated to reviews.
According to Testard: "The current paucity of space for serious-minded literary and arts criticism in the UK desperately needs remedying. Across both print and digital formats, accessible and in-depth arts coverage is dramatically shrinking; there are fewer and fewer column inches for criticism in the broadsheets, and the few remaining publications that are dedicated to such criticism almost universally charge subscription fees, or place content behind a paywall."
In reaction to this, from October 2017 The White Review intends to publish three book reviews and three exhibition reviews on its website each month, providing space for "incisive, provocative and serious criticism". The reviews will aim to consider books and exhibitions which might otherwise "go under the radar", in line with the magazine's longtime emphasis on "ambitious and innovative writing" in English and in translation.
Money raised from the Kickstarter campaign will help fund the project for the first year, with most of the income raised going towards paying reviewers. A "modest amount" will be used to fund a website that will accommodate this new content and make the site more user-friendly.
Testard said: "Like all of The White Review’s online pieces, we want to ensure these reviews are freely accessible to [...] our readers. But we also want to buck the damaging trend that frequently sees writers publish online without pay. By doing so, we hope to set a precedent for a more egalitarian model of digital publishing, and to support a new generation of critics."
Alongside redesigning the print issue, to be re-released in March 2018, The White Review is also planning a greater variety of regional events, a series of creative writing workshops, and will launch a new Poets' Prize later this month.
The White Review has currently raised £4,709 of its goal with 124 backers. Pledges can be made here.
Earlier this month, The Bookseller examined the changing face of book review space across the media featuring various appointments and departures across newspapers, websites and magazines.