Scottish Review of Books magazine suspended as Creative Scotland rejects funding bid

Scottish Review of Books magazine suspended as Creative Scotland rejects funding bid

Creative Scotland has rejected the Scottish Review of Books' (SRB) latest funding application, forcing the publication to suspend its print edition. 

The SRB board announced a break in regular publication of the print edition of the quarterly magazine after Creative Scotland turned down its application to part-fund 70,000 copies for £45,000. SRB will continue to publish online and will make its archive available on its website. 

In a statement, SRB said: "We hope to find new sources of funding and return to full print production but in the meantime we are in touch with subscribers to offer refunds and will retain an active online presence through our website and social media accounts. A new edition of Scottish Review of Books Extra will be published on our website next week."

Creative Scotland has part-funded the Edinburgh-based magazine for 15 years. The magazine is distributed for free via bookshops, book festivals, libraries and newspaper inserts. 

SRB editor Alan Taylor said he is angry about the "ignorant" decision and highlighted that a Creative Scotland 'sector review' recommended there should be more support for literary reviews and criticism.

He said: "The magazine will exist as an online publication but at same time people in the far-found parts of Scotland won't be able to get copies of it. They've been writing in their droves saying they are very upset by this. We are committed to properly paying our contributors, but if we can't pay them that will change the tenor of the content and there maybe less of it. We may have to accept free content which we are not inclined to do in our print edition. I'm angry, it's such a stupid, ignorant decision."

Creative Scotland has invited SRB to reapply for funding and offered advice on a "strengthened resubmission". 

A Creative Scotland spokesperson said: "Creative Scotland appreciates that reviews and criticism serve a vital function within the literature and publishing ecosystem. Our Literature Sector Review of 2015 stated that ‘more literary reviews and criticism should be supported, representing a diversity of content’. 

"Scottish Review of Books has been supported on multiple occasions through Creative Scotland's Open Project Fund, and we have worked with the organisation to support on the development and delivery of the Emerging Critics programme, which is also supported by our funding. The Open Project Fund is highly competitive and a recent application by Scottish Review of Books, was unsuccessful in this context. 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 Scottish Review of Books to advise on a strengthened resubmission and are available to do so again at any time."