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Sunday 1 November 2015

Whatever Happened to The Read Quarterly?

This week I was really excited to receive an email from a friend directing me to a brand new project.  Launched on Kickstarter by champions of children’s literature Kate Manning and Sarah Odedina (who oversaw the publication of the Harry Potter series at Bloomsbury), it was a brand new quarterly magazine described as “a critical look at the culture of children’s literature, art and words, for an adult audience.”

The magazine sounded incredible. The first issue was coming out of the gate at full speed, with the initial instalment of a new story by Eoin Colfer called “Holy Mary,” and articles such as “The Loss of Innocence and its Impact on the Work of Beatrix Potter” by Eleanor Taylor, and “The Theme of Independence in Literature for Children Written in India” by Jaya Bhattacharji Rose. It looked beautiful, it sounded exactly like the sort of thing that I’m sure we would all adore, and it had a crossword.

It didn’t get off the ground.

The Read Quarterly made only a fraction of the money it hoped to receive to help produce its first 144 page issue in January 2016. That said, thankfully its creators haven’t given up.  As one door has closed, they have looked at the windows longingly and gone searching for a nice hard brick. The Read Quarterly website will share some of the articles they hoped to publish in the first issue, and build some momentum for a hopeful publication in the future. Drop in and see the quality and consider the possibilities.

I encourage you to keep your eyes on The Read Quarterly. To me, it sounds like a beautiful, absorbing and skilfully produced addition to the landscape of children’s literature globally. I want to live in a world where something like The Read Quarterly can succeed, because it will help us be better producers of children’s literature, better buyers, and better readers.

If you had not heard of it previously, then when The Read Quarterly comes back from the dead (and I firmly believe based on the calibre of the people involved that it is a matter of when, and not if, ) please support it. It is the sort of publication that could change the way that people perceive children’s literature, and the kinds of ways we talk about it and align it with the adult literary landscape. It is, I strongly believe, an inarguably good thing, and a good model of the sort of publication that might make waves here in Australia, too.  I only hope that next round we can see it get off the ground.

Lyndon Riggall, Author

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