The manifesto of art collective Bruce High Quality foundation, the subject of an essay by Legacy Russell in this issue, states its intention to provide ‘amateur solutions’ to ‘professional problems’. All evidence of any manifesto ever drawn up by The White Review’s editors has, happily, been destroyed. Yet the notion that small, independent ventures might be better placed to address, from without, the institutional problems afflicting the representation and dissemination of contemporary culture chimes with our own ambitions in starting the review.
This edition pursues that aim by seeking to provide a platform, however small, for work unjustly banished to the fringes of our culture. Lauren Elkin, in her essay on écriture feminine, writes passionately against the exclusion of female writing from the literary mainstream, contending that the publishing industry’s conservatism has reduced women to ‘barking from the margins’. The novelist Deborah Levy, now winning belated acknowledgement as one of Britain’s foremost avant-garde writers and interviewed in these pages, might agree.
Croatian writer Dubravka Ugrešić, who fled her home country to escape the oppobrium heaped upon her for her opposition to the war that tore Yugoslavia apart in 1991, provides living proof that disruptive voices are forced into exile. The art critic, novelist and filmmaker Chris Kraus and artist Sophie Calle – both interviewed in this edition – are others who strive to present different perspectives on the way that we experience the world.
Elsewhere we continue to mix new talent with established writers and artists we admire. We are thrilled to publish a new poem by the great John Ashbery alongside work by Jack Underwood, Sumana Roy and Eugene Ostashevsky. Claudia Wieser contributes a series of collages which take as their starting point, appropriately enough, pages from books; Guy Gormley’s startled photographs attend to the febrile beauty of the peripheral and fleeting.
We are delighted to include fiction from Eley Williams and China Miéville, who has done so much to redraw the skewed boundaries of what is considered ‘serious’ fiction in this country. The issue concludes with Claire-Louise Bennett’s ‘The Lady of the House’, the winner of the inaugural White Review Short Story Prize (for which the author was awarded £2,500 courtesy of the Jerwood Charitable Foundation). We hope you agree that this story is testament to the existence of a reserve of creative talent that extends far beyond the established centres, and that it is our shared responsibility to seek those edges out.