Though a ‘Review of Books’, the content of the articles in the magazine is by no means limited to literary analysis. The ultimate aim of the Review is to allow student writers to discuss the subjects they are passionate about, but which they may not have the opportunity to explore in the course of their academic studies. Interspersed with the longform articles is an eclectic range of poetry, short fiction, and diaries. Furthermore, each piece of writing is accompanied by a bespoke illustration, created by one of the many talented student artists in Cambridge.
The Cambridge Review of Books was launched in March 2020 at the University of Cambridge by students Ben Francis and Grace Warren. Their vision was to create a new type of student journalism in Cambridge focused on in-depth cultural engagement. Since its conception the magazine has had huge success, selling over 600 editions from 8 print issues. The latest edition was published in Autumn 2022 and we are currently working on our spring 2023 edition.
As a termly magazine with a strong emphasis on the continued importance of print journalism, the Review provides a unique opportunity for student writers. Articles are commissioned on the basis of pitches submitted just before the start of each term and written specifically for that issue. This allows our writers to engage critically with their subject matter, and work closely with an editor to bring the best out of their work.
The print issue of the Cambridge Review of Books comes out once a term - that is, three times a year. Each issue contains several long-form articles as its main focus, as well as a few creative and, more recently, translation pieces. Every piece of writing is accompanied by an illustration, specially conceived for that work by our team of illustrators. The written content in the finished issue is the fruit of a long process, starting at the beginning of the term, when our team of editors discuss and select writing from all the pitches submitted for that issue. We look for clear and compelling writing, adventurous and playful ideas, and generosity towards the reader, with a view to producing a magazine that feels simultaneously varied and coherent as a whole. The selected writers then work closely with an editor on an individual basis over an extended period to refine the style and content of their article. It is at the heart of CRoB’s ethos to foster this editor-writer relationship, and to create a space for mutually respectful dialogue and considered, rather than hurried, inquiry. We seek to be as expansive about the notion of a ‘Review of Books’ as possible: as well as book reviews, we have published articles on architecture, photography, popular culture and dance, as well as interviews and personal essays on queerness, place, and family relationships. We hope to expand this further in forthcoming issues, particularly into the realms of political commentary, theatre, and in works that subvert genre and embrace interdisciplinarity. Contact us by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Cambridge Review of Books’ digital presence works on the basis of rolling submissions, which we accept both in and out of term time. We tend to add new content on a weekly basis. The site reaches an international audience and in a typical month, our site has visitors from 26 countries and from every continent. Some of what we publish, for example short stories, poetry and personal essays, echoes the forms included in our print magazine. However, thanks to the broader scope enabled by our digital format, we also have a very strong focus on the visual arts. We often publish photo series or series of paintings and drawings, ranging from the whimsical to searing portrayals of the effects of climate change. In the future, we are hoping to also showcase short films. On our site, prose is always balanced with the visual, as each of our written pieces is accompanied by at least one, but more frequently several, illustrations commissioned from one of our staff illustrators or a series of photos provided by the contributor. We also seek to illuminate the processes of creation, with artists explaining the rationale behind their choices. Like the Print edition, our essays combine the erudite and the personal to grant the reader a fresh and interesting perspective and we look for curiosity, originality and an incisive voice in our writers. We also frequently publish interviews with cultural figures, such as the world famous artist and dissident Ai Weiwei, and students who participate in the Cambridge arts scene. Unlike the Print edition, contributors submit a draft, rather than a pitch to us, and if the piece is accepted, our editing process is far less lengthy. We are open to submissions from anyone with a connection to Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge University or the town of Cambridge, including graduates. Contact us by email on email@example.com.