Literary Review was founded in Edinburgh in 1979 by Dr Anne Smith, head of the English Department at Edinburgh University. She wanted to create a lively, intelligent literary magazine for people who love reading but shudder at academic and intellectual jargon.
From the start, Literary Review plugged in to the best and most exciting current writing. The reviewers are usually authors themselves, not just critics. In the 1980s, Auberon Waugh became editor. For fourteen years Waugh led the magazine and gave it the high profile it has today, including bringing on board Willie Rushton as cover illustrator. Nancy Sladek has edited the magazine for the last fifteen years and in 2015 was awarded the prestigious Benson Medal for outstanding services to English literature.
The iconic covers have been illustrated since 1997 by Chris Riddell, who was made Children’s Laureate in 2015.