literary scene with plenty of grassroots
events such as “open mic nights” and
literary salons, examples of which include:
The Red Poets, Uplands Literary Salon,
Chapter First Thursday, Storytelling
Events, Pop-up bookshops, Scratch
Platform and Heartspoken.
As well as the grassroots events there are
also the bigger festivals, lead by the well-established and successful Hay Festival.
Literature Wales has also been helping to
grow this area by supporting the Cardiff
Children’s Literature Festival, now in its
third year, as well as intitiating the
Dinefwr Literature Festival–a bilingual celebration of
words held at the beautiful National Trust and Cadw
site (which was the seat of Lord Rhys, the originator of
With a growing confidence in promoting Welsh language,
Wales is looking to translate its great Welsh writers into
English and other languages so that people around the
world can access their great writing. Organisations such as
Wales Literature Exchange help support
this. Parthian is already publishing books in
translation with their imprint Carnival;
they recently published The House of a
Deaf Man by Peter Krištúfek, a Slovakian
novelist. Last year Wales PEN Cymru
launched as one of 145 centres affiliated to
PEN International, and will engage in
campaigns to promote freedom of
expression and promote literature.
As a small country, we have always
punched above our weight in terms of
literary output. Perhaps this is because of
our inherent bilingualism–we have after all
twice as much to play around with lingusitically. Or
perhaps it is because literature is not seen as an elitist
practice in Wales; writing has always belonged to
everybody here and can be found everywhere. ■
putting the arts
at the heart of
how we educate
Lleucu Siencyn is CEO of Literature Wales.
A Dylan Odyssey compiled by Literature Wales (Graffeg) will be
published on 14 May to celebrate International Dylan Thomas Day.
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