Courses to develop new authors and illustrators, arranged by the Books Council of Wales and Literature Wales, are starting to bear fruit.
During the past 12 months, a variety of books have been published or are due to be published by authors and illustrators who attended the courses held at Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre in Llanystumdwy, Gwynedd.
A course on Writing and Illustrating for Children was held during February 2019, and another on Writing for Young Adults in February 2020, with a total of 20 authors and 8 illustrators attending the courses following a competitive process.
Helen Jones, Head of Children’s Books and Reading Promotion at the Books Council of Wales, said: “We cannot claim that these books would not have been published at all had it not been for the courses arranged by the Books Council and Literature Wales, but they have undoubtedly helped to develop emerging writers and fill a gap in the market for original Welsh-language reading material for children and young adults. Developing literature of this kind is one of our priorities as a Books Council as we continue to implement the recommendations of the report submitted by Dr Siwan Rosser from the School of Welsh at Cardiff University.”
Leusa Llewelyn, on behalf of Literature Wales, said: “It has been a pleasure to work with the Books Council on these writer development courses, and to see so many of the writers flourish after spending a week at the Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre under the guidance of some of our best authors and tutors. We will continue to work in partnership in order to identify the deficiencies in Wales’ literary culture – addressing the challenges that face us in terms of under-representation and diversity in our literature – and to create new, high-quality development opportunities to ensure that this important work continues.”
Sioned Wyn Roberts, who attended the Writing and Illustrating for Children course in 2019, said: “I enjoyed every moment of the writing and illustrating for children course. While at Tŷ Newydd, I met the artist Bethan May who has brought the character of Fred’s Ffwlbart to life – even Lady Lloyd George’s pink sink is featured! I would never have considered writing books had it not been for the course in Tŷ Newydd and, as a result Ffwlbart Ffred: Drewi fel Ffwlbart, the first in a series of story-and-picture books, was published this year while Gwag y Nos, my children’s novel, will be out next year.”
Books that have been published or are in the process of being published by authors and illustrators who attended the courses include:
- Mae’r Cyfan i Ti (Atebol, 2020) – Luned Aaron
- Nain Nain Nain (Gwasg y Bwthyn, 2019) – words by Rhian Cadwaladr and illustrations by Jac Jones (a tutor on the Writing and Illustrating for Children course)
- Gwyliau Gwirion Fferm Cwm Cawdel (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, 2020) – words by Gwennan Evans
- Criw’r Coed a’r Gwenyn Coll (Y Lolfa, 2020) – words by Carys Glyn and illustrations by Ruth Jên
- Tu Ôl i’r Awyr (Y Lolfa, 2020) – words by Megan Angharad Hunter
- Ffwlbart Ffred: Drewi fel Ffwlbart (Atebol, 2020) – words by Sioned Wyn Roberts and illustrations by Bethan Mai
- Ffwlbart Ffred: Yn ddu fel bol buwch (Atebol 2021) – words by Sioned Wyn Roberts and illustrations by Bethan Mai
- Gwag y Nos (Atebol 2021) – words by Sioned Wyn Roberts
- Amser Canu, Blant (Rily, 2020) – illustrations by Leonie Servini (who has two other books in the pipeline)
- Ynyr yr Ysbryd (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, 2020) – words by Rhian Cadwaladr and illustrations by Leri Tecwyn
There was good news too for Seran Dolma from Penrhyndeudraeth in September 2020 when she won a competition organised by the Friends of the Books Council for a Welsh-language novel for young adults.
Seran had attended the Writing and Illustrating for Children course at Tŷ Newydd in 2019 as an illustrator, and there will be a graphic element to the novel she’s currently completing.
She is also part of the Welsh Literature Writers’ Mentoring Scheme and hopes that her first novel, ‘Y Nendyrau’ (‘The Turrets’) will be published in 2021.