£5M Investment in Reading and book-gifting for Children and Young People

£5M Investment in Reading and book-gifting for Children and Young People

Welsh Government announces £5m investment in reading engagement and book-gifting for children and young people across Wales

The Books Council of Wales warmly welcomes the announcement of the significant additional funding from Welsh Government which will deliver the #SchoolsLoveReading book-gifting campaign starting in spring 2022. As part of this multi-million-pound investment in reading engagement, a selection of 50 books will be sent to every state school in Wales, in addition to an individual book for every pupil to keep. The programme will mean that learners across Wales have equal access to a diverse range of appealing and quality literature, in Welsh and English, that has been specially selected for children and young people.

Helgard Krause, Chief Executive of the Books Council of Wales, said: “This significant investment by Welsh Government underlines the importance of reading engagement in childhood, and we know that a habit of reading is one of the greatest determining factors in terms of educational attainment. We are delighted to support Welsh Government’s book-gifting campaigns as they make such a difference to schools and pupils across Wales, and this additional funding means that we can deliver more books to more pupils and spark a love of reading that they will benefit from for life.

Our newly published 5-year strategy sets out the Books Council’s vision for Wales as a Reading Nation and underlines our own commitment to increasing reading engagement and to expanding universal book-gifting programmes. I’m delighted that Welsh Government have recognised the importance of this area of work and we’re looking forward to working in partnership with them to support this exciting and ambitious programme.”

In his announcement of the extra funding, Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, said: “Speaking, listening and reading skills play a fundamental part in our everyday lives. If we want to close the attainment gap between pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers, then improving reading skills is vital.

“We must ignite a passion for reading in children at a young age so that we can give them the habits and skills they’ll need later in life.

“Reading is essential in making sure learners have every opportunity to access the full breadth of the new Curriculum for Wales, the aims of which are underpinned by improved literacy and oracy among younger learners.”

The Minister added: “I am delighted that I am able to demonstrate the life-changing importance of books, reading and oracy by providing a book for every child and young person in Wales – as well as funding for more books in schools and families.”

 

 

 

£5M Investment in Reading and book-gifting for Children and Young People

Our story – publishing voices today

Our Story – publishing voices today

To mark our 60th anniversary, two short films have been commissioned, Our Story – publishing voices today and Ein Stori – Lleisiau cyhoeddi heddiw, celebrating the publishing industry in Wales.

Through the voices of Richard Davies, Jannat Ahmed, Lynda Tunnicliffe and others, Our Story – publishing voices today explores the contribution of the Books Council of Wales over the past 60 years and looks forward towards future challenges and opportunities.

Watch Ein Stori – lleisiau cyhoeddi heddiw, our Welsh-language film, here.

£5M Investment in Reading and book-gifting for Children and Young People

Wales: A Reading Nation – Launching BCW’s 5-year Strategic Plan

Wales: A Reading Nation – Launching the Books Council of Wales’s 5-year Strategic Plan

For 60 years the Books Council of Wales has advanced its purpose to support the publishing industry in Wales and to promote reading for pleasure.

As we mark our anniversary, we are proud to share our new strategy that sets out our ambitions and vision for the next 5 years.

It outlines how we will progress with our mission to support the publishing industry and promote reading in the context of a Covid recovery, contributing to the Welsh Government’s Programme of Government and Well-being Statements and supporting the industry to respond to the opportunities and challenges of the future.

Read our strategy HERE

 

£5M Investment in Reading and book-gifting for Children and Young People

Two Rivers from a Common Spring: The Books Council of Wales at 60 published 01/11/21

Two Rivers from a Common Spring: The Books Council of Wales at 60 published today

Two Rivers from a Common Spring: The Books Council of Wales at 60 is published today to mark the organisation’s anniversary.

The beautiful volume tells the story of the Books Council over the last 60 years, from its origins in the 1960s to the present day.

The volume is edited by Gwen Davies, with original linocuts by artist Molly Brown. It is presented in memory of Alun Creunant, the first Director of the Books Council of Wales.

There are contributions from a variety of voices within the publishing industry, including Professor M. Wynn Thomas, Gwerfyl Pierce Jones, publisher Richard Davies, bookseller Eirian James, and writer and poet Hanan Issa.

The beautiful hardback volume is now available from your local bookshop.

Here’s a taste of a chapter by Helgard Krause, Chief Executive of the Books Council of Wales.

 

https://www.flipsnack.com/cyngorllyfraucymru/two-rivers-from-a-common-spring.html

 

£5M Investment in Reading and book-gifting for Children and Young People

Books Council of Wales celebrates 60 years of supporting Wales’ publishing industry

Hooked on books… Books Council of Wales turns 60

The Books Council of Wales celebrates 60 years of supporting Wales’s publishing industry and celebrating reading with a week of activities from 1–5 November 2021.

From looking back to its origins as a charity set up to promote the Welsh publishing industry in 1961, to announcing its vision for the future with the launch of its new 5-year Strategic Plan, Wales: A Reading Nation, the Council will be exploring all aspects of the sector in Wales during a whole week of celebration.

The creative, vibrant and exciting world of publishing in Wales will be uncovered through an anniversary book, films of the publishing industry at work, celebrating excellence with the Mary Vaughan Jones Award and reminiscing about brilliant books, the Sbondonics reading club and 60 years of celebrating reading.

Helgard Krause, Chief Executive of the Books Council of Wales, said: “I am honoured and delighted to be leading this organisation during this milestone celebration, as we navigate the uncharted territory of Covid recovery and look forward to the next five years. These last 18 months have highlighted the immense contribution books make to our well-being and mental health. A published book is always the result of the creative collaboration of the many different people who make up the sector, which includes booksellers, and we will continue to support the industry here in Wales to ensure that the many stories that reflect our country will continue to be told.”

A full week of activity is planned . . .

 

Monday 1 November – Happy Birthday!

Launch of 60th anniversary book – Two Rivers from a Common Spring
The week begins with the publication of a brand-new volume of essays to celebrate the anniversary. Two Rivers from a Common Spring tells the story of the Books Council, from its foundation in the 1960s to today. Edited by Gwen Davies and with brand-new illustrations by printmaker Molly Brown, the book charts the legacy and work of the Council through contributions by Professor M. Wynn Thomas and other figures from the sector. A companion volume, O Hedyn i Ddalen, is available in Welsh.

 

Tuesday 2 November – Celebrating excellence

Menna Lloyd Williams wins the Mary Vaughan Jones Award
Menna Lloyd Williams is the recipient of the 2021 Mary Vaughan Jones Lifetime Achievement Award. A digital event to celebrate Menna Lloyd Williams’ contribution to the field of children’s books in Wales will be held on the Books Council’s channel #carudarllen AM amam.cymru/carudarllen at 7pm on Tuesday, 2 November as part of the week’s celebrations.

 

Wednesday 3 November – looking to the future

Wales: A Reading Nation. Launching the Books Council of Wales’s 5-year Strategic Plan
For 60 years the Books Council of Wales has advanced its purpose to support the publishing industry in Wales and to promote reading for pleasure.

As it publishes its new strategy the Council sets out its ambitions and vision for the next 5 years. It outlines how it will progress with its mission to support the publishing industry and promote reading in the context of a Covid recovery, contributing to Welsh Government’s Programme for Government and Well-being Statement, and supporting the industry to respond to the opportunities and challenges of the future.

 

Thursday 4 November – a nostalgic look back

Celebrating 60 years of books, stories – and Sbondonics!
The Books Council team will browse the archive and share images and memories of the last 60 years on their social accounts @Books_Wales (Twitter) and Llyfr Da / Fab Books (Facebook / Instagram). From the Distribution Centre vans to former Tir na n-Og Award winners and the Sbondonics Book Club, they’ll share fond memories of the Books Council’s activity over the last 60 years.

 

Friday 5 November – the industry at work

Our Story – publishing voices today
The week ends with the sharing of two short films (10 mins) that have been commissioned especially for the anniversary: Our Story – publishing voices today and Ein Stori – lleisiau cyhoeddi heddiw. They are a showcase for the publishing industry and the world of books in Wales. Through the voices of Lynda Tunnicliffe, Jannat Ahmed, Alex Wharton and others, the films explore the role and contribution of the Books Council to the field of publishing in Wales and its ongoing support as this important creative industry looks towards the future.

HONOURING CONTRIBUTION TO THE FIELD OF CHILDREN’S BOOKS

HONOURING CONTRIBUTION TO THE FIELD OF CHILDREN’S BOOKS

HONOURING CONTRIBUTION TO THE FIELD OF CHILDREN’S BOOKS – MARY VAUGHAN JONES 2021 AWARD

Menna Lloyd Williams is the recipient of the 2021 Mary Vaughan Jones Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award is presented every three years by the Books Council of Wales in memory of Mary Vaughan Jones, who died in 1983, to a person who has made a special contribution to the field of children’s literature in Wales.

Born in Llanfaethlu, Menna Lloyd Williams was educated at Ysgol Ffrwd Win and Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones, Amlwch. She was a student at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and graduated with an honours degree in Welsh. Following a teaching practice course she taught for a year at Dr Williams’ School, Dolgellau, and in 1970 was appointed Head of the Welsh Department at Holyhead Secondary School.

In 1976 she came to work in the Culture Department of Dyfed Library in Aberystwyth, and in 1979 was appointed Director of the Children’s Literature Centre Wales, the first of its kind in Britain. In 1990 she was appointed the first Head of the Children’s Books Department of the Welsh Books Council.

During her time as head of the department she was mainly responsible for organizing annual conferences to discuss various aspects of children’s literature, the Tir na n-Og Awards, as well as book clubs and reading competitions for schools. In collaboration with S4C’s Children’s Department and Urdd Gobaith Cymru she was responsible for establishing the Welsh-language Children’s Poet Laureate scheme.

Menna Lloyd Williams said: ‘It is a great honour to receive this year’s Mary Vaughan Jones Award. Every day of working in the field of children’s books was a real pleasure. I continue to take an interest in this area and now take great pleasure in collecting first editions of hardback copies signed by authors and illustrators – including Roald Dahl books signed by Quentin Blake and one of my greatest treasures, a first edition of Sali Mali by Mary Vaughan Jones.’

‘Menna Lloyd Williams’ contribution has been key to the development of children’s and young people’s books in Wales,’ said Helen Jones, Head of the Books Council’s Children’s Books and Reading Promotion Department. ‘It is difficult to gauge the extent of her influence over the years. In honouring her with the Mary Vaughan Jones Award – the highest honour in the field of children’s books in Wales – we recognize her invaluable contribution and thank her for her work over many years.’

For this year’s award, an original piece of artwork was commissioned by the artist Jac Jones, a former award winner who has worked closely with Menna Lloyd Williams in the past. It includes the unique characters of Mary Vaughan Jones, many, such as Jac y Jwc and Jini, originally illustrated by the artist himself, as well as portraits of Menna and Mary Vaughan Jones.

A digital event to celebrate Menna Lloyd Williams’ contribution will be held on the Books Council’s channel #carudarllen AM  https://amam.cymru/carudarllen at 7pm on Tuesday, 2 November as part of the organisation’s 60th celebrations.

Since it was first introduced in 1985, the Mary Vaughan Jones Award has been presented to Ifor Owen, Emily Huws, T. Llew Jones, W. J. Jones, Roger Boore, J. Selwyn Lloyd, Elfyn Pritchard, Mair Wynn Hughes, Angharad Tomos, Jac Jones, Siân Lewis and Gareth F. Williams.

KEYNOTE SPEECH BY PROFESSOR CHARLOTTE WILLIAMS OBE

KEYNOTE SPEECH BY PROFESSOR CHARLOTTE WILLIAMS OBE

This is the keynote speech by Professor Charlotte Williams OBE on Harnessing ‘book power’ for race equality in Wales that was delivered at the Books Council’s Annual Meeting, July 2021.

BOOKS COUNCIL OF WALES APPOINTS NEW TREASURER, ALFRED OYEKOYA

BOOKS COUNCIL OF WALES APPOINTS NEW TREASURER, ALFRED OYEKOYA

The Books Council of Wales has today announced the appointment of its new Treasurer, Alfred O. Oyekoya, to the Board of Trustees.

This important role on the Board will be instrumental in leading the Council as it supports the book industry in Wales through Covid recovery and looks towards its new strategy for 2022 and beyond.

Alfred Oyekoya is an MSc Finance graduate from Swansea University and a Chartered Accountant, with many years’ leadership and business development experience. He has worked across a number of international and commercial sectors including the UK Civil Service.

Alfred is an energetic, determined and dedicated champion of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. He is the founder and Director of BMHS – a not-for-profit organisation focused on education and advocacy to support mental health and wellbeing among BAME community members.

Alfred Oyekoya said: “It’s an honour to have been appointed and I am excited about the opportunity to carry on the great work that has been done excellently in the last sixty years.”

Professor M. Wynn Thomas, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said: “We are delighted to welcome Alfred as Treasurer to the Board of Trustees of the Books Council of Wales.

He brings with him considerable experience of financial and business leadership, developed through his previous work for a government ministry. Additionally, he has valuable experience of leading BMHS, a not-for-profit organisation. I and my fellow Board members look forward very much to working with him to advance the Council’s work.”

Helgard Krause, Chief Executive of the Books Council of Wales, added: “The Treasurer role is key to our organisation, and we are extremely fortunate that Alfred not only brings those core skills and experiences but that he also shares our passion for books and the transformative power of reading and its positive impact on our lives.”

The Books Council’s Board of Trustees give of their time and expertise voluntarily to support the national charity’s work, serving the book industries of Wales in both Welsh and English. Alfred takes up his post in October 2021, as the Books Council prepares to celebrate sixty years of supporting the publishing industry and promoting reading in Wales.

Gorau’r Goreuon: Introducing three stories from the past to young audiences in 2021

Gorau’r Goreuon: Introducing three stories from the past to young audiences in 2021

Gorau’r Goreuon: Introducing three stories from the past to young audiences in 2021

The Books Council of Wales is launching the first three titles of Gorau’r Goreuon (The Best of the Best), a selection of books for children and young people. Gorau’r Goreuon aims to introduce a selection of books that are considered classics in children and young people’s literature to a new generation of readers.

The titles that will be appearing in the first selection are Dirgelwch y Dieithryn (Elgan Philip Davies), O’r Tywyllwch (Mair Wynn Hughes) and Luned Bengoch (Elizabeth Watkin-Jones).

In 2016 the Books Council of Wales commissioned Dr Siwan Rosser of Cardiff University to conduct a survey of children and young people’s books. That report has informed much of the Books Council’s work in this field since then. One of her recommendations was:

Consideration should be given to re-issuing popular Welsh-language books or ‘classics’ from the past and updating them as part of a specific genre or series to create a market with a strong indigenous brand that is passed on from one generation to the next.

A panel of experts in the field of children and young people’s literature was established to select books from the titles that could be included on this initial list.

Morgan Dafydd, founder of the Sôn am Lyfra website and a member of the selectors’ panel, said: ‘Our bookshops are mostly full of new books that will in turn be replaced by newer books. Sometimes when people say, ‘there’s not enough material for young people in Welsh’, it’s easy to forget about things published last year, let alone the great books published many years ago.’

(The covers of Luned Bengoch, 2021, 1983 and 1947)

Luned Bengoch was originally published in 1946 by Brython Press, then updated by Hugh D Jones and republished by Gomer Press in 1983. Gomer Press were also the publishers of O’r Tywyllwch in 1991 and Dirgelwch y Dieithryn in 1993, the one part of the Gwreiddiau scheme and the other part of the Corryn series.

Helen Jones, Head of the Books Council’s Children’s Books and Reading Promotion Department, said: ‘These stories are evergreen and needed very little editorial work to make them suitable for a variety of contemporary audiences. The cover is a key part of the success of any book, and if the Books Council has looked back to find the best it has looked forward by commissioning three contemporary artists to design the covers: Efa Blosse-Mason, Chris Iliff and Nia Tudor – two of which are new names to the field.’

The Books Council of Wales will be collecting feedback on these first three volumes during the Autumn term and intends to add to the series over the coming years. It will also receive recommendations from publishers and the public for other titles to include in the collection.

Remembering Roger Boore 1938–2021

Remembering Roger Boore 1938–2021

On 30 July, Wales lost one of its great benefactors of children literature following the death of Roger Boore at the age of 82.

Roger Boore was born in Cardiff in 1938. He had a degree in Classics from Oxford, a PhD in History from the University of Wales Swansea, and was a Chartered Accountant. He returned to Wales and was a life-long enthusiast of the Welsh language, which he began learning in his teens, and raised his family in Cardiff.

In 1969 Roger and his wife Anne founded the publishing house Gwasg y Dref Wen, with the main aim of producing Welsh-language books for children. He realised how few Welsh illustrated children’s books were available, and that their appearance was largely uniform and unappealing. Roger received the Mary Vaughan Jones Award in 1997 for his ‘notable contribution to the field of children’s books in Wales over a period of years’, and was also honoured as a member of the Gorsedd of the Bards for his ‘special contribution to Wales and the Welsh Language’ in 2016.

Later, Roger Boore pioneered in the field of Welsh-language travel literature, producing five highly acclaimed volumes. He published a prize-winning children’s novel, Y Bachgen Gwyllt (The Wild Boy), a collection of short stories, Ymerodraeth y Cymry (Empire of the Welsh), and many Welsh translations from various languages, especially children’s books including Asterix and Tintin and the classic Y Teigr a Ddaeth i De (The Tiger Who Came to Tea).

Gwasg y Dref Wen published a number of notable books such as Llyfr Hwiangerddi y Dref Wen (the standard Welsh nursery rhyme collection), Y Geiriadur Lliwgar (an illustrated Welsh children’s dictionary), a series of stories from Welsh history (Storïau Hanes Cymru) and the prize-winning O’r Dechrau i’r Diwedd / From Start to Finish series on religions in both Welsh and English.

Lorna Herbert Egan, Chair of the Reading Promotion and Children’s Books Sub-committee; Dr Siwan Rosser, Cardiff University lecturer and specialist in Children’s Literature in Wales; and Helen Jones, Head of the Children’s Books and Reading Promotion Department at the Books Council, pay tribute to the prolific publisher.

“Wales owes a debt of gratitude to the late Roger Boore for his vision and pioneering activity in establishing Gwasg y Dref Wen, and for his genius work in selecting and providing colourful and diverse children’s literature to entertain and stimulate generations of readers. He made an invaluable contribution to the quality and fun choice that captures the imagination of individuals and their desire to learn and enjoy, and has been a great influence in the publishing industry. Sympathy is extended to his widow Anne, and Alun, Gwilym and Rhys and those who shared his journey.” – Lorna Herbert Egan

“I have a very vivid memory as a child of Dref Wen’s books. Searching for the little duck character in Y Geiriadur Lliwgar was an ongoing adventure, y Llyfr Hwiangerddi was a beautiful companion, and the characters of Ifan Bifan, Asterix and Pippi opened my imagination to other worlds. It was a privilege, therefore, to get to know Roger in recent years and appreciate his tremendous achievements, especially in the field of adapting children’s books from international languages. His vision and energy gave us as children the opportunity to access literary and illustrative culture beyond our borders, and set a standard for the publishing industry to aspire to. We remember Roger dearly and sympathise with the Dref Wen family.” – Dr Siwan Rosser

“Roger Boore, Gwasg y Dref Wen, was a pioneer in children’s publishing. He will be missed, but he leaves a rich legacy of books delivered to the highest standard of presentation and content for the children of Wales. Our condolences to his family – Anne, Alun, Gwilym and Rhys.” – Helen Jones