Welsh writers will feature at this year’s British Council Literature Seminar, which will take place as part of the German literature festival Literaturhaus Stuttgart.
The annual seminar is returning for its 36th edition this year and will focus on Welsh literature.
‘We are Wales: disparate voices, landscapes and stories’ will present six established Welsh writers and introduce six of Wales’ up and coming authors.
The seminar offers literature fans, publishers, translators, academics, students and journalists, from across Europe, the chance to hear the latest writing from Wales and engage with the writers and their work first-hand.
The event will consist of readings, presentations by the Welsh authors, panel discussions and author-led workshops. The audience will have the chance to meet the authors in smaller groups for the workshop sessions.
The seminar takes place from 4 – 6 March online, with free registration open to all.
The event is part of the Welsh Government’s Wales in Germany 2021 season, which is showcasing the partnerships happening in Germany and Wales across commerce, science and innovation and culture.
The participating authors are Professor Richard Gwyn, Zoë Brigley, Manon Steffan Ros and Professor Charlotte Williams OBE. The seminar will be chaired by Dr Francesca Rhydderch and Niall Griffiths, both winners of the Wales Book of the Year Award.
New Welsh writers Joao Morais, Richard Owain Roberts, Hanan Issa, Eluned Gramich, Alex Wharton and Ifan Morgan Jones will be featured through specially commissioned films and will also take part in panel discussions.
The event will also showcase National Dance Company Wales’ (NDCW) new digital film project Plethu/Weave. The film brought together eight dancers from NDCW and poets commissioned by Literature Wales, to create short solo performances during lockdown.
Paul Keynes, Chief Executive of NDCW and Lleucu Siencyn, Chief Executive of Literature Wales, will host a panel discussion with those involved in the project to discuss how Plethu/Weave was developed.
Jenny Scott, director of British Council Wales, said: "The Literature Seminar will bring established and emerging Welsh authors to a new audience and help build connections between Wales and Germany. Successful international collaboration is best done in partnership and this event has been made possible by the partnership between Literature Wales, Welsh Government and the British Council in Germany and Wales."
Paul Smith, director British Council Germany, said: The annual British Council Literature Seminar, the unique encounter of writers from the UK with German literature professionals, reaches its 36th great year. We are thrilled that the focus of the seminar will have a focus on contemporary writing from Wales for the first time, Wales, historically and today being one of the most vibrant and imaginative cultures of the UK.”
The British Council showcases the best of the UK‘s arts and culture, education and the English language overseas.
For more information and the seminar’s schedule see the British Council Germany website: https://www.britishcouncil.de/en/programmes/arts/literature-seminar. Follow the seminar online using the hashtag #WalesLitGermany.
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The British Council Literature Seminar
The British Council Literature Seminar in Germany has brought new literary voices from the UK to Germany for over 30 years. Featured writers at this popular event have included Ian McEwan, Robert Macfarlane, Salman Rushdie and Jeanette Winterson. Chairs of the seminar have included Valentine Cunningham, A S Byatt, Patricia Duncker, Professor John Mullan and 2019 joint Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo.
About the authors
Niall Griffiths was born in Liverpool in 1966, studied English, and now lives and works in Aberystwyth. His novels include: Grits (2000), a tale of addicts and drifters in rural Wales; Sheepshagger (2001), Stump (2003), which won two Book of the Year awards; Ten Pound Pom (2009); and A Great Big Shining Star (2013). Grits, Kelly & Victor and Stump were made into films for television. Niall Griffiths has also written travel pieces, restaurant and book reviews, and radio plays. In 2010, his book In The Dreams of Max and Ronnie was published, one of Seren's 'New Stories from the Mabinogion' series. Griffiths first collection of poetry Red Roar: 20 Years of Words was published by Wrecking Ball Press in 2015.
Dr Francesca Rhydderch is a Welsh novelist and academic. In 2013, her debut novel, The Rice Paper Diaries, was longlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and won the Wales Book of the Year Award 2014 for Fiction. Her short stories have been published in anthologies and magazines and broadcast on Radio 4 and Radio Wales.
She was born in Aberystwyth and obtained a BA in Modern Languages from Newnham College, Cambridge, and a PhD in English from Aberystwyth University. She has been a Creative Writing Associate Professor at Swansea University since 2015.
Zoë Brigley is an award-winning poet and has three Poetry Book Society recommended poetry collections: The Secret (2007), Conquest (2012), and Hand & Skull (2019), the nonfiction essays Notes from a Swing State (2019), and more recently Aubade After A French Movie (2020). She is Assistant Professor in English at the Ohio State University.
Charlotte Williams OBE is an academic, writer and activist. She is Honorary Professor in the School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences, Bangor University. Her contributions to post-colonial writing include her memoir, Sugar and Slate (2002), exploring her Welsh-Guyanese heritage and diasporic identity which was awarded Welsh Book of the Year in 2003; co-editor of Denis Williams: A Life in Works, New and Collected Essays (Rodopi 2010), several short stories and regular contributions to Internationalist Journals including Planet, Wales Review Online, Wasafiri. Williams was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List (2007) for services to ethnic minorities and equalities in Wales.
Manon Steffan Ros was born in Rhiwlas, Snowdonia. After leaving school, she worked as an actress for a few years before becoming a writer. Her first novel for adults Fel Aderyn, reached the shortlist for Wales Book of the Year and her novel Blasu won the Fiction Prize of the 2013 Wales Book of the Year. As well as her books for adults, Ros has found great acclaim in her children’s writing. She has won the prestigious Tir Na N-Og prize for Welsh children’s literature five times, with her novels Trwy’r Tonnau (2010), Prism (2012), Pluen (2017) Fi a Joe Allen (2019), and most recently Pobol Drws Nesaf (2020). Llyfr Glas Nebo won the Prose Medal at the 2018 Eisteddfod and won the triple crown of prizes at the 2019 Wales Book of the Year Award: the Aberystwyth University Fiction Award, the Golwg 360 Barn y Bobl (People's Choice Award) and the Welsh-language Overall Winner.
Professor Richard Gwyn is a Welsh writer of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. After studying anthropology at the London School of Economics, he started travelling widely across Europe, living in Greece and Spain, working on fishing boats and as a farm labourer. These experiences “on the road” would influence his literary style and the themes of his work. He currently works as professor and translator and he is director of the PhD programme in creative and critical writing at Cardiff University.
The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We build connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language. Last year we reached over 80 million people directly and 791 million people overall including online, and through broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive a 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.