Literature Wales has announced new exchange opportunities for writers from Wales, Canada and the USA, in close partnership with British Council Cymru. These new projects have been developed as an extension to the successful Starless and Bible Black international programme of the Dylan Thomas 100 celebrations. 16 Jul 2014
Literature Wales reaches out across the Atlantic with new partnerships in Canada and the USA
This week American political activist, poet, writer and inspirational speaker Kevin Powell is joining the Board of Literature Wales as a special advisor on international partnerships and also as a keen ambassador. He’ll be attending some Dylan Thomas related events, leading workshops with disadvantaged young people and spending a week at Tŷ Newydd, the home of literature in Wales. This will take him right across the country; from Cardiff to Swansea, from Laugharne to New Quay, from Llanystumdwy to Aberdaron.
Kevin Powell’s visit will also help to develop a partnership between Tŷ Newydd and the Bronx Writers Centre in New York. Over the coming years, emerging literary talent from rural Wales and urban New York will explore collaborative work and facilitate exchanges. In addition, Kevin will support the work of Young People’s Laureate of Wales Martin Daws, as he develops new programmes for training writers in the fields of spoken word and education. Martin, a Creative Wales Ambassador, will be observing the All American Youth Slam Championships this week in Philadelphia, with a view of having a Welsh representation at next year’s Slam.
Dan Thomas, Head of Arts at British Council Wales, said: "It’s great to welcome Kevin back to Wales. He made a real impression on everyone he met last year, in particular the young people he worked with. He’s been a tireless ambassador for our international programme for the Dylan Thomas centenary year, Starless and Bible Black, and we are looking forward to working with him again."
Bo Mandeville, the Head of Tŷ Newydd said: "The focus is on young people and new writers. To make these exchanges meaningful and sustainable, we want to join and endorse grass roots movements and enable partnerships where we can celebrate emerging talent."
Another partnership was launched in March, also as part of Starless and Bible Black; this time reaching out into the fringes of Canada. Two poets from Wales, Ifor ap Glyn and Jemma L King, went to the March Hare festival in Newfoundland. More than 750 people attended the hugely appreciated readings, both in the Welsh and English-language. The organisers have invited poets from Wales to participate again in 2015.
In return, two Canadian poets attended the successful Dinefwr Literature Festival in west Wales in June; Randall Maggs and Robin Durnford joined in as guest tutors at workshops and read their work on Saturday evening to an attentive audience. This week, Canadian author Armand G Ruffo will join poet Pascale Petit to co-tutor a course at Tŷ Newydd using indigenous stories and myths as a starting point. He’ll also be a guest at the Gŵyl Arall festival in Caernarfon on Sunday 20 July.
Literature Wales Chief Executive Lleucu Siencyn said: "We are delighted to see these new exchanges thrive and excite audiences in Wales, the USA and Canada. These opportunities allow us to introduce literature in an international expansive context and into people’s lives in a fun and accessible way."