12th August 2011
A west Wales festival of writing and reading, run by west Wales writers and readers. A celebration of the published word at Rhosygilwen, our region’s remarkable new centre for the arts. An opportunity for authors and audiences to meet, mingle and share encouragement and inspiration.
Since the original post back in May, we have made enormous progress, and the programmes is now published. The organizing committee is chaired by author Brian John.
- Born in Carmarthen and brought up in Haverfordwest, Brian lectured at Durham University before returning to west Wales in 1976 to start his own small publishing business (Greencroft Books). Since then he has published at the rate of one or two books a year (current tally around 80), and is perhaps best known for the seven novels (so far) of the Angel Mountain series. Brian writes:
Yet another Book Festival? There are certainly plenty of them scattered across the UK and through the calendar, but Wales remains something of a book festival desert, since the Hay Festival turned into an international event devoted largely to a celebration of the celebrity culture and since the Laugharne event concentrates (quite rightly) on Dylan Thomas and his legacy. For some years a number of us involved in the writing and publishing scene in West Wales have been saying to each other: “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a small festival in Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire or Ceredigion specifically devoted to a celebration of the unique local literary scene in Welsh and English?”
Nothing much happened, but then I had a chat with Glen Peters and he immediately offered the wonderful Oak Hall at Rhos y Gilwen as a venue. We found a date which made sense, and I then sent out an Email message to my literary contacts asking if anybody might be interested in helping to turn the dream into a reality. We had many expressions of enthusiastic support, and many offers of practical help.
As a result of all that, we now have an entirely undemocratic and self-appointed organizing committee, which has met twice and which works amazingly well. We already have a name (decided after much discussion) and a splendid logo and web site. We have shared the tasks which are necessary in order to make an event like this happen, and we also have to acknowledge the support of Literature Wales, the Welsh Books Council and Pembrokeshire County Council. We have too many offers of workshops, talks and seminars, and the Festival will be enlivened by several literary competitions. There may even be a Festival Fringe……….
We are instituting a proper Festival membership scheme, and in the future we trust that the committee and officers will be properly appointed by the members. And we have high hopes that if this Festival, on 18th September, is a success, it might be repeated next year, maybe across a whole weekend. We have the writers and illustrators; we have the publishers; we have the reading groups; and we have a strong literary tradition, in two languages. If you want to help in any way, please get in touch — there are many tasks to be shared. Enjoy the day! Croeso!
Brian has assembled a diverse group of writers, journalists, artists and publishers to pilot Gwyl Lyfrau PENfro / PENfro Book Festival to its launch. Note the date – September 18th 2011 – stay in touch through this festival website, and get in touch with your ideas and suggestions – all welcome.
Currently the Committee has the following members: Glen Peters, Brian John, Brenda Squires, Derek Webb, Richard Davies, Charlotte Penny, Liz Whittaker, and Deirdre Edwards.
In addition, great help has been received from Christine Willison, Mike Joseph, Lucy Llewellyn, David Heal, Carol Byrne Jones and many others. Grateful thanks to them all.