Thursday 13 March 2008

Wales Book of the Year Long List Launch

I attended this yesterday evening. It was held jointly in Cardiff and Wrexham, organised by Academi, the organisation which supports and promotes Welsh literature. I am a member of Academi because I graduated with a Creative Writing degree from a Welsh university - Bangor. I attended the Wrexham event, naturally.

The Long List is the ten best books written in Welsh and the ten best books written in English. Our host for the evening was Hedd ap Emlyn and two of the judges spoke –Mavis Nicholson for the books in English and Huw Meirion Edwards for those in Welsh. The actress Angharad Llwyd read extracts from four of the books – two in Welsh, two in English.

It was a good opportunity for me to try out my Welsh again. I understood about one fifth of what I heard, but half of the presentations were in English anyway. I still get the feeling that there is a tendency for people to go to these events just because of the language.

What a task for the judges, though. They had to read about 120 books. There was some poorly written material, apparently. I’d go along with that. I think there’s hardly a book today which escapes any mistake at all.

And of course, there were books to be bought and I couldn’t resist.

I also had the chance to talk at length to Hedd ap Emlyn at length, suggesting that there should be something similar for children’s books. I think I may also have persuaded him to get me on the school’s tour.

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