Welsh Schools and Colleges Benefit from Literary Visits

Posted on 29 November 2010

Last year's prize winner, Nam Le, with school children

The University of Wales Dylan Thomas Prize’s newly extended education programme, DylanED, is bringing some of the world’s leading young writers to schools, colleges and universities in South Wales this week, along with some of the country’s best-known literary names.

The University of Wales Dylan Thomas Prize’s shortlisted writers will be paying visits to a collection of higher education institutions to talk to students and deliver personally tailored workshops at Gower College Swansea, Swansea Metropolitan University, University of Wales Trinity St David in Carmarthen, University of Wales, Newport and the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC).

The Prize, which announces its winner on December 1st, has rolled out DylanED in 2010 with new initiatives including secondary school workshops with renowned Welsh writers. Cardiff poet Mab Jones, contemporary storyteller Michael Harvey, performance poet Martin Daws and playwright, performer and poet Phil Bowen make up the collection of literary names who have been running school workshops in South Wales over the last few weeks, with those visited including Swansea’s Cefn Hengoed, Neath’s Cwrt Sart and Carmarthen’s Dyffryn Taf Comprehensive Schools.

The school sessions are designed to be as engaging as possible, exploring various methods of telling original stories using techniques such as writing a rap, song or comedy sketch.

Professor Peter Stead, Dylan Thomas Prize founder, said:

“The Prize’s education programme is growing every year, and we’ve now progressed from visiting a handful of Universities over a weekly period in 2008 to a month long campaign involving not just the shortlisted writers but also some home grown Welsh talent.

“In a recent survey conducted by the University of Wales Dylan Thomas Prize, we discovered that well over two thirds of children in South Wales have the appetite to learn more about creative writing, which goes hand-in-hand with our aims for the education programme.

“DylanED has always been a key part of the Prize - we’re more than just a monetary award - we genuinely want to make a difference to the future of aspiring young writers.”

The literary Prize, which has been granted charitable status largely due to its extensive work with educational institutions, developed the programme with its official sponsor, the University of Wales and it is supported by the Laura Ashley Foundation.

Professor Marc Clement, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales, said:

“The possibilities offered by the DylanEd Programme are further encouragement – should any be needed – for the University’s sponsorship of the Prize. Not only does the programme encourage young people’s appreciation of literature, it inspires them to develop their own skills and talents as writers. It is exciting to think that, in this way, the Prize may be stimulating new young writing talent in Wales – and maybe even fostering the development of one of its future winners!”

Jacqui Pany, English lecturer at Gower College Swansea, was delighted to be welcoming Elyse Fenton to the college. “We are really looking forward to hearing her talk about the processes of writing and becoming a published poet”, she said. “I’m sure she will be an inspiration to our students.”

A spokesperson from Academi Wales, which runs literary events, courses and competitions in Wales, said:

“Academi welcomes the 2010 University of Wales Dylan Thomas Prize Outreach and Education programme. We’re delighted to see that teenagers from over ten schools in four different local authorities are offered a chance to work with professional writers. Meeting writers and learning from them first hand about how to write and create stories is an invaluable experience – it can trigger that creative spark and lead to unknown enthusiasm and passion for literature.

“The writers taking part in this project all have very different approaches to creative writing – something the youngsters can benefit and learn from. From rap, to poetry or storytelling workshops – this project should offer something for everyone. It’s a great way of engaging children with literature and raising awareness for the Dylan Thomas Prize.”


For further information please contact Lauren Allchurch on 01792 460200 or email lauren@mgbpr.com

The Dylan Thomas Prize

The £30,000 University of Wales Dylan Thomas Prize is awarded to the best eligible published or produced literary work in the English language, written by an author under 30.

The winner will be announced in at the final awards ceremony in Swansea, Wales on December 1st, 2010.

The judges for the 2010 University of Wales Dylan Thomas Prize are:

Professor Kurt Heinzelman, Kate Burton, Peter Florence (Chair of Judges), Gwyneth Lewis, Bruno Maddox, Natalie Moody and Professor Peter Stead
The full shortlist is:

Nadifa Mohamed, Black Mamba Boy
Eleanor Catton, The Rehearsal
Caroline Bird, Watering Can
Karan Mahajan, Family Planning
Elyse Fenton, Clamor
Emily Mackie, And This is True
Main Sponsor: The University of Wales

In the century and more since it was created by and for the ordinary Welsh people, the University of Wales has maintained a commitment to serving the nation, through helping to support the three key aspects of sustainable community – culture, environment and economy. The University has worked unceasingly to nurture and encourage emerging young talent both within Wales and, increasingly, across the globe. Since its reconstitution in 2007, the University of Wales has invested heavily in projects which, as it is expressed in its strategic plan, ‘take the best of Wales to the world, and bring the best of the world to Wales’. These include the prestigious Prince of Wales Innovation Scholarships, which bring the brightest graduates to work with Welsh business, and sponsorship of the Literature Pavilion at the National Eisteddfod of Wales, as well as the Dylan Thomas Prize.

Other sponsors are:
City and County of Swansea, Carmarthenshire County Council, Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council,
Bevan & Buckland, JCP Solicitors, Clyne Farm, Fairyhill, Nawr, MGB, Trilein.


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