Academi and Tŷ Newydd join to create Literature Wales

A new chapter for literature in Wales begins on 1 April 2011 when Academi, the literature promotion agency and society for writers, joins forces with Tŷ Newydd Writers’ Centre to form a new national organisation known as Literature Wales.

To mark the start of this new era, Literature Wales has confirmed its programme for 2011. As well as continuing to run the many activities and events established by Academi and Tŷ Newydd, Literature Wales will branch out into a number of new areas. 2011 will see a new funding partnership between John Lewis, The Roland Mathias Prize and Wales Book of the Year with a dramatic new lease of life given to the award and its prize-giving ceremony.  For 2011 this will be done in Oscars style. One of the year’s highlights will be Writing from Life, a day for new and established writers to take place at The Workmen’s Hall, Blaenavon on 14 May. The event will feature Nia Wyn, Horatio Clare, Tom Anderson and Howard Marks.

A significant new project for developing writers in healthcare will be launched later in 2011 at Tŷ Newydd. Plus, as part of Literature Wales’ commitment to young people, Welsh writers will work with animators, film-makers and beat-boxers to bring a fresh approach to literature for the digital generation.

The Welsh Academy, the society for authors, will continue to flourish under the banner of Literature Wales. A variety of literary dinners, events and conferences will be aimed specifically at the increasing writers’ membership, which, from April 2011, will include a new Student Membership package.

Tŷ Newydd’s lively programme of creative writing courses nurtures the skills of future writers. Set in the beautiful rural landscape of Llanystumdwy, Gwynedd, Tŷ Newydd is also the main venue for Translators’ House Wales activity, a partnership between Tŷ Newydd and Wales Literature Exchange. To further develop its international agenda, Literature Wales will have a special funding relationship with Wales Literature Exchange, the international literary provider in Wales.

The formation of Literature Wales has been led by Academi Chief Executive Officer Peter Finch. This was at the request of the Arts Council of Wales who designated Academi a National Company in 2010 and tasked the organisation with the development and implementation of literature activity in Wales. The Chairs of the Academi Management Board, John Pikoulis and Harri Pritchard Jones will also head the reformed Board of Literature Wales.

Dai Smith, Chair of the Arts Council of Wales, said: “In creating a new national organisation, Literature Wales, to which Arts Council of Wales aspired in its Vision statement and then described as our desired strategy in Renewal and Transformation, we will see a new dynamic and a unified focus in the development of literary activity. The currently funded RFOs – Academi, Tŷ Newydd (Taliesin Trust) and Cyfnewidfa Lên Cymru/Wales Literature Exchange have been encouraged to come together to create a strong new national development agency for literary activity in Wales. Our aim is to create an organisation with ‘clout’, able to confidently represent the interests of the literature of Wales nationally and internationally.”

Literature Wales’ Chief Executive Officer Peter Finch said “Literature Wales, with the able support of the Arts Council, will put our literatures right where they need to be, make them enviable, accessible and enjoyable. Best of all Literature Wales will make them glow. Expect Literature Wales to have a rising trajectory. There are a host of new ventures in the pipeline. Watch this space.”

Literature Wales’ events reach far and wide. From writers’ bursaries to international exchanges; Young People’s Writing Squads and writers’ plaques to the National Poet of Wales; from literary tourism, bus tours and walking tours to competitions and awards. Literature in Wales now has one port of call – Literature Wales.