For a full list of Literature Wales Writers’ Bursary recipients (2011-2017), please download the document at the bottom of this page.
2017 Writers’ Bursaries recipients – Biographies
Atinuke is a Nigerian-born storyteller and children’s author who now lives in Wales. She is best known for her series ‘Anna Hibiscus’ set in a multicultural family in a busy African metropolis. Her series ‘The No.1 Car Spotter’ has twice been long-listed for the Carnegie Award. Atinuke is also a performer of ancient African folk tales. She can be found either stomping about in the mud on her Welsh smallholding or touring the world with her children’s books which are published in the UK, the US and Japan.
Sarah Down-Roberts was raised in Llangeitho in Ceredigion. She attended the local primary school and Tregaron Secondary School before graduating in Welsh from Aberystwyth University. After receiving her MA on the subject of folk literature she worked for Sbectel, a teletext company in London. She then moved to Cardiff to be a producer for the BBC’s news department. She now lives in Aberystwyth and works as a lexicographer for Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru (A Dictionary of the Welsh Language). She continues to produce independent programmes for Radio Cymru and she works occasionally for the Cymru Fyw website and the BBC’s political unit. Sarah is a mother to Gwen and a wife to John.
Kat Ellis is a Young Adult author from Denbighshire, north Wales. She studied English with Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, then went on to work in communications and IT before the writing bug truly took hold. When she isn’t writing, Kat can usually be found exploring local ruins and cemeteries with her camera. Her novels have been published in both the UK and US, and include Blackfin Sky, Breaker, and Purge.
Gareth Evans–Jones hails from Traeth Bychan near Marian-glas, Anglesey. He graduated in Welsh and Religious Studies from Bangor University in 2012 and then completed an MA in Welsh and Creative Writing. He is currently completing a PhD in the School of Welsh and the School of Philosophy and Religion, Bangor University. He has published short stories and micro-fiction, as well as writing scripts for Theatr Fach Llangefni and Bangor University’s Welsh Drama Society. He won the Crown at Eisteddfod Môn (Anglesey Eisteddfod) 2016 and has won Drama medals at the Intercollegiate Eisteddfod 2012 and Welsh Drama Society in 2010 and 2012. The New Writer’s Bursary will enable him to write his first novel. @GEvansJones
You will find Carys Glyn nestled between the foot of the Blorenge and the river Usk in the market town of Abergavenny. There, the primary school teacher and mum, is busy squirreling ideas for children’s books and trying to mould them into stories that children will enjoy. A member of the Golden Egg Academy, Carys will use her Bursary to develop her first novel, an adventure spy story for middle grade children, based in south Wales. She is passionate about delivering a novel that will get children laughing out loud, solving head-scratching mysteries, all within an unmistakably Welsh backdrop. @cazglyn
Angela Graham, a Welsh-speaking Ulsterwoman, is a producer of TV and feature film, a screenwriter and radio broadcaster. She chairs the Media Policy Group of the Institute of Welsh Affairs which produced the Wales Media Audit, 2015 and organises the Cardiff Media Summit. A university tutor in Documentary Practice and an industry trainer, she has a particular interest in the education of journalists and in liaison between media academics and practitioners. But fiction is her great love. The Bursary will enable her to complete a collection of short stories. @AngelaGraham8
Damian Harvey lives in Flintshire and has written many books for primary school aged children. He is a popular, and much in demand, visitor to schools and libraries across Great Britain (and abroad). He helps and encourages children with their own writing and gives lively, interactive performance sessions, from Nursery to Year 6, that are designed to enthuse and excite children about books, reading and writing. The Literature Wales Writers’ Bursary will enable Damian to devote the necessary time to research and write a bigger book for older readers that blends fiction with historical fact. @damianjharvey / www.damianharvey.co.uk
Paul Henry is the author of six poetry collections, the most recent of which, Boy Running, was shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year 2016. Originally from Aberystwyth, he came to poetry through songwriting and is a Writing Fellow at the University of South Wales. He has presented programmes for BBC Radio Wales, Radio 3 and Radio 4. Paul’s work has been widely anthologised and The Brittle Sea: New & Selected Poems was recently reprinted by Seren. www.paulhenrywales.co.uk
Following her writing debut, ‘The Naughty Dog’ (which won her a gold star at her Merthyr primary school), Liz Jones has gone on to write drama and creative non-fiction, reviews, short stories and journalism ranging from Take a Break to New Welsh Review. Along the way she has raised two daughters, tried (and failed) to change the world, worked in a café-cum-bookshop, a housing association, in community development and lifelong learning. She is now a Teaching Fellow at Aberystwyth University. Yet, as she realised one morning, she is still to write a whole book all by herself. Resolved to put that right, Liz is now working on a biography of the incredible – but forgotten – bestselling novelist, scriptwriter, actor and theatre impresario known as Oliver Sandys or Countess Barcynska.
Meirion Jordan is a poet and traditional musician. His first collection of poetry, Moonrise (Seren, 2008), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, and he has since published two further books of poetry. As part of the Versopolis scheme he regularly performs at European literary events, and his work has been translated into numerous European languages. He is a founding editor of the journal Lighthouse, and an editor and director of Norwich-based publisher Gatehouse Press. He is presently working on his first novel, which is set Wales and France in the aftermath of Owain Glyndwr’s rebellion.
Lowri Larsen started to write stories and draw pictures to illustate them whilst in primary school. After she graduated in Welsh from Aberystwyth, she lived in Ireland for nine years where she gained a further degree in Creative Writing at University College Dublin. Two of her stories, ‘The bird that gently moved’ (2013) and ‘The blackbird after the tiger years’ (2015), were published in the Galway Review after she moved there to live. She worked in various jobs including working in a cafe, craft stall, bar, factory, supermarket and busking with a whistle. She also attended traditional Irish drawing and musical courses. She has returned to live in her home town – Caernarfon. She hopes to use her Writer’s Bursary to develop her writing and see more of her work being published in the future.
Alan Llwyd is a research Professor at Swansea University’s Welsh Department. He also teaches on some of the Department’s modules such as the Creative Writing module for the MA course. He is also a prolific writer having recently published, between 2011 and 2016, a series of biographies of some of Wales’ most important poets and writers. The first was a controversial but acclaimed biography of Kate Roberts (2011), followed by biographies of R. Williams Parry (2013), Waldo Williams (2014), Gwenallt (2016), and a new edition of his biography of Hedd Wyn was published in 2014. In 2015 Cerddi Alan Llwyd: yr Ail Gasgliad Cyflawn 1990-2015 was published. In 2018 Gwlad o Gofebau will be published, which is his substantial study on the attitude of the Welsh people towards the Great War and its effect upon Wales.
Sophie McKeand is an award-winning poet and the current Young People’s Laureate for Wales. Her work has been published widely including Poetry Wales, Dark Mountain and The Lonely Crowd. She performs regularly across the UK (such as at the Wales Millennium Centre and with Caught by the River) and has been on stage at the Kolkata Literature Festival, India. Sophie has created two hand-stitched poetry pamphlets, Prophecy: conversations with my Self and Hanes; and collaborated on two touring arts projects: Metaforestry: storïau o’r Gogs, and DRKMTR which was also an album released on the Drum With Our Hands record label. Her new poetry collection Rebel Sun is out with Parthian Books in June 2017. www.sophiemckeand.com
Eve Moriarty is a poet, performer and compère from Swansea. She won second place in the Robin Reeves Prize 2015 and was commended in the 2013 Terry Hetherington Award. Eve’s poetry, prose and nonfiction writing has been published widely in a variety of digital and print formats, including several Cheval anthologies and Parthian’s How to Exit a Burning Building. Alongside working on her first poetry collection, Radium Girls, Eve works full time at Swansea University, her alma mater. When she isn’t writing or working, Eve is a passionate fan of drag queens, her four fancy rats and feminist rabble-rousing. She tweets @eve_moriarty.
Thomas Morris’ debut story collection, We Don’t Know What We’re Doing (Faber & Faber) was the 2016 winner of Wales Book of the Year, The Rhys Davies Trust Fiction Award, and the Somerset Maugham Prize. The collection was also chosen as a Book of the Year by The Guardian, The Irish Times, The Irish Independent, and The Spectator. Thomas lives in Caerphilly, where he is working on a second book.
Holly Müller is a novelist, short story writer, and musician based in Cardiff. Her debut novel, My Own Dear Brother, a historical fiction set in post-war Austria, is published worldwide with Bloomsbury. She has performed her work at literary events including Hay Festival and Cheltenham Literature Festival and has written for the Independent and the Guardian. She is currently working towards a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of South Wales where she tutored creative writing for several years. Holly is also the singer, lyricist and violinist in the band Hail! The Planes.
Mike Parker wrote the bestselling Map Addict, celebrating a lifelong love affair with the humble map, and its critically-acclaimed follow-up The Wild Rover. He is also author of Mapping the Roads, Coast to Coast, Neighbours From Hell?, Real Powys, The Greasy Poll: Diary of a Controversial Election and was co-author of the first five editions of the Rough Guide to Wales. He wrote and presented seven series of travelogues for ITV Wales, has worked on numerous other TV and radio programmes, and occasionally performs as a stand-up comedian and actor. Mike lives near Machynlleth.
Karen Phillips is a freelance writer born and raised in Pembrokeshire. After a decade living overseas in Turkey and Mexico she returned to Wales in 2014. Karen writes fiction with a magical realism twist, and narrative non-fiction on travel, women’s health and life off the beaten track. In 2016 she was highly commended in New Welsh Review’s Travel Writing competition for her long form essay on the Yucatan. In addition to writing Karen is a master diver and photographer specialising in underwater and coastal images. Her website is www.kirazlivillage.com and you can find her on Twitter @KirazliKoy
Ben Rawlence has worked as a dishwasher, nanny, political speechwriter, human rights investigator and journalist. He is persona non grata in Eritrea and Ethiopia. He is the author of Radio Congo: Signals of Hope from Africa’s Deadliest War (2012) and City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp (2016). He lives in the Black Mountains with his family.
Manon Rhys is proud of her roots in the Rhondda Valley and Ceredigion. For years she made a living from script-writing for television series such as Pobl y Cwm and Y Palmant Aur. She is the author of several volumes of prose including Rara Avis, which reached the Wales Book of the Year shortlist in 2006, and Neb ond Ni, which won the Prose Medal at the Wrexham National Eisteddfod in 2011. She was the Crowned Poet at the 2016 National Eisteddfod. For ten years, she was a critic, a creative tutor and co-editor of the literary magazine, Taliesin. Manon has spent time in several areas of Wales, but has lived for over thirty years in Cardiff with her husband, Jim Parc Nest.
Rachel Trezise was born in the Rhondda in 1978 and still lives there. She studied at the Universities of Glamorgan and Limerick. Her debut novel In and Out of the Goldfish Bowl won a place on the Orange Futures List in 2001, and her debut short fiction collection Fresh Apples won The International Dylan Thomas Prize in 2006. Rachel’s second collection of stories Cosmic Latte won the Edge Hill Readers’ Choice Award in 2014 and her debut stage play Tonypandemonium won the Theatre Critics of Wales Award for Best Production in English in 2014. She’s currently working on new drama and fiction.