Wales and the Creative Writing Department
Where exactly does Wales fit it in to this new professionalized practice? A very fine clutch of Creative Writing Departments is now well established – distinguished both home and away – in Wales. All the major colleges affiliated to and accredited by the University of Wales now have lively faculties: Aberystwyth, Bangor, Lampeter, Swansea, Swansea Metropolitan, Cardiff, Newport and Trinity College, Carmarthen. The University of Glamorgan likewise maintains its excellent reputation two decades on. Alumni from the Welsh Creative Writing Departments include successful young novelists Rachel Trezise and Dan Rhodes, and the highly acclaimed short story writer Jo Mazelis.
Wales has attracted practising writers not only from within Wales but beyond. Alongside our homegrown and renowned talents such as Menna Elfyn, Stevie Davies, Sheenagh Pugh, Christopher Meredith and Tony Curtis, Creative Writing Departments in Wales can also count Ian Gregson, Tiffany Atkinson, Matthew Francis, Zoe Skoulding (current editor of Poetry Wales), Philip Gross and Carol Rumens on faculty. Courses are very appealing to new writers both in Wales and from elsewhere, and therefore competition for places is - reassuringly - high. All the faculties boast an impressive range of activity outside of the seminar room, with a lively series of events, including open mike nights, talks, readings and masterclasses featuring guest writers in various genres. Some departments also publish student anthologies or ‘reviews‘, too. And many faculties in Wales are also developing good links with literary agents - Aberystwyth currently offers a prize for the best work of fiction written by a student in conjunction with a leading literary agent in London - and other professionals in the publishing industry.