The inaugural festival took place in June 2012 and attracted home-grown talent (from Bridgend’s own Mr Nice, Howard Marks, to Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys) as well as big-name authors and performers from further afield. It offered an eclectic programme of events featuring national and international writers; critically acclaimed musicians; cutting-edge comedy; award-winning poets, and much more. Weekend highlights included National Poet of Wales (2008-2016) Gillian Clarke, comedian Josie Long, musicians Ghostpoet, Emmy the Great and The Staves, and an event with Ianthe Brautigan, daughter of the cult American author, Richard Brautigan. The ancient Castle itself (reached by a woodland walk) hosted a range of performances and guided walks, specially commissioned for the mythical setting.
At the time, award-winning writer Horatio Clare said: “I thought it was one of the best, richest and most interesting atmospheres I had found at ANY festival: the house, the ancient grounds and castle, the weather, the ghosts, the white cattle and the cream of Welsh writing and performing – how blessed we were! I think those who were there were in at the beginning of something quietly huge.”
The 2012 Dinefwr Literature Festival was a collaboration between Literature Wales, the National Trust, and the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David (as lead partner in the Coracle programme). The 2012 festival received funding from the Arts Council of Wales and the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg 4a programme.
For a taste of the 2012 festival, have a look at some of the highlights here:
Dinefwr Literature Festival from Coracle EU on Vimeo.
Returning in June 2014, the second Dinefwr Literature Festival saw thousands flock through its gates to enjoy a diverse programme of events which, once again, included a heavy presence of Carmarthenshire-born talent. Most notable, perhaps, was acclaimed singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon, who returned from California to her home patch to perform. She joined a stellar local line-up which included comedian Elis James, pop artist Swci Delic and BBC Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens in conversation with Welsh music legends David R Edwards (of Datblygu) and Geraint Jarman.
Dinefwr Park and Castle played host to a range of inspiring poets, novelists, short story writers and screenwriters from across Wales, the UK and even from as far as Canada. These
included Wales Book of the Year winners Owen Sheers and Rhian Edwards; Everyday Sexism’s Laura Bates; award-winning author Deborah Kay Davies in conversation with 2013 Costa Book Award winner and debut novelist Nathan Filer; and Shaun Usher presenting his hugely popular Letters of Note.
In 2015, the festival was named Best Small Event at the National Tourism Awards for Wales. The winners were announced at a ceremony held at the Vale Resort in Hensol on Wednesday 25 March 2015.
The festival fought off stiff competition to receive the Gold Award in the Best Event (Small) category. The Silver Award was presented to Welshpool Airshow & Transport Festival and the Bronze Award to Isle of Fire.
Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates, said: “The National Tourism Awards are the Oscars of the tourism industry and pay tribute to those who are committed and passionate about their businesses, tourism and Wales. The quality of what we have to offer here in Wales goes from strength to strength and the Awards are an opportunity for us all to celebrate the industry and to showcase the outstanding quality of our vibrant tourism sector. I’d like to congratulate the winners and wish you the very best for a successful season ahead.”
The 2014 Dinefwr Literature Festival was organised by Literature Wales in partnership with National Trust, Cadw, and University of Wales Trinity Saint David and was supported by Arts Council of Wales. The festival received Arts Council of Wales Lottery funding.
Take a look at our image galleries from 2012 and 2014 here.