Taking the title from Glyn Jones’s classic novel The Valley, the City, the Village the project involves three writers from each country visiting India and Wales respectively, focusing on aspects of modern society in locations referenced in the title and engaging with these through writing poetry, prose, blogs and stories. The project will result in an anthology featuring all the writers involved which will be published by Parthian in 2018.
During February 2017, three Welsh writers visited India for three weeks where they attended Kolkata Book Fair, took part in numerous readings, events and projects and collaborated with three selected Indian writers, including Arunava Sinha, a noted Indian translator of Bengali literature. During their stay, they were hosted by publishing company Bee Books, who have launched a list of new European writing across India.
The three writers from Wales selected to take part in this project are: Natalie Ann Holborow , Siôn Tomos Owen and Sophie McKeand.
Natalie Ann Holborow is a Literature Wales Writers’ Bursary recipient whose first poetry collection And Suddenly You Find Yourself was launched on Saturday 4 February at the biggest book fair in the world, the International Kolkata Book Fair.
Sion Tomos Owen is the presenter of the hit TV documentary programme Pobol Y Rhondda whose innovative bilingual collection Cawl has received rave reviews. Sion drew, sang and wrote as part of the project.
Sophie McKeand is the Young People’s Laureate for Wales. During the trip to India she led a series of workshops on creativity for Kolkata schools.
During the visit, the writers contributed to a creativity blog which was published on the Wales Arts Review website.
“And Suddenly You Find Yourself” by Natalie Ann Holborow, on location video shot and edited by Sion Tomos Owen – this is the official video of the project and highlights the launching of Natalie’s debut collection at this year’s Kolkata Literature Festival.
The project is generously funded by a grant from Wales Arts International and British Council’s India Wales Fund. The India Wales Fund is a joint initiative between Wales Arts International and the British Council. The purpose of the fund is to support artistic collaboration and exchange between creative professionals and arts organisations in Wales and India, which will build sustainable relationships and networks between the two countries. This is the only literature-based project funded in this round of application.
The visiting writers from India will spend three weeks in Wales in May/June 2017 and will take part in a number of events, including:
- A high-profile public event at Hay Festival.
- An event at Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre, where the participating writers will be joined by other Welsh writers. Tŷ Newydd will also function as a base for at least one of the visiting Indian writers during their stay in Wales.
- A weekend mini festival in Llansteffan featuring participating writers and Parthian authors.
- An event in Swansea, in partnership with Swansea University.
- Events at Cardiff Central Library in collaboration with Wales Arts Review, Welsh and Indian authors and members of the Indian diaspora community.
Each of the writers involved will be commissioned to contribute a piece of work to the anthology, while also selecting two pieces that they feel represents the culture they have experienced in the country they have visited.