Writers’ Bursaries Recipients 2018
Emily Blewitt is the author of This Is Not A Rescue (Seren Books, 2017). She has published poetry in The Rialto, Poetry Wales, Ambit, and The North, among others, and was Highly Commended in the 2016 Forward Prizes.
Emily has appeared at Hay Festival, on BBC Radio 4, and participated in Literature Wales’ Weird and Wonderful Wales project. One of her poems appears on public transport in three Chinese cities as part of a British Council initiative.
Emily lives in Bridgend with her husband, Greg, and their fat black-and-white cat, Ozymandias.
Zillah Bowes is a writer and filmmaker. She was winner of the 2017 Wordsworth Trust Prize and a 2017 Creative Wales Award. She received Special Commendation in the 2016 Wasafiri New Writing Prize and was selected for the 2016-17 Writers at Work programme at Hay Festival.
Her poems have been published in magazines and anthologies, and she is finalizing her first publication. Her readings include Hay Festival, Keats House, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and Tate Modern.
Her films include Small Protests as director, which won the Current Short Cuts Award, and Enemies of Happiness as cinematographer, which won World Cinema Jury Prize at Sundance.
Selena Caemawr is a poet and activist based in Wales. She writes about living on the intersections of oppression, as a queer, trans-femme, autistic woman of colour with mental illness.
Her bold, and often intimate, spoken word performances challenge perceptions around topics such as race, disability and gender, as she aims to bring people into the world of intersectionality.
Briony Collins is an award-winning writer and Bangor University student. Though she has always been a storyteller, her writing career began at the age of 21, when she won the 2016 Exeter Novel Prize for her unpublished debut novel Raise Them Up.
She uses her work to campaign for human rights. This theme is also shown in her poetry, for which she has received tutoring by both Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and Gillian Clarke.
Briony is now represented by DHH Literary Agency, and spends her time juggling university life with a promising writing career.
Claire Fayers grew up in Newport, Gwent, and now lives in Cardiff, where she spends much of her free time tramping around castles, looking for dragons.
She has worked as a church caretaker, a shoe-shop assistant, in health and safety and in a library. She’s now a full-time children’s author, splitting her time between writing and visiting schools to share her love of storytelling. Her Accidental Pirates series is published in the UK (Pan Macmillan) and US.
The bursary will enable her to complete a new children’s novel set in south Wales, to be published by Macmillan’s Children’s Books.
Originally from Anglesey, William Gwyn has lived in Cardiff for over 25 years. He studied Welsh at Aberystwyth University and went on to earn his living through creative writing, mainly by contributing to the Welsh-language soap opera Pobol y Cwm, on which he’s also worked as Script Editor and Producer.
Alongside his scriptwriting work, William has been studying French and English with the Open University on a part-time basis since 2013. The idea of nurturing a new, different voice in a second language is one that appeals to William, which has led him to explore creative writing in English.
Rosalind Hudis is an award-winning poet, editor, mother, and writing tutor, living in the hills near Tregaron.
Widely published in journals and magazines, she is also the author of a poetry pamphlet, Terra Ignota ( Rack Press 2013 ) and a full collection, Tilt ( Cinnamon Press 2014 ). Poetry from Tilt was highly commended in the 2015 Forward Prizes for Poetry. In 2017 she was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship.
An MA graduate of UWTSD Lampeter, Rosalind is employed by the university to provide poetry surgeries for creative writing students. She is a keen musician, and hiker among the wilds.
Iwan Huws is a musician and translator (and every now and again, a waiter). He began adapting children’s books into Welsh last year, and is now keen to publish his own stories for children and young people.
Originally from the Llŷn Peninsula, Iwan now lives in Cardiff with his family.
Beverley Jones (B.E. Jones) was born in the Rhondda Valleys and started her ‘life of crime’ as a reporter on The Western Mail before moving into TV news with BBC Wales Today.
She covered all aspects of crime reporting before switching sides as a press officer for South Wales Police, dealing with the media in criminal investigations, security operations and emergency planning.
Now a freelance writer she channels these experiences of ‘true crime,’ and the murkier side of human nature, into her dark, psychological thrillers, set in and around south Wales.
Halfway, due out in 2018, follows the release of Where She Went (Constable) in 2017.
Joanna Jones worked backstage in theatre, studied a BA in International Politics, and crewed international sporting events before becoming a bookseller and Masters student in Aberystwyth.
Born in south Wales, Joanna has lived, worked and studied in New Mexico, Finland, and Bolivia. She has published poetry in Popshot magazine, the Aval-Ballan gallery, and an anthology entitled Sisters Lost, Sisters Found, and was nominated for the Forward Prize (single poem) in 2014.
Joanna hopes to use the New Writer’s Bursary to work on her first novel: a YA murder mystery novel set in a fictionalised Orkney in the ‘90s.
Cynan Jones was born near Aberaeron, Wales in 1975. His novels include Cove (Granta); The Long Dry (Granta), winner of a Betty Trask Award 2007; Everything I Found on the Beach (Granta); Bird, Blood, Snow (Seren), the retelling of a medieval Welsh myth; and The Dig (Granta), winner of a Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Award 2014 and the Wales Book of the Year Fiction Category 2015.
A chapter from The Dig was shortlisted for the Sunday Times / EFG Short Story Award 2013, and in October 2017, Cynan won the BBC National Short Story Award for his piece The Edge of the Shoal, first published in The New Yorker.
Three Tales, a book of children’s stories, will be published by Gomer in 2018.
Stephanie Mahon is an award-winning journalist concerned with themes of sustainability, landscape and the environment, who started writing professionally at the age of 17.
She left her native Ireland in 2005 to run reading retreats in an old castle in Italy, before moving to Cardiff 10 years ago. She now lives in the Wye Valley and works as a magazine editor and freelance writer for outlets including The Telegraph, The Guardian and The Sunday Times.
She has had one short play performed at Sherman Cymru, but the Literature Wales Writer’s Bursary marks her first serious foray into fiction.
Hayley Mills is a journalist who grew up in the village of Sully, near Barry, and currently lives in Cardiff. She graduated from Cardiff University with a BA in Journalism, Film and Media.
After enjoying a six year career as a print journalist with The South Wales Argus in Newport, she now works as a TV Researcher at the BBC.
She began writing her first novel in her spare time and the Writer’s Bursary will enable her to complete this young adult fiction piece.
Literary activist Rufus Mufasa is a pioneering participatory artist who advocates hip hop education and poetry development accessible to all. Lyricist, rapper and performance art poet, with an MA in scriptwriting, Rufus recently launch a solo album, Fur Coats From The Lion’s Den, dubbed a 2017 cultural highlight by Wales Arts Review, and chosen as best album of the year.
Rufus has made Pontypridd her home, with her two daughters and partner Jamey P. Between motherhood and implementing alternative education, she is prolifically active on the hip hop scene, the Welsh language scene and the performance poetry scene (2017 Swansea Poetry Slam Winner / 2017 Outspoken London Longlist / 2016 Poetry Rivals Longlist). Rufus is currently developing poetry and prose, and wrote a Welsh language musical, which was showcased at the National Eisteddfod and Aberystwyth Arts Centre, in conjunction with Leeway Productions.
Rufus has also been collaborating with Avant Cymru and artist Amelia Unity Thomas, devising theatre projects, Landmarks and Operation Sisterhood.
Katie Munnik is a Canadian writer living in Cardiff. Her debut novel, The Heart Beats in Secret, won the Borough Press Open Submission Competition and will be published in the spring of 2019.
Her collection of short fiction, The Pieces We Keep was published recently by Wild Goose Publications and her prose, poetry, creative non-fiction and reviews have appeared in several magazines and anthologies, including The Cardiff Review, The Dangerous Women Project, Echoes of the City, The Welsh Agenda, and Geez Magazine.
Katie is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers in Toronto, Canada.
Siôn Tomos Owen was born in Treorchy in the Rhondda Valleys. He went to Ysgol Gynradd Ynyswen, and Ysgol Gyfun Cymer before studying Illustration at GCADT, Treforest and then on to read Creative Writing and Media Studies at Trinity College Carmarthen.
Siôn has had over 50 jobs but now has settled on around five: Writing, illustrating, singing, creative workshops, making short films and presenting television programmes including two series of Pobol y Rhondda and most recently Cynefin on S4C.
His first book, Cawl, a collection of Poems, Short Stones, Essays, Cartoons and Comics was published by Parthian in 2017. Sion lives in Treorchy with his wife and daughter.
Jemima Roberts is a writer and poet who hails from the Hafod Estate in Mid Wales. She has been writing since her early teens and in 2009, was selected to participate in the inaugural Faber & Faber poetry course. She has been performing her work around the world ever since – on land and at sea.
For the last 5 years she has been raising her son full-time – and writing on slips of paper in snippets of time. 2018 sees her re-emerge from the cocoon of early motherhood and back out into the lights of the world.
Alongside other commitments, she will be taking up a writer in residency post at Aberystwyth Arts Centre.
Durre Shahwar is a writer, creative practitioner, an Associate Editor for Wales Arts Review, and a Word Factory Apprentice 2017. She studied for an MA in Creative Writing at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
She is the co-founder of ‘Where I’m Coming From’, a monthly open mic event that promotes BAME writing in Wales. She writes fiction and creative non-fiction about a broad range of topics, including race, identity, gender and mental health.
Durre’s work has been published in various magazines and anthologies including Know Your Place: Essays on the Working Class (2017, Dead Ink Books), The Lonely Crowd, Cheval 10 (Terry Hetherington Young Writers Award 2017) and The Stockholm Review of Literature.
Christina Thatcher is a part-time teacher and PhD student at Cardiff University where she studies how creative writing can impact the lives of people bereaved by addiction. Christina keeps busy off campus too as the Poetry Editor for The Cardiff Review and as a freelance workshop facilitator and festival coordinator.
Her poetry and short stories have featured in a number of publications including The London Magazine, Planet Magazine, The Interpreter’s House and more.
Her first collection, More than you were, was shortlisted in Bare Fiction’s Debut Poetry Collection Competition in 2015 and published by Parthian Books in 2017.
Louise Walsh is a novelist and former amateur boxer. Her first novel, Fighting Pretty (Seren Books), drew on her knowledge of the amateur boxing world in Wales.
Her second novel, Black River (Carreg Gwalch), was inspired by her research into press intrusion at Aberfan following the 1966 disaster.
Louise lives in Cardiff where she is working on a third novel. The Literature Wales Writers’ Bursary will enable her to research and develop this novel set against the backdrop of the 1984 miners’ strike in Wales
Elizabeth Wilson is a Professor Emeritus of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Having graduated in Humanities from the Open University, she is deeply committed to widening access to higher education through part-time study.
She was supported by the Open University Crowther Fund to complete a PhD in Post-colonial Literature, specialising in anglophone Caribbean poetry.
She completed an MA in Creative Writing in 2013 which inspired her to write poetry in preference to studying it, and will use the Literature Wales New Writer’s Bursary to develop her first collection. Elizabeth lives on the Pembrokeshire coast.