Literature Wales and Welsh Books Council invest in emerging writers and illustrators
The open application process was launched in September 2018, with an announcement that the tutors would be Jac Jones, the creator of the original and iconic Jac y Jwc illustrations; and Manon Steffan Ros, the winner of the Cardiff National Eisteddfod Prose Medal. 45 strong applications were submitted, of which eight writers and eight illustrators have been selected for this unique writer development opportunity.
This intense course will offer guidance on the craft of both writing and illustrating for children aged 3-7, in high hopes of filling bookshop shelves with colourful and original Welsh-language books for children. The course will see two of Wales’ foremost literary organisations investing in emerging writers, developing essential skills in this all-important discipline. This course forms part of Literature Wales’ strategy for writer development, and providing training for those at the start of their careers. The course will also respond to the Welsh Books Council’s call for more expertise in the field of writing and illustrating for young audiences.
The week will include practical workshops, a study of writing for children both in Wales and internationally, and readings from visiting writers including the children’s literature expert, Prue Goodwin, and illustrator Thomas Docherty. The course will end on St David’s Day with an opportunity for the writers and illustrators to network and pitch ideas to editors from some of Wales’ foremost publishers.
The selected group is a mix of emerging writers and illustrators looking at creating picture books for the first time, and some who already have some experience of the genre. The eight writers chosen are Anna George, Bethan Jones, Carys Glyn, Gwennan Evans, Llio Maddocks, Mari Siôn, Rhian Cadwaladr and Sioned Wyn Roberts. And the illustrators are Bethan Mai, Leonie Servini, Leri Tecwyn, Luned Aaron, Ruth Jên, Seran Dolma, Sioned Medi Evans and Telor Gwyn.
Helen Jones, the Head of the Welsh Books Council’s Children’s Books and Reading Promotions Department, said: “In 2016, the Welsh Books Council commissioned Dr Siwan Rosser from the School of Welsh, Cardiff University, to create a report on books for children and young people, and it’s great to see a practical and creative step being taken in response to its findings. This could make a big difference to the children’s books’ industry in Wales.”
Leusa Llewelyn, the Head of Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre, said: “We’re delighted to see such a great response to this course, the future of children’s books is in safe hands. Working in partnership with the Books Council is a great opportunity. By working together, we can offer a clear pathway for writer development – from honing craft, to working in partnership as writer and illustrator, to pitching ideas to the publishers, to – hopefully – getting a book published!”