Literature Wales’ Top 10 of 2023

Published Thu 21 Dec 2023 - By Literature Wales
Literature Wales’ Top 10 of 2023
As another year draws to a close, here is an opportunity to look back and reflect on twelve bustling months for the literary sector in Wales.
Literature has the power to connect communities and offer comfort, inspiration, and hope at a time of increasing division and global insecurity. The stories we read, hear, and tell each other help us to explore the complexities of our lives and make sense of the world. Writers and participants alike have proved this once again this year.
Literature Wales would like to express our gratitude to every individual, organisation, and community that has worked with us or supported our work this year.
To summarise a fantastic year of activity, here is our Top 10 of 2023!

Tŷ Newydd Programme Launch

In the autumn we released a jam-packed programme of courses for writers which will be held at Tŷ Newydd Writers’ Centre next year and this beautiful video showing its impact on writers. From Poetry retreats, to songwriting, to food writing, it’s not too late to book your space – there is something for everyone! Browse the programme and book your place or gift a course this Christmas.

To find out more about what we offer for writers, head to the I am a Writer section.


Our National Ambassadors

It has been an extremely busy year for our national poets, the National Poet of Wales, Children’s Laureate Wales and Bardd Plant Cymru. The poets have penned new poems throughout the year and have run projects across Wales both inside and outside the classroom, reaching thousands of young people.

Our National Poet, Hanan Issa, has performed on stages from Mexico to Brussels, and has written several commissioned poems, including marking on the 75th anniversary of the NHS, congratulating Wales’ football team on reaching the World Cup, and noting the awful situation in Gaza.

At the begining of the summer we annonced new appointments – Alex Wharton is the new Children’s Laureate Wales 2023-2025 and Nia Morais is Bardd Plant Cymru 2023-2025. Both have had an extremely busy first term, and are ready to insipre pupils from every part of the country. We also celebrated Connor Allen and Casi Wyn, the poets who have held the posts for for the past two years.

Take a look at their poems on the project page on the Literature Wales website.


Our Management Board

Our board represents a wide range of skills and experiences and this year we were thrilled to welcome five new members – Casi Dylan, Rachel Harries, Steve Dimmick, Owen Hathway, and Richard King. We continue to look for additional Trustees to help shape Literature Wales’ strategic direction and provide effective and constructive governance.
Are you passionate about the arts and the transformative possibilities of literature? Please get in touch or learn more about the role and responsibilities in this pack.


Inspiring Communities Fund

Our Inspiring Communities Fund is a unique funding scheme for literature event supported by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Wales. These events take place all across Wales, in community halls, libraries, pubs, schools, youth clubs – and also on virtual platforms for groups who are meeting online. We supported 157 organisations this year to host talks, lectures, creative writing workshops, and more.
Are you hosting a literary event in 2024? Apply for funding now on our website.


Strategic Courses

Hand in hand with our annual creative writing courses at Tŷ Newydd, which anyone can attend, we also run a series of tailored courses that aim to tackle underrepresentation in the Welsh literary sector. The courses are free of charge and attendees are selected through a competitive application process. Re-inventing the Protagonist was a creative writing course for deaf and/or disabled Writers, (Re)writing Wales explored the intricacies of Welsh identity, and Notes on Nature was a nature-writing course for individuals of colour who identify as women or of a marginalised gender. We also re-launched the Writers at Work programme in partnership with the Hay Festival, offering a jam-packed week of opportunities for writers during the festival.


2023 Wales Book of the Year Award

We had a fantastic night celebrating the Wales Book of the Year writers at a live ceremony for the first time in four years at the Tramshed in Cardiff. Caryl Lewis’ Drift was crowned as the Book of the year in the English-language, whilst Llŷr Titus received the Award in the Welsh-language.
You can find out more about all of this year’s winners on our website, enjoy a gallery of photos from the ceremony, and if you haven’t done so already, why not read the fantastic books over the break?



In November we launched Pencerdd, a new Welsh-language opportunity for poets to develop the ancient craft of cynganeddu. The programme is run in partnership with Barddas and aims to develop poets that are new to the tradition and nurture new voices and perspectives within the cynganeddu tradition in Wales.


Piece by Piece

Piece by Piece is a Comic Relief-funded partnership project with Newport Mind and Community Youth supporting families and young people with mental health issues, especially those from low-income or BAME backgrounds or who are LGBTQ+. The project sees writers and artists partnered to create poems, films, and music projects to support those families and ties in with two of our main priorities. Over the year we have shared blogs, creative work, and videos reflecting on the project. So far, there have been 111 workshops, 24 one-to-one sessions, and over 326 individuals taking part.


Lit in Place

Lit in Place is our flagship project in partnership with WWF Cymru that explores the climate and nature emergency through literature.It offers funding to writers to deliver activities within their local community. In 2022-2023, three projects have been supported: Gwledda, run by Iola Ynyr in RhosgadfanThe Fruits of our Fire run by Siôn Tomos Owen in Treherbert; and The LUMIN Syllabus, a partnership between Sadia Pineda Hameed and Beau W Beakhouse in Swansea.

It is worth finding our more about each project on the Lit in Place website page.


Singing the Sun in Flight: Poetry at the Senedd

Our programme of events at the Senedd buildings continued this year, funded by Welsh Government. Celebrating all things poetic, the programme raises the profile of poetry and spoken word at the home of Welsh democracy. We held two events this year – one focusing on poetry and well-being, and the other celebrating our children’s laureates.