Nia Morais named Bardd Plant Cymru 2023-25
Bardd Plant Cymru is a national role which aims to spark imagination and inspire the children of Wales through poetry.
Nia’s appointment was announced on the Arddorfa stage at the Urdd Eisteddfod in Llandovery on Thursday 1 June. The ceremony was chaired by Dafydd Lennon, one of the presenters of Cyw on S4C. Nia spoke about her hopes in taking on the role, and there was a contribution from the current Bardd Plant Cymru, Casi Wyn.
This announcement is the culmination of a recruitment process that began back in January with an open call for the next Bardd Plant Cymru, followed by a period of working through the applications, and conducting interviews and tasting workshops.
The next Children’s Laureate Wales – the English-language Bardd Plant Cymru – will be announced tomorrow (Friday 2 June) at the Hay Festival.
Nia Morais is a writer and playwright from Cardiff. Her work often focuses on self image, mental health and magic. She graduated from Cardiff University with a Masters Degree in Creative Writing. In 2020, she released her first audio play, Crafangau, as part of Sherman Theatre’s Heart of Cardiff project. Nia is currently Writer in Residence at Sherman Theatre and her first full play Imrie, co-produced by Frân Wen and Sherman Theatre, is touring Wales over the summer of 2023. Nia was a member of the Tir na n-Og Awards judging panel in 2021, and also part of the Literature Wales’ Representing Wales writers development programme the same year. Nia writes for children and adults.
Nia Morais said:
“I’m so proud to be Bardd Plant Cymru and I can’t wait to start. I feel very excited to return to the world of poetry after some time away, and very grateful to be able to share my time with the young people of Wales.
“I was eager to get the role because I love working with young people – it’s very satisfying and I get a lot of inspiration from seeing what interests them. I love writing poetry and hope to be able to create great work with the young people of Wales.”
The Bardd Plant Cymru project is led by Literature Wales with the support of the Welsh Government, S4C, the Book Council of Wales and Urdd Gobaith Cymru. It was established in 2000, since when 17 poets have undertaken the role. The role is awarded every two years to a Welsh poet who is passionate about ensuring that more children and young people discover the thrill and power of literature through the medium of Welsh.
Every Bardd Plant Cymru is committed to:
- Expanding children’s and young people’s access to Welsh literature, specifically children and young people from marginalised backgrounds and backgrounds that are underrepresented;
- Improving the mental and physical health and well-being of children and young people through literature;
- Increasing children’s and young people’s enjoyment of literature; and
- Empowering children and young people through creativity,
The members of the Bardd Plant Cymru 2023-2025 selection panel were Ciarán Eynon, Principal Poet of the Urdd Eisteddfod 2022; Dafydd Lennon, poet and presenter of S4C’s Cyw; Bethan Mai Jones, Head of the Children’s Books department of the Book Council of Wales and two of Literature Wales’ creative co-ordinators. As part of the process, a workshop was held with pupils at Ysgol Ciliau Parc, Lampeter, and the children themselves, key stakeholders of the project, were allowed to share their views.
Bethan Mai Jones said:
“It was a joy to see Nia encourage and inspire the pupils so well whilst leading the workshop. From the very beginning, there were fresh and exciting ideas, and she made quite an impression and encouraged the children to venture and play with the Welsh language. She has a strong vision and her passion for identity and encouraging others to respect their self-image is infectious. As a result, an enthusiastic response was had when the children experimented with composing short pieces of writing, and they were eager to share these with the rest of the class. We wish her the best and look forward to working together soon.’
Ciarán Eynon said:
“Many congratulations to Nia on being appointed Bardd Plant Cymru 2023-2025. This is an exciting appointment, and I was convinced during the appointment process by her vision to place enormous importance on the self-image, self-confidence and expression of children and young people (as her creative work also testifies) following such a volatile and uncertain period. But more than that, there is no doubt that Nia has that innate ability to hold the attention of a class of young people in the palm of her hand. As part of the trial workshop, Nia made writing and words an infectious experience for young people and we wish her the best of luck as she shapes the course of her time stewarding this important role. “
Dafydd Lennon said:
“Nia Morais brings plenty of poetry, story, and drama writing experience to young audiences in Wales. With a sound plan, Nia led the workshop confidently. By the end of a joyful session for the children, it was clear that Nia had given them enough confidence to play with new words, and to share their ideas freely about what words meant to them. The workshop reiterated Nia’s objective to develop the children’s independence and their own individual identities,
Nia feels strongly about talking about those subjects that aren’t frequently discussed but are on the minds of many children in Wales. I thoroughly look forward to all that Nia will create with and for the children of Wales.’
Nia’s main objective is to ensure that there are more opportunities for children and young people to discuss and write about topics that are crucial to them as a generation, and which are rare in Welsh literature at the moment. She is keen to listen and find out what themes are fuelling the children and young people of Wales at the moment. In particular, she is passionate about:
- Proving that the Welsh language belongs to everyone, using exercises in workshops that give the pupils the opportunity to be creative with language and experiment with words;
- Ensuring that LGBTQ+ issues are discussed openly in creative writing workshops in order to show how stories and writing can help children and young people to understand and cope with their experiences and reduce feelings of alienation and loneliness;
- Challenging the negative influence that social media has on the ideal of body image by holding workshops and creating creative work based on themes of identity and self-confidence;
- Encouraging children to nurture their independence and unique identity, ensuring that each child develops their own personal and powerful voice;
- Working hand in hand with the next generation to implement change and develop a more accessible, fair and green world; and
- Representing the children and young people of Wales on a national stage, advocating for their voices.
If you want to ask more about the Bardd Plant Cymru or the Children’s Laureate Wales projects, or for opportunities to work together, contact Literature Wales at firstname.lastname@example.org.