Representing Wales: Celebrating the 2022-2023 Programme

Published Fri 31 Mar 2023 - By Literature Wales
Representing Wales: Celebrating the 2022-2023 Programme
Literature Wales is proud to celebrate the achievements of the 2022-2023 Representing Wales cohort and the growing success of the writer development programme.

“The programme has transformed my writing, my confidence, and my life.” 

Ben Huxley, mentored by Niall Griffiths 


The Programme: 

Representing Wales is a 12-month programme which provides development opportunities for writers currently under-represented in the literature sector in Wales. Developed back in 2020 to improve representation within the sector, the programme marks an important progression in Literature Wales’ efforts to transform the country’s literary culture into one that is truly reflective of Wales’ diverse communities, to demystify the writing profession, and to establish a stream of diverse Welsh talent that will be recognised across the UK and beyond.  

Over the last 12 months, Literature Wales has worked intensely with 14 writers from low-income backgrounds by offering each writer a £3,000 bursary, bespoke mentoring with an author of their choice, monthly industry-focused workshops, networking opportunities and creative writing masterclasses with high-profile tutors. The cohort were selected by an independent assessment Panel, following an open call-out during the autumn of 2021. 

“If the goal of Representing Wales is to break down barriers and foster a sense of belief in its cohorts, then I can only say it works.” 

-2022-2023 cohort member 


The Tutors and Speakers: 

The cohort attended almost 50 online sessions over the course of the year, as well as two residential weekend masterclasses at Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre. Tutors and guest speakers included award-winning writers Kit de Waal, Lisa Blower, Pascale Petit, Cathy Rentzenbrink, Dewi Prysor, Caryl Bryn, Mari Elen and Iola Ynyr. The writers also met with Wales-based publishers, The Books Council of Wales, representatives from The Good Literary Agency, publishing and PR experts, and author-brand and marketing specialists.  


The Mentoring: 

Over the last 12 months, the writers also benefitted from editorial support and bespoke career guidance from their chosen Mentors. The Mentors were on hand to help refine current creative projects to a publishable standard, offer direction on navigating the industry, signpost professional opportunities and help widen networks.  The 2022-2023 programme’s line up of Mentors included some of the most exciting and successful names in Wales’ literary culture and beyond such as, Sophie Mackintosh, Kerry Hudson, Patrice Lawrence, Jacob Ross, Cynan Jones, Niall Griffiths and Eloise Williams.  

“I left the Mentoring sessions feeling uplifted, reconnected with myself as a poet and so excited for the future.” 

Frankie Parris, mentored by Peter Scalpello 


Welsh-language Learning Course: 

Alongside the core programme of sessions focusing on the craft of writing and the publishing industry, the authors were also offered the opportunity to attend a Welsh-language course during the year. In partnership with the National Centre for Learning Welsh which funded the Welsh-language learning course through the Work Welsh scheme, Literature Wales organised for the authors to follow a tutored online course as well as a residential intensive course at Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre. 100% of the writers who attended the course said that they will continue learning Welsh and apply it in their own creative practice.  


Positive feedback: 

Following the success of the first round of the programme, the feedback received from the 2022-2023 cohort has again been overwhelmingly positive. 100% of the writers agreed that their creative writing has been positively impacted by the programme with 92% of the writers choosing to strongly agree with this statement. 

“12 months ago I had 10,000 words, and now I have 90,000. Not only this but my characters feel alive – as does the whole thing.” 

-2022-2023 cohort member 

The cohort was also in agreement about the programme’s contribution to their understanding of the publishing industry in Wales and the UK with all of the writers agreeing that their understanding of the industry has improved thanks to the programme. 

Almost 70% of the writers noted that they have been offered opportunities for their writing careers as a direct result of this programme. These opportunities range from publishing works in anthologies and magazines to securing job opportunities. 

“This programme has opened so many doors to me… I feel as though my future is bright and heading somewhere. It’s excellent!” 

-Hattie Morrison, mentored by Sophie Mackintosh 

The programme also had a positive effect on the health and well-being of the cohort with all of the writers stating that the programme was positively impactful and 77% of the writers strongly agreed that the programme increased their self-confidence. 

“I feel creatively fulfilled, like I’m on the right path. I have more energy and I’m much happier in general.” 

-2022-2023 cohort member 

Programme After-care: 

This was the second year for the Representing Wales programme to run. During the programme’s inaugural year, Literature Wales supported 12 writers of colour. Following each round, Literature Wales continues to work closely with the writers through a structured three-year after-care scheme which can include a residential masterclass at Tŷ Newydd, further mentoring sessions, and identifying suitable internal and external professional and creative opportunities.  

The third cohort of writers will be announced in mid-April, 2023 and the submission window for the fourth round will open in the summer of 2023. Find out more about the programme on our project page.  

Representing Wales is delivered by Literature Wales and funded by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Wales. 


End of Year Video: 

Watch the full video below to learn more about the writers’ experiences on the 2022-2023 programme.