Tanya Byrne is an award-winning author and freelance editor. Her books have been published around the world and have been translated into Spanish, German, Italian and Polish. She left the BBC in 2011 to write her debut novel, 'Heart-shaped Bruise', which was published the following year and earned her a nomination for New Writer of the Year at the National Book Awards. Since then, she has published five more novels and has contributed to several short story anthologies including 'A Change is Gonna Come', which was named Sunday Times Children's Book of the Week and was honoured with a Special Achievement Award by the YA Book Prize. Her most recent novel, Afterlove, was published in July and hit both the Waterstones and the Amazon bestseller lists. She regularly works with unpublished authors and is passionate about encouraging writers from marginalised backgrounds to tell their own stories and making publishing open for everyone.
Connor Allen is the Children’s Laureate Wales 2021-23. A multidisciplinary artist, he graduated from Trinity Saint David as an actor in 2013. He is a member of National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and was winner of Triforce’s Cardiff MonologueSlam in 2015, before going on to represent Wales at the national finals in London. As a writer he’s been a member of the BBC Wales’ Welsh Voices, The Welsh Royal Court and National Theatre Wales writing groups and has written for BBC Wales, BBC Radio 4, Sherman Theatre, Literature Wales and Dirty Protest. Most recently he won the Rising Star Wales Award 2021 and was a Jerwood Live Work Fund recipient. He is also Associate Artist of his hometown theatre The Riverfront in Newport.
Niall Griffiths was born in Liverpool and has lived in mid Wales for a quarter of a century. He is author of eight novels, two of which won the Welsh Book of the Year Award: 'Stump' (Penguin Random House / Vintage Publishing) in 2004 and 'Broken Ghost' (Jonathan Cape) in 2020. He has also authored memoirs, novellas, a collection of poetry, and more short stories, reviews, travel pieces and radio plays than he cares to, or possibly even can, count. His work has been translated into 20 languages, he has given readings on every continent except Antarctica, and the film adaption of his third novel, 'Kelly + Victor', won a BAFTA. He is Professor of Creative Writing at Wolverhampton University.
Emma Smith-Barton was born in South Wales to Pakistani parents. Growing up between cultures has heavily influenced her writing and she is especially interested in exploring themes of identity and belonging. Before writing, she taught in secondary schools for six years and is passionate about increasing awareness of mental health in young people. She studied English and Creative Writing (BA) at The University of Warwick and has an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. Her short stories have appeared in various publications such as Mslexia and The Bristol Short Story Prize 2016 anthology (under her pseudonym for adult fiction, Amna Khokher). 'The Million Pieces of Neena Gill' (Penguin Random House, 2019), Emma's first novel for young adults, was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2020; the Branford Boase Award 2020; and the Romantic Novelists' Association Debut Romantic Novel 2020.
Iola Ynyr is a freelance artist specialising in theatre and digital work as a producer, innovator and dramatist. Her passion is to research and promote well-being through the arts and creativity. In partnership with Literature Wales and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, Iola was the founder of the Ar y Dibyn project aimed to help individuals living with addiction or dependency through the medium of Welsh. Iola is a Creative Agent with the national Lead Creative Schools Scheme, and is one of the Ynys Blastig artists, a project in Gwynedd looking at using the arts to promote wellness of the individual and the planet.