Phil Okwedy is 58 and from Pembrokeshire. Born in Cardiff of a Welsh mother and Nigerian father, he is an oral performance storyteller and myth-maker who draws deeply on his dual heritage and multiple cultures in order to find the contemporary in the traditional. He regularly performs in storytelling clubs and has featured at Beyond the Border and Aberystwyth Storytelling Festivals, as well as at Kea Festival in Greece and Fabula Festival in Sweden. His first book, Wil & the Welsh Black Cattle, is a set of Welsh folktales framed around the mythology of the ancient cattle drovers.
How do you envisage the programme will help you in terms of your development?
“To date, what I have written has very much been a version of what I have spoken as an oral performance storyteller. I see the programme as an opportunity develop that orality by exploring more literary genres in order to establish a writing practice that will inform, and be informed by, my storytelling practice.”
What are you most looking forward to as part of the programme? What are you hoping to achieve by taking part?
“The opportunity to collaborate with a mentor is immense for me. The project I have in mind could go in many directions so having an experienced writer to work with will be crucial in shaping the project. I’m looking forward to sharing the journey with the other participants too. Specifically, I hope that taking part in the programme will help me develop a book along with a live show I am currently developing so that one supports and informs the other and vice versa.”
As a writer, where would you like to be in 5 years?
“I’d like to have established a parallel professional writing career alongside performance storytelling.”