Friday 8 February 2019 

Event 1: Katherine Stansfield, Emily Blewitt, Kim Moore

Katherine Stansfield 

Katherine Stansfield is a poet and novelist. She grew up in Cornwall and now lives in Cardiff. Her debut poetry collection, Playing House, was published by Seren. Her second collection, We Could Be Anywhere By Now, was supported by a writer’s bursary from Literature Wales and will be out with Seren in 2020. From 2018 to 2019, Katherine was the poet-in-residence at Cornerstone. She teaches for the Open University, and is the Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Cardiff University.

Emily Blewitt 

Emily Blewitt was born in Carmarthen. She read English Language and Literature at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford  and has an MA in Film and Literature from the University of York, and a PhD in Literature from Cardiff University  where she specialized in poetic representations of pregnancy in women’s writing. Published widely in journals, the title poem of her debut collection from Seren, This is Not a Rescue, was Highly Commended for best individual poem  in the Forward Prizes in 2016. She is the Poetry Editor for the New Welsh Reviewand she lives in Bridgend with her husband and a black and white cat called Ozymandias.

Kim Moore

Kim Moore lives and works in Cumbria. Starting out as a trumpet player, she taught music for a number of years. Her first full length collection The Art of Falling appeared from Seren in 2015 and won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. Her first pamphlet If We Could Speak Like Wolves was a winner in The Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition, judged by  Carol Ann Duffy. She is currently a PhD student at Manchester Metropolitan University where she is exploring how to write poetry about sexism.

Event 2: Owen Sheers ‘To Provide All People’

Owen Sheers 

Owen Sheers is an author, poet and playwright. He has published two acclaimed poetry collections, The Blue Book and Skirrid Hill. His prose works include:  The Dust Diaries, a non-fiction narrative set in Zimbabwe, a novel Resistance that has been translated into eleven languages and made into a film. He is the author ofWhite Ravens, as part of Seren’s  ‘New Stories from the Mabinogion’ series, and a second novel, I Saw a Man. His theatre work includes: The Gospel of Us, as part of a National Theatre of Wales production, as well as The PassionThe Two Worlds of Charlie F, and Mametz. His verse drama Pink Mist won a handful of prizes including Wales book of the Year.  He has collaborated with composers on oratorios and operas. Owen was Artist in Residence for the Welsh Rugby Union. He has also produced a number of television programmes on poetry and documentaries on the poets Dylan Thomas and Keith Douglas.  He is currently Professor in Creativity at Swansea University and a trustee and co-founder of the Black Mountains College project.

“It’s been a privilege to be able to engage via interviews and poetry with the idea and the people of the NHS for this project, and to be part of a film hoping to give voice to the ethos, philosophy, and experience of the service” – Owen Sheers

Ilora Gillian Finlay

Ilora Gillian Finlay, Baroness Finlay of Llandaff is a renowned Welsh doctor, professor of palliative medicine and an Independent Crossbench member of the House of Lords. She is past president of the Royal Society of Medicine, Professor at the Cardiff University School of Medicine and is consultant at the Velndre cancer centre in  Cardiff. In June 2011, she was made life peer as Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, in the County of Glamorgan. In March 2015 Finlay was awarded the title of Grassroot Diplomat Honouree for her vigorous campaign to improve the care of dying patients.

Saturday 9 February 2019 

Event 1: Poetry Showcase  

Susie Wild 

Susie Wild is an English poet, short story writer, journalist and editor based in Wales. She is currently editor for fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry at Parthian Books, and lectures on creative and critical writing. Her debut collection of poetry is Better Houses.  She is also the author of a praised collection of short stories, The Art of Contraception. Her writing has appeared widely in a number of journals and she is curating our 2019  ‘Poetry Showcase’ event of authors who live and work in Wales.

Mab Jones 

Mab Jones has made 1 poetry chapbook, 2 poetry collections, and 3 BBC Radio 4 programmes. Her recent collection is Take Your Experience and Peel It (Indigo Dreams). She’s won various awards, written for the New York Times, and teaches creative writing at Cardiff University.  She is currently Resident Writer at the Cardiff Wetlands nature reserve.

Ailbhe Darcy

Ailbhe Darcy is an Irish poet living in Cardiff. Her second collection, Insistence (Bloodaxe Books, 2018) has been shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. Her first collection was Imaginary Menagerie (Bloodaxe Books, 2011) and she has also published Subcritical Tests in collaboration with S.J. Fowler (Gorse Editions, 2017.) 

Rhys Owain Williams 

Rhys Owain Williams is a writer from Swansea. His first poetry collection, That Lone Ship, was published by Parthian in 2018. Rhys is co-editor of The Crunch and The Ghastling magazines, and is a Hay Festival Writer at Work. In 2018 he became the literature co-ordinator for The Swansea Fringe.

Christina Thatcher

Christina Thatcher is a teacher and PhD student at Cardiff University. Her work has featured in over 40 publications and her debut collection, More than you were, was published by Parthian Books in 2017. To learn more please visit or follow her @writetoempower. 

Nia Davies 

Nia Davies was born in Sheffield and lives in Wales. Her first book-length collection of poems All Fours (Bloodaxe Books, 2017)  follows the pamphlets England (Crater, 17),  Çekoslovakyalılaştıramadıklarımızdanmısınız or Long Words (Hafan/Boiled String, 2016) and Then Spree (Salt, 2012).  She has been editor of the international quarterly magazine Poetry Wales since 2014. Her poems and essays have been published and translated widely and she has appeared at several international festivals.

Mari Ellis Dunning

Mari Ellis Dunning writes poetry and fiction. Her debut children’s book was launched at the Abergavenny Writing Festival in 2016. Her debut poetry collection, Salacia, launched with Parthian books in August 2018. The coast is hugely important to both her wellbeing and writing.

Event 2: Peter Finch ‘Real Cardiff’ 

Peter Finch 

Peter Finch is a poet, author and critic who lives in Cardiff.  He is author of the hugely popular Real Cardiff  books, published by Seren and series editor for the ‘Real’ series. The latest in the series, Real Cardiff; The Flourishing City, was published in May 2018. 

Peter is a former publisher, bookseller and Chief Executive of the Welsh Academy (now Literature Wales), the Welsh Literature Promotion Agency and Society of Writers and recipient of the Ted Slade Award for Service to Poetry 2011.

Event 3: Robert Minhinnick and Menna Elfyn – Traitor Translator?

Robert Minhinnick

Robert Minhinnick is the prize-winning author of four volumes of essays, more than a dozen volumes of poetry, and three works of fiction. He has also edited a book on the environment in Wales, written for television, and provided columns for The Western Mail and Planet. He is the co-founder of the environmental organisation Sustainable Wales, and was formerly the editor of Poetry Wales. His debut novel Sea Holly (2007) was shortlisted for the 2008 Ondaatje Prize. Robert’s second novel Limestone Man (2015) is a gripping story of a man who tries to connect past and present yet is haunted by dreams of Australia and his youth.

“My translation is not slavishly rendering into another language, it’s trying to make a valid piece of art. Too much translation is bureaucratic copying. I treat the poems like mirrors. Smash the originals and try to put them back together. Of course I can’t. A broken mirror reflects light differently.  That’s why I find translation exciting.” – Robert Minhinnick.

Menna Elfyn 

Menna Elfyn is an award winning poet and playwright. She has published fourteen collections of poetry, children’s novels, libretti for UK and US composers as well as plays for television and radio. Murmur (Bloodaxe, 2012) was selected as a Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation. Her work has been translated into eighteen languages and her latest collection Bondo (Bloodaxe) was published in 2017. Her biography of the Welsh poet Eluned Phillips was published by Gomer and the English translation Absolute Optimist appeared from Honno in 2018. Cennad (Barddas) a literary memoir was published in March 2018. She is Professor of Poetry, President of Wales PEN Cymru and  has been a columnist with the national newspaper of Wales since 1994.

“Literature travels and through translation, Welsh writing can be heard and appreciated in languages other than English which is perhaps the most common language of translation. “ – Menna Elfyn 

Event 4: Imagistic: Blurring the Lines 

Philip Gross

Philip Gross has published twenty collections of poetry, including A Bright Acoustic (2017). The Water Table won the T.S.Eliot Prize 2009. He is a keen collaborator – e.g. with artist Valerie Coffin Price on A Fold In The River (Seren, 2015) and Lesley Saunders on A Part of The Main (Mulfran, 2018).

Carole Burns 

Carole Burns’s story collection, The Missing Woman, won the 2015 John C. Zacharis Award from Ploughshares. A freelancer for Washington Post, she also edited Off the Page: Writers Talk About Beginnings, Endings, and Everything in Between, published by Norton.  She is head of creative writing at the University of Southampton.

Paul Edwards 

Paul Edwards was born in Swansea and graduated from the Slade Schools. He works out of his studio in Cardiff and co-curates the collaborative project ‘Imagistic’ He has undertaken many Residencies; in the UK, Ireland, Germany and most recently America. His work has been exhibited in the UK, and abroad.

Barbara Verhoeven

Born in a small town north of Düsseldorf, Barbara Verhoeven graduated from university to teach art and social science and then earned an MA from the Academy of Arts.
She has undertaken residencies in the UK, Norway, Denmark and Poland and received various scholarships.
She has exhibited widely and has works in public and private collections.

Tig Sutton 

Tig Sutton has exhibited widely throughout Britain including shows at the Royal Academy London and the Whitworth Gallery Manchester among many others,  with works in public and private collections in Europe, the USA, Japan, Morocco, and the UK. Born in Chatham, England, he studied Fine Art at the Royal College of Art.  

Elizabeth Parker 

Elizabeth Parker grew up in the Forest of Dean and went to school in Wales. She has been published in various journals, including Magma and The Interpreter’s House. She was a prizewinner in the 2016 Troubadour Poetry Prize. Elizabeth’s first collection, In Her Shambles, was published by Seren this April.

Event 5: ‘Generations’ Afternoon Tea 

Jonathan Edwards 

Jonathan Edwards was born and brought up in Crosskeys, south Wales. He has an MA in Writing from the University of Warwick, has written speeches for the Welsh Assembly Government and journalism for The Big Issue Cymru, and currently works as an English teacher. He won the Terry Hetherington Award in 2010, was awarded a Literature Wales new writer’s bursary in 2011, and in 2012 won prizes in the Cardiff International Poetry Competition and the Basil Bunting Award. His work has appeared in a wide range of magazines, including Poetry ReviewThe North, Poetry Wales, and New Welsh Review. His poetry collection, My Family and Other Superheroes, was published in 2014 and was the winner of that year’s Costa Poetry Award. 

Christopher Meredith 

Christopher Meredith is the award-winning author of four novels and three collections of poetry and also translates Welsh to English. Prizes include an Eric Gregory Award, the Arts Council of Wales Young Writer Prize and the Fiction Prize for his first novel, Shifts. His second novel, Griffri, was shortlisted for the Book of the Year Award.  His collection of poems, The Meaning of Flight, was long-listed for The Book of the Year Award 2006. His most recent novel is The Book of Idiots (2012).

Born and brought up in Tredegar, he was a steelworker and a schoolteacher before becoming a professor of creative writing at the University of Glamorgan. His latest poetry collection Air Histories, was published in June 2013, and has since written a collection of six short fictions, titled Brief Lives, which was released in June 2018.

Christopher Horner 

London born violinist Christopher Horner is based in Cardiff. He has performed throughout the UK, Europe, South Africa and more recently, India. He has recorded a CD of music by the Lithuanian composer, Juozas Gruodis for the Discovery label with pianist John Lenehan. His violin is a copy of the 1744 “Ole Bull” Guarnerius del Gesù by the Barcelona luthier David Bagué i Soler. 

Event 6: How ‘BAME’ are you?

Amiina Mohamoud

Amiina Mohamoudis a 19 year old poet. She is currently studying politics at Cardiff University and her interest in politics inspires much of her work. She aims to provide a different perspective and open a dialogue through poetry.  

Dr. Adeola Dewis

In her own words- I am an artist. I am interested in carnival, masquerade and ritual and the ways in which we perform fragments – our expressions of diaspora, identity and belonging – through the creation of sacred spaces and the re-imagining of multiple self-articulations.

Eädyth Crawford

Eädyth is a bilingual musician and singer from Merthyr, South Wales. 

Hanan Issa

Hanan is a mixed-race writer and poet from Wales. She has performed at numerous events across the UK, as well as on BBC Radio Wales’ Arts Show. Her work has been published in Banat Collective, Sukoonmag, Hedgehog Press, sister-hood magazine and Her winning monologue was featured at the Bush Theatre’s Hijabi Monologues project in 2017. She is the co-founder of Wales’ first BAME open mic series entitled ‘Where I’m Coming From’. She is a Hay Festival Writer at Work and her debut poetry pamphlet will be published by BurningEyeBooks in October 2019. 

Jafar Iqbal 

Jafar Iqbalis a multidisciplinary writer and theatre critic, with over a decade of experience working in different facets of the arts world. He is an Associate Editor for Wales Arts Review and has had his critical writing published in The Stage and WhatsOnStage, amongst others. He has had short plays produced by Dirty Protest, and has performed short prose and poetry at various public events. He is also an arts marketer, a workshop practitioner and a member of the Pegasus Theatre Artistic Committee.

Umulkhayr Mohamed 

Umulkhayr Mohamed is a first-generation British Somali. Through her work she is interested in creating space for herself and others to challenge the ‘faux’ neutral presentation of narratives that support the narrow societal view of normality, by presenting ‘othered’ communities’ stories in a non-provocative manner. Although she is drawn to exploring significant and sensitive issues through her work, she is committed to doing so in a way that also allows for lightness, as a means of drawing attention to the context within the topics/themes of her work exist.

Rabab Ghazoul

Rabab Ghazoul is a socially-engaged artist working with video, text, performance, sound and public realm encounter to create art works that question our relationship to power and constructions of the political. She is also Founder/Co-Director of Gentle/Radical, a grassroots arts organisation dedicated to culture, community and social change. As a visual artist Rabab has exhibited her work internationally, was selected to exhibit at the Iraqi Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale, and is currently working with Gentle/Radical on a cultural exchange programme exploring adultism with young people in Cardiff, Mosul and East Jerusalem respectively, and asking what a landscape of cultural reparation looks like. She believes in the power of small nations, and the potential of nations such as Wales to model at the cutting edge of equitable futures.

Sunday 10 February 2019 

Event 1: Debbie Taylor: Stepping onto the Publishing Ladder 

Debbie Taylor 

Debbie Taylor is a novelist, journalist and writing tutor. She is also the founder and Editor of Mslexia, the magazine for women writers. She has written for Oxfam, UNICEF, Anti-Slavery, WHO and others about women and social issues. Her many books include My Children, My Gold (Virago), a travelogue about single mothers, and The Fourth Queen (Penguin), a novel set in a harem in 18th Century Morocco. Her fourth novel, Herring Girl (Oneworld), a paranormal historical murder mystery, is out now.

Event 2: Lunch with Mslexia Magazine: Poetry Pamphlet prizewinners 

Polly Atkin 

Polly Atkin lives in Cumbria. Her first full poetry collection Basic Nest Architecture (Seren: 2017) is followed by a third pamphlet, With Invisible Rain (New Walk Press: 2018), which draws on Dorothy Wordsworth’s late journals to find a way to articulate pain. Her first pamphlet bone song (Aussteiger, 2008) was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Pamphlet Award, 2009, and second, Shadow Dispatches (Seren, 2013), won the Mslexia Pamphlet Prize, 2012. She has taught English and Creative Writing at Lancaster University, and the Universities of Strathclyde and Cumbria. She is a Penguin Random House WriteNow mentee for a non-fiction book reflecting on place, belonging, and chronic illness.

Mara Bergman

 Mara Bergman’s collection The Tailor’s Three Sons and Other New York Poems won the 2014 Mslexia Poetry Pamphlet Competition and was published in 2015. The following year, Crossing Into Tamil Nadu won a Templar Quarterly Portfolio Pamphlet Award and in 2018 her first full collection, The Disappearing Room, was published by Arc. A winner of the recent inaugural Laureate’s prize and highly commended in the Gingko Prize, Mara is also an award-winning writer for young children. 

Cath Drake 

Cath Drake has been published in anthologies and literary magazines in UK, Australia, and US. Sleeping with Rivers won the 2013 UK Mslexia/Seren poetry pamphlet prize and was the Poetry Book Society summer choice 2014. She has been short-listed for the 2012 Venture Poetry Prize and the 2015 Manchester Poetry Prize, and second in the 2017 Resurgence Poetry School Prize. Cath is writer in residence at The Katharine Susannah Prichard Writer’s Centre in Australia, and featured at Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Bali in 2018. A poetry collection with Seren Books is forthcoming in 2020. She is also a copywriter and non-fiction writer and her work includes award-winning journalism. Cath is also a mindfulness teacher.

Bryony Littlefair 

Bryony Littlefair works for a community centre in Kilburn and for literature charity The Reader. Her poetry has appeared in various magazines and her pamphlet Giraffe won the MslexiaPoetry Pamphlet prize and was published by Seren in 2017. In 2018 she was shortlisted for the Rebecca Swift Foundation Women Poets’ Prize. 

Ilse Pedler 

Ilse Pedler has had poems published previously in many magazines including Poetry News, The Compass, Artemis and Stand. She was shortlisted in The Rialto Nature Poetry competition in 2014 and 2015 and in the Bridport prize 2016 and commended in the Hippocrates 2017. She is the winner of the 2015 Mslexia Pamphlet Competition. Her pamphlet, The Dogs That Chase Bicycle Wheels was published by Seren in March 2016. She was long listed in the National Poetry Competition in 2018 and is the poet in residence at Sidmouth Folk Festival. She lives and works as a Veterinary Surgeon in Saffron Walden and is currently working towards a first collection. 

Yvonne Reddick

Yvonne Reddickis the author of  Translating Mountains, which won the Mslexia Women’s Pamphlet Competition. She has received a Northern Writer’s Award, the Poetry Society’s Peggy Poole Award and a commendation in the 2018 National Poetry Competition. She lectures in English Literature and Creative Writing, and is on the board of Magma magazine.

Latest monograph – Ted Hughes: Environmentalist and Ecopoet

Rhian Edwards 

Rhian Edwardsis a poet and musician and has delivered over 400 stage, radio and festival performances world-wide. Rhian is a multi-award winning poet. Her first collection, Clueless Dogs(Seren) won Wales Book of the Year in three categories: The Roland Mathias Prize for Poetry, People’s choice and also the overall prize. It was also shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Her pamphlet, Parade the Fib (Tall-Lighthouse), was awarded the Poetry Book Society Choice for autumn 2008. A further pamphlet, Brood (Seren) appeared in 2017. Rhian has also won both the judges and the audience prize in the John Tripp Spoken Poetry Awards. Her poems have appeared in the Guardian, Times Literary Supplement, Poetry Review, New Statesman, Spectator, Poetry London, Poetry Wales, Arete, Prague Revue, the London Magazine, Stand, Planet Magazine, the New Welsh Review and the Lampeter Review. She lives in South Wales with her daughter Megan.