Gŵyl Lyfrau Morlan Book Festival
11-12 November 2011
During the early part of 2011, Morlan got together with Aberystwyth Reading Circle, to organise a brand new Welsh-medium Book Festival with the hope that it would develop into an annual event on Morlan’s calendar.
The idea of holding a Book Festival first came up whilst preparing Morlan’s programme for 2011 and beyond. As Aberystwyth is home to the National Library of Wales and the Welsh Books Council as well as having a number of prominent publishers on its doorstep, where better to hold such an event! It was also felt that this would be an interesting addition to the range of activities that Morlan already organises.
Developing partnerships with groups and organisations is also important to Morlan; the Reading Circle had already organised a Book Festival with Morlan back in September 2007 so they were the ideal choice as partners for this new venture.
The Festival started on Friday, 11 November with a social evening with Siân James, a Welsh traditional folk singer and harpist. Siân started her career as a performer with folk band Bwchadanas but is now a renowned solo artist who has performed in festivals and events in many countries. She is also well known for her acting work on S4C and conducts and accompanies a Welsh men's choir called Parti Cut Lloi. Her autobiography was published earlier this year – number 34 in the series Cyfres y Cewri (Gwasg Gwynedd). Siân James discussed her background, her career and her influences with Dafydd Morgan Lewis and also performed several of her songs.
There were three different sessions on the Saturday – something to suit all tastes. In the first session, Mihangel Morgan discussed his work with Kate Crockett. Originally from Aberdare, Mihangel Morgan now lives in Tal-y-bont, Ceredigion and works in the Welsh Department of Aberystwyth University. He was trained as a calligrapher and taught this craft to student in Wales and England before graduating in Welsh at Aberystwyth University. In 1993 he won the Literature Medal at the National Eisteddfod for his novel Dirgel Ddyn, and his volume of poetry Digon o Fwydod reached the long list of the 2006 Book of the Year. He is a scholar, a poet and a prolific writer who has published several books – novels, short stories and poetry; his latest novel Pantglas was published earlier this year.
In the second session, Jane Aaron, who is Professor of English at the University of Glamorgan gave a talk on ‘The Gothic Literature of the Bog ... Sin Eaters and Zombies of Cors Fochno (Borth Bog)’. Jane Aaron is editor of A View Across the Valley: Short Stories from Women in Wales 1850-1950 and others in the Honno Classics series. She has written and edited many publications; amongst her most recent work are two volumes published by the University of Wales Press – Postcolonial Wales (a collection of essays edited jointly with Chris Williams) and Nineteenth-century Women’s Writing in Wales: Nation, Gender and Identity which won her the Roland Mathias Prize in 2009. The session was chaired by John Hefin.
The final session was with Caryl Lewis, from Dihewyd originally. She talked about her writing and her career with Francesca Rhydderch. Caryl Lewis came to prominence as an author with Martha, Jac a Sianco, which won the Wales Book of the Year award in 2005, and has also been translated into English. She has written widely for television, the stage, and for children and young people. Her first novel Iawn, boi? for teenagers won the Tir na n-Og prize in 2004. She has adapted Martha Jac a Sianco for the screen and her most recent novel is Y Gemydd.