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FFLUR SELECTED FOR ‘Y LABORDY’ SCREENWRITERS’ LAB AND COMMISSIONED TO WRITE FIRST TV DRAMA SERIES

20/09/2014

Earlier this week, it was announced that Fflur has been selected for ‘Y Labordy’ – a new screenwriting scheme in Wales which will see four talented Welsh writers given the opportunity to develop their ideas alongside some of the most respected scriptwriters and producers in the industry. Lisa Albert, the award-winning writer and producer of hit American TV drama Mad Men, and Jeppe Gjervig Gram, writer and co-creator of the Danish political drama series Borgen, are just two of the names contributing to the year-long initiative, which begins with a residential course being held at Ty Newydd in Gwynedd this week.

Fflur Dafydd with Jon Gower, Dafydd James, Bethan Marlow

Fflur Dafydd, Bethan Marlow, Jon Gower and Dafydd James will work with Lisa and Jeppe, as well as BAFTA-winning Welsh film director Kieran Evans (Kelly + Victor), acclaimed script editor and producer Angeli MacFarlane (Very Annie Mary), experienced dramaturg Sarah Dickenson and London Screenwriters’ Festival organiser Lucy V Hay on this week’s course, which is the first stage in the year-long Y Labordy scheme.

The aim of Y Labordy is to support and nurture Wales’ scriptwriting talent through equipping four experienced Welsh language scriptwriters with the skills and knowledge required to pitch effectively to international industry commissioners; and hopefully succeed on a high-end international platform. The initiative is funded by Creative Skillset Cymru, S4C, Arts Council of Wales and Ffilm Cymru Wales through their BFI NET.WORK funding programme, and is being delivered by Literature Wales.

Fflur has also been commissioned to write her first original drama series for S4C, which will go into production in 2015. The series, which goes by the working title Parch., follows a young female vicar through a turbulent time in her life – and is a black comedy with elements of surrealism and fantasy, in the tradition of Six Feet Under and The Big C. It will be produced by Apollo TV, the makers of Con Passionate and Alys, and script edited by BAFTA-winning scriptwriter Siwan Jones.

 

 

 

FFLUR DAFYDD’S FILM TO BE DIRECTED BY EUROS LYN

It has recently been announced that the film version of Fflur Dafydd’s multi award winning novel, Y LLYFRGELL (‘THE LIBRARY’) will be going into production soon as part of Film Agency Wales’s Cinematic project, and will be directed by Broadchurch’s Euros Lyn and scripted by the novelist herself. This twisted tale of revenge sees twin daughters set a trap for their mother’s murderer in the National Library of Wales, and will be filmed on location at the library itself.

Cinematic aims to put the spotlight on Welsh filmmakers. Through the scheme, three feature films, including features from Craig Roberts and Chris Crow, will be put into production over the next 18 months.
Steve Jenkins, from BBC Films, said; “These projects are excitingly diverse in genre and ambition, and have a real Welsh specificity in terms of story setting and, of course, talent. A great combination.”

S4C’s Drama Commissioner, Gwawr Martha Lloyd said: "Announcing these exciting projects brings into sharp focus the tangible benefits of Cinematic - really talented individuals getting an early opportunity to develop their unique ideas. Y Llyfrgell, for instance, shows what wonderful and original creative ideas exist out there and I'm looking forward with great anticipation to seeing how this project develops and how it looks on the big screen. I'm sure Wales' film making industry will reap great benefits from such an exciting and productive scheme.”

The Film Agency for Wales devised and developed Cinematic in partnership with the BFI Film Fund, BBC Films, S4C, Soda Pictures and Creative Skillset to support emerging filmmaking talent from Wales in making contemporary, dynamic and distinctive feature films.

Fflur will also co-produce the film with director Euros Lyn, and they will be announcing a final cast during the National Eisteddfod week in August. They are also planning a rehearsed reading of the script for the Dinefwr Festival 2014.

For more information as the project develops, you can follow their account on Twitter @YLlyfrgell or visit their Facebook Page – Y Llyfrgell.

Euros Lyn

 

 

FFLUR NAMED AS HAY INTERNATIONAL FELLOW 2013-14

Fflur Dafydd is the current International Hay Fellow for the Hay Festival. The Fellowship is a partnership between the Hay Festival and Wales Arts International and ensures that Welsh writers get the opportunity to showcase and promote their work on the international festival circuit. Having already appeared in Hay festivals in Spain, Mexico and Norway, Fflur is now set to appear at Hay Festival Cartagena in January 2014, and Ireland and Hungary at the end of 2014.

Here are Fflur’s blogs as International Fellow:

» THE SILK FESTIVAL IN NORWAY BY FFLUR DAFYDD


»
FFLUR DAFYDD AT HAY FESTIVAL XALAPA, MEXICO


» FFLUR DAFYDD AT HAY FESTIVAL SEGOVIA

 

 

 

Fflur & Beca, Hay Festival 2012

HAY FESTIVAL WALES 2012

Fflur Dafydd on Cerys Matthews and Hay 25

Fflur's Blog • Jun 10, 2012 • 8:52 am

My favourite Hay 2012 moment has to be my daughter waking up in her pram in the Artists’ Restaurant to find Cerys Matthews peering in at her. “Hi, I’m Beca,” she said, totally unfazed by it all, while I – still in awe of my nineties rock icon, mumbled something along the lines of, “Beca, this is Cerys. Do you like her hat?”

The previous night, I’d had the great privilege of opening the show for Cerys at the Soundcastle, to a sell-out audience, who all listened attentively to my music as they waited for the great lady to come on stage. On Tuesday, I’d had a wonderful session on creative bilingualism in Wales alongside Prof. Wynn Thomas in the Moot, a chance to promote my Welsh language fiction, and the grand finale was being able to launch my recent English language novel, The White Trail, alongside the wonderful Horatio Clare (and his even more wonderful bow tie), at The Digital Stage. It struck me that only in the Hay Festival would you be able to have such diverse experiences as an artist and still have a new, interested gathering of people at each event. Other highlights included seeing the 2012 Scritture Giovani participants reading their work – a reminder of the Hay new writers’ project that started everything for me as a writer, back in 2005.

This was my first Hay with toddler-in-tow and bump-in-belly, and yet my busiest festival to date. The wonderful thing about having a toddler with you in the Green Room is that they can go up to your literary heroes and grab their pens and play with their shoes and shove balloons in their faces and are perceived as cute, whereas you would look like a stalker if you attempted the same thing. But cunningly you get an autograph in the process – “oh dear, I’m very sorry about that, by the way, would you mind….?” And the strange advantage of a muddy Hay-field is that it forces everyone into the pregnancy-waddle, so you don’t feel alone in your struggle to affect a bohemian walk…

[http://blog.hayfestival.org/index.php/2012/06/1626/]

 

LIVE INTERVIEW: TUESDAY 05 JUNE 2012

#1 Are there certain things you can write more about more easily in English or Welsh. I imagine each to be more conducive to a particular style or subject matter…?

In some ways, it’s easier to write about the Welsh language and Welsh identity in English, because the subject matter seems new and fresh in English, and presents a creative and linguistic challenge. It is equally exciting to write about strange or ‘foreign’ experiences in Welsh, as I did in my last collection of short stories in Welsh, Awr y Locustiaid (Hour of the Locust) which featured stories set in Italy, Finland, and unnamed territories. I think that I try to use both languages in a way that finds something new or different within them.

#2 What does being an international Hay fellow mean?

It will mean visiting the other international Hay festivals across the world and presenting my work to new audiences – I’m very much looking forward to the challenge in 2013-14 and grateful to the Hay festival for the opportunity. Current International Hay Fellows are Jon Gower and Tiffany Murray, who have done a fantastic job – they are a tough act to follow! I will be accompanied by Owen Sheers, who happens to be a good friend and also someone I have collaborated with a great deal, so hopefully we can also put on some shows together as we travel.

#3 What are you first… musician or writer?

I am first and foremost a writer, but feel lucky that music has become such a big part of my life. I don’t think I’d be a performer unless I wrote my own material – as it is all about communicating that work to the audience – so I guess that creativity and writing is always the source of everything I do.

#4 Had your mother not been Menna Elfyn, and had she been ‘Mrs Jones’ from number 32 who owns the fruit and veg stall, and had you been brought up in an English speaking council estate in Wales, would you have chosen the same career? And if so, do you think you would have enjoyed the same degree of success?

Interesting question! I guess it is all part of the nature/nurture debate. Well, my brother works in PR and business so I guess it is possible to be the offspring of Menna Elfyn and do something sensible with your life! But I guess that writing is in the genes to some degree – for one thing, I grew up thinking that being a writer was a pretty ‘normal’ thing to do, and therefore never questioned my passion for it. In terms of how it has contributed to my success – I would like to think that I’ve worked hard on my career without relying in any way on my mother! I don’t write poetry, and am very much a fiction writer, so we are very different. We don’t share the same name, either, which is a blessing, as a lot of people don’t know we’re related. Now they do…thanks for that!

#5 Do you respond well to criticism of your work, or do you take things personally?

I am much better at reading reviews than I used to be. At first I took everything personally. Now that I’ve matured more as a writer, I have learnt how to take good things away from bad reviews, especially if they are well written and constructive. I don’t dwell on things, and occasionally I’ve been inspired to write more, and write better novels, through listening carefully to criticisms from readers and reviewers.

#6 Do you feel that literary texts lose some of their original meaning in translation, and would you be comfortable with another person translating your work on your behalf or would you want to maintain control of it?

Translators on the whole do a fantastic job, and when I’ve been translated into other languages that I don’t speak – German or Italian for instance – I put my absolute faith in the translators to ease the meaning across, even if it means appropriating the meaning somewhat. I think because I can write in English I’m reluctant to let myself be translated by someone else in English, as I may want to take even more liberties with the text than a translator would. I am currently rewriting my last Welsh novel in English, and I’ve taken the liberty of changing cast, which a translator would never be allowed to do…but I cannot offend myself, so I feel completely free doing it.

#7 To what extent would you categorise your work as autobiographical?

I think in some way, all work is informed by your own feelings, passions, & experiences, so there is an element of autobiography in everything you write. But my second novel, Atyniad, was perhaps a little too autobiographical, as I was trying to find a style to access very personal feelings, and I don’t think I would ever write another novel as personal as that again. As I get older I feel I become less self-centered – so maybe there is a natural movement away from myself as subject. My songs, however , have moved in the other direction, as I’ve just launched an album which is very personal, based on people who have influenced me.

#8 Do you perceive of yourself as belonging specifically to the literary tradition of Wales, or do you see yourself more as an international literary figure with a global outlook and multiple inspirations?

I would like to think I’m outward-looking, and feel that to be Welsh is to belong to a larger world-tradition of peripheral voices. But as there is no escaping my identity and background, Wales is very much where I’m rooted and where I will continue to draw inspiration from – but I feel it’s very important to link our culture to other cultures that have similar experiences of marginalisation and ‘difference’.

#9 To what extent do you feel that your writing is inspired by place and location, and especially by the Welsh landscape?

I think that the experience of being on Bardsey Island as a writer-in-residence really inspired me as a writer, and made me look at the whole of Wales differently. Since then, I’ve gone on to use the landscape of Wales in my writing in a variety of ways, and also to try to depict iconic places in Wales as new and exciting places – such as the National Library of Wales. It struck me that the landscape is full of possibility and again would be unique to an ‘outside’ audience..

#10 Do you feel that the stories of the Mabinogion have had, and continue to have, an effect on writing in Wales? Can you sense the influence of these mythological tales in your own writing?

I’m afraid my answers will get shorter now as my event is about to start! Yes, absolutely, there is a tradition of surrealist storytelling in Wales, especially in Welsh, which could be attributed to the Mabinogion. When I rewrote Culhwch and Olwen as The White Trail I was yet again struck by how unique some of our tales are.

#11 Mumford & Sons have shot into the mainstream spotlight, along with a lot of rising folk talent, including yourself – do you think there’s been a folk revival?

I think that people have been living simpler lives recently, and the old tradition of folk music, and the more direct message of the folk song has struck a chord with audiences all across the world.

#12 You have enjoyed great success as both a singer and a writer. Do people ever think that you are two separate people, and know your work in each field independently, or is there a lot of cross-over with your fans?

A lot of people do think there are two of me – one who sings, one who writes…all I can say is, I wish there were two of me! One could stay at home and look after the baby and the other could go out and entertain – life would be so much simpler. But in general there is a lot of cross-over, and the event I’m about to take part in involves music and literature, and I think people like to have a bit of both in events these days.

#13 What other Welsh artists are you inspired by?

Mihangel Morgan, Lleuwen Steffan, Steve Eaves, Jon Gower, Chris Meredith, Stevie Davies.

#14 If you could ask yourself any one question about your work, what would it be??

Why didn’t I choose a more sensible career? I all seriousness I ask myself questions about the content of my books and characters all the time…I keep a book of questions so I can address some problems I think the work may have – and I try to question myself as a writer with the mentality of a reader so I can find the gaps and the things that won’t ring true. I think that if you are an author, you are endlessly questioning yourself…the only time you need to worry is when you stop doing it!

Thanks for all your questions – I have to dash off to my event now, but thanks for giving me a head start!!


[http://hayfestival.dilmot.com/fflur-dafydd-05-06-2012/]

 

 

 

(click on the poster above to enlarge)

Fflur's New Album: Ffydd Gobaith Cariad

LABEL: RASAL
RELEASE DATE: 04/06/2012

Following her success in 2010, when she was named BBC Radio Cymru Female Artist of the Year, Fflur Dafydd is back, with a brand new sound. “Faith Hope Love,” is the fourth album from the Carmarthen-based singer-songwriter, and is a folk-inspired, melodic album, influenced by the likes of John Martyn, James Taylor, and Nanci Griffith, and is described as a “musical family tree,” which pays tribute to many influential people in the singer’s life.

The songs include moving songs written in memory of her grandparents, as well as tributes to more well-known figures such as Ray Gravell, the rugby player and broadcaster, who was a great influence on Fflur. There are several instances of songs written for special occasions, such as Fflur’s unique take on the reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. She has also collaborated with the poet Owen Sheers, turning one of his poems into a powerful ballad.

And for the first time, Fflur has provided parallel texts in English for the listener to follow in the booklet. These translations also stand as songs in their own right, which is perhaps no surprise considering Fflur Dafydd has been awarded many literary prizes for her novels, including the Prose Medal for Literature and the Oxfam Hay Emerging Writer of the Year Prize in 2009.

“I think it’s very important to give people a second take on the song in translation,” Dafydd explains. “I’ve done the same thing with my novels to some extent, rewriting a Welsh-language novel in English with a different audience in mind, and I find that different languages bring out a different quality, or even a different theme in a piece of work, which make the versions very interesting to compare, and of course give you double the options when it comes to performing live.”

Despite being pregnant with her second child, Dafydd is busier than ever, and will be launching “Faith Hope Love” at the Hay Festival, in a special gig with Cerys Matthews at the Hay Castle on June 7th, as well as performing in two other events at Hay as a novelist.

Tracklisting:
1) Rhoces 2) Ffydd Gobaith Cariad 3) Ray o’r Mynydd 4) Y ferch sy’n licio’r gaeaf
5) Martha Llwyd 6) Frank a Moira 7) Y Porffor Hwn 8) Brawd Bach 9) Elfyn
10) Rachel Myra.

 

GIGS:

June: 5th – 8th Hay Festival, Hay on Wye / 16th Cricieth Festival
23rd Gwyl yr Hen Dre, Carmarthen / 27th Chepstow Festival / 29th GwdiHw, Cardiff

July: 7th Theatr Soar, Merthyr Tydfil / 14th Hanner Cant Festival

August: 8th National Eisteddfod

 

 

 

click above for more
information on 'The White Trail'

 

LATEST NEWS / PRESS RELEASE: October 2011


NEW STORIES FROM THE MABINOGION
THE WHITE TRAIL by Fflur Dafydd


Seren’s NEW STORIES FROM THE MABIONGION series launched to great acclaim in 2009, with the joint publications of Owen Sheers's White Ravens and Russell Celyn Jones's The Ninth Wave. 2010 saw the release of the next two novels in the series: The Meat Tree by Gwyneth Lewis and The Dreams of Max and Ronnie by Niall Griffiths. This year, prominent Welsh writers Fflur Dafydd and Horatio Clare pick up the baton, reworking the medieval Welsh myths with The White Trail and The Prince’s Pen.

The Mabinogion contains eleven stories taken from two 14th century manuscripts collating a much earlier oral tradition. Widely influential in European and World literature, and giving rise to the literary figures of Arthur and Merlin, they were first translated into English in the 19th century by Lady Charlotte Guest. They are magical stories of giants and kings of the underworld, enchantment, conflict, peacetime, fidelity, love and betrayal.

"Seren's series of new stories inspired by the Mabinogion may be the greatest service to the Welsh national epic since Lady Charlotte Guest published her translation of the medieval folk tales in the mid-19th century." The Guardian


When his wife, who is nine months pregnant, seems to vanish into thin air at a supermarket one wintry afternoon, Cilydd asks his cousin, Arthur – a private eye who has never solved a single case – to help him with the investigation.

So begins a tale of intrigue, confusion and a trail that leads them to a pigsty, a cliff edge and a bloody warning that Cilydd must never marry again. Eventually this unlikely hero finds himself on a new and dangerous quest – a hunt for the son he never knew, a meeting with a beautiful and mysterious girl, and a glimpse inside the House of the Missing.

In The White Trail Fflur Dafydd transforms the Arthurian myth of the Mabinogion’s Culhwch and Olwen into a 21st century quest for love and revenge.

Fflur Dafydd is the author of four novels and one short story collection including Y Gwir Am Gelwydd (The Truth About Lies), Lliwiau Liw Nos (Colours by Night), Atyniad (Attraction) and Twenty Thousands Saints. She won the Oxfam Hay Emerging Writer of the Year Award 2009 and is the first female author ever to have won both the Prose Medal and the Daniel Owen Memorial Prize at the National Eisteddfod. She has been a writer-in-residence on Bardsey Island, Wales and in Helsinki.

Fflur has also released three albums as a singer-songwriter and was named BBC Radio Cymru Female Artist of the Year in 2010. She lectures in Creative Writing at Swansea University and lives in Carmarthen with her husband and daughter.

Seren is an independent literary publisher specialising in English writing from Wales driven by quality writing across a wide-ranging list which includes poetry, fiction, translation, biography, art and history. In 2011, Seren was one of four independent publishers to be included on the Man Booker Prize Longlist for The Last Hundred Days by debut author Patrick McGuinness.

 

 

 

NEWS: April 2010


FFLUR DAFYDD WINS INAUGURAL MAX BOYCE PRIZE AND IS NAMED FEMALE ARIST OF THE YEAR IN THE RADIO CYMRU MUSIC AWARDS

Authors Fflur Dafydd and Rachel Trezise were awarded the brand new Max Boyce literary prize at Glynneath library recently. Their books, Dial M for Merthyr and Y Llyfrgell, were selected by readers across Wales from a competitive shortlist of 5 influential books to be published in the last 10 years in Wales.

“It’s a real thrill to receive a prize that is voted for by the readers themselves,” Fflur said. “Over the past two years I’ve travelled to countless book clubs and reading communities in Wales and I always find that it is the readers themselves who are most insightful and honest in their approach to the book, and it is therefore a great honour to receive their approval.”

This is the third prize for Fflur, who was awarded the Daniel Owen Memorial Prize at the National Eisteddfod last year, as well as being named Oxfam Emerging Writer of the Year at the Guardian Hay Festival.

A fortnight later, Fflur received the Female Artist of the Year award at the Radio Cymru Rock and Pop Awards 2010. Her album, Byd Bach, which reached no. 1 in the Welsh charts, was also nominated for album of the year, and its producer, Tim Hamill, was also nominated for best producer.

“It’s a huge honour to receive an award like this,” Fflur said. “Radio Cymru has been so supportive of us as a band for many years, and we’re also greatly indebted to the wonderful audiences who have given us the gigs and kept buying our albums. Byd Bach is an album we are all very proud of – I’m fortunate to work with a great team of musicians and a high-quality producer, and this award is a wonderful highlight in our career as a band.”

 

 

 

(click on the poster above to enlarge)

 

Fflur Dafydd a'r Barf: New Album Out - 16th November, 2009


Fflur Dafydd a'r Barf - Album Launch:

Fflur Dafydd releases her third album, "Byd Bach" (Small World), a concept album full of songs about various locations in Wales, featuring Aberaeron, Penrhiwllan, Cardiff, Porthgain, and the A470.

• Carmarthen Quins Rugby Club
• Friday, 13th November 2009
• 9.00pm
• £5 Entry fee, all proceeds go to Plaid Cymru.

 

Upcoming Gigs:
• November 13 - Carmarthen Quins Rugby Club, Album Launch
• November 20 - Duke of Clarence, Cardiff
• November 21 - Carmarthen Golf Club

 

(Byd Bach - click here to read the press release)

 

PRESS RELEASE: 01/09/09


FFLUR DAFYDD WRITER IN RESIDENCE AT INTERNATIONAL WRITING PROGRAM, IOWA UNIVERSITY

Fflur is currently writer in residence at Iowa University, where she will be researching her next English language novel, The Library, between September 3rd and October 12th, 2009. She is supported by the British Council and will also be taking part in a number of events – see below:

Schedule of Events for Fflur Dafydd
(as of 8/20/2009:)
Public Events in Iowa

• 9/9: Reading at Prairie Lights Books, 7:00 PM
15 South Dubuque Street, Iowa City, IA USA
1-800-295-BOOK; http://www.prairielights.com/

• 9/25: Panel Presentation at the Iowa City Public Library, 12:00 PM
Meeting Room A, 123 South Linn Street, Iowa City, IA USA
(319) 356-5200; http://www.icpl.org/

Panel Topic: “Translation/Writing Between Languages”
Description:
In what ways has translating, or writing across more than one language, been important to your literary thinking and/or to your creative process?

Other panelists: Vicente Groyon (Philippines), Soheil Najm (Iraq), Lijia Zhang (China)
• NB: other events are forthcoming and may include one or more musical performances by Fflur at one of several venues in downtown Iowa City.


Academic Presentations/Classroom Visits in Iowa
(NB: Classroom visits are NOT open to the public)

• 9/21 International Literature Today. Fflur Dafydd will speak for 15-20 minutes to students enrolled in this undergraduate literature course.


Special Seminar in Creative Writing
Fflur Dafydd will teach a special creative writing seminar to undergraduates at the University of Iowa. This four-week course will meet from 2:30-4:30 PM on 9/11, 9/18, 9/25, and 10/2. Students will gather in a seminar room at the Writers’ House at 111 Church Street, a unique campus space dedicated to fostering writing, artistic collaboration, and literary performance at the University of Iowa.


Activities in Portland, Oregon, 10/3-10/9
(Includes public events and classroom visits)

Fflur Dafydd will join four other IWP writers in Portland, Oregon for several days of readings, talks, and other professional programming. Barry Sanders (west-coast-based author, Senior Fulbright Scholar, two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, and English professor) is hosting this series of literary events, in collaboration with colleagues at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland State University, Oregon Council for the Humanities, and other local partners. This will be the first IWP delegation to take part in such a dynamic slate of activities in the city.

The precise programme in Portland is still TBD, but will include some or all of the following activities:

• An opening reception at Pacific Northwest College of Art, a fine arts college located in the city of Portland. http://www.pnca.edu/.

• Visits to classes at PNCA and the opportunity to participate in a group reading in the Commons, a large open art-space in the heart of campus: http://www.pnca.edu/studentlife/facilities/commons.php

• An informal roundtable discussion at Portland State University, sponsored by the creative writing department and the English department on the topic of politics and writing.

Trips to see the countryside of the Pacific Northwest--the Gorge, the falls, the many rivers, etc.

 

 

 

click on one of the above images for more information on 'Y Llyfrgell'

 

click here to view the winning
ceremony on BBC iPlayer

PRESS RELEASE: 04/08/09


FROM BARDSEY NUNS TO ARMED LIBRARIANS - OXFAM HAY EMERGING WRITER OF THE YEAR SCOOPS TOP WELSH FICTION PRIZE


Hot on the heels of her success at the Guardian Hay Festival, where she was named Oxfam Hay Emerging Writer of the Year for her first English novel Twenty Thousand Saints, is yet another prestigious literary prize for Fflur Dafydd. On Tuesday 4 August, Fflur scooped the Daniel Owen Memorial Prize at the National Eisteddfod of Wales for a controversial Welsh-language novel, Y Llyfrgell (The Library.) This is the second Eisteddfod prize for Fflur, who won the coveted Prose Medal in 2006, and this is also her fourth novel. Fflur was presented with a £5000 cash prize and the Daniel Owen Memorial Medal, as well as receiving a special hard-bound copy of her novel.

The novel, set in 2020, takes a satirical look at one of the most iconic Welsh institutions, the National Library of Wales. It follows a group of characters during one dramatic day when two armed, female librarians take the readers hostage in the reading room. This black comedy’s satire targets librarians as well as academics; civil servants, poets, politicians and even porters. The author throws them mercilessly together into a sinister, bizarre, and darkly funny scenario. Its topicality, meanwhile, draws on recent library closures, and it gives an intelligent spin to digitisation and the impending threat of the e-book. Y Llyfrgell presents a world where women have the top jobs, where politicians hold too much sway over what gets published and documented, and it raises important questions about the author’s role in a digitised future.

The judges of the competition, John Rowlands, Geraint Vaughan Jones and Rhiannon Lloyd, were unanimous in their decision and commended the author’s innovation and ingenuity, describing Fflur’s novel as “brimful of humour, unforgettable characters, and an excellent narrative”. The novel marks out a new genre in Welsh-language fiction, which is a playful take on the literary mystery, allying Y Llyfrgell closer to international works such as Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind or Ann Patchett’s political siege novel Bel Canto than anything previously published in Welsh.

Y Llyfrgell was inspired by Fflur’s many visits to the National Library of Wales as a PhD student, back in 2004. She said,

“I was there every day for three months, and found myself dreaming up all sorts of dramatic scenarios! As one of our most important national institutions, the Library holds all our secrets and history, but because of its decorum and its silence, this is the last place one would expect any kind of uprising. That tension interests me as a writer.”

Twenty Thousand Saints, the work which won Fflur the Oxfam Hay Emerging Writer of the Year is set on Bardsey Island amid a temporary community including a lesbian political activist-turned nun, an archaeologist and an ex-convict. It has received fantastic and wide-ranging reviews including in The Guardian, Diva magazine, Western Mail and Prospect magazine, where it was 2008’s pick of the year; the novel is currently in the summer selection of the bookshop promotion Exclusively Independent. Hay Festival director Peter Florence has been a consistent and vocal advocate of Twenty Thousand Saints, describing it as, The most compelling novel I’ve read in years; a love story, a thriller, and a profound meditation on language and identity... [Fflur Dafydd ranks alongside] Sarah Waters, Kate Atkinson and Zoe Heller [in representing] the blossoming and triumphs of a whole new generation of young women writers.”


Fflur Dafydd is a singer songwriter and novelist from Carmarthen, who currently lectures in the English Department at Swansea University. She is a graduate of UEA’s prestigious creative writing course and also has a PhD on the poetry of R.S. Thomas. In September, she will be taking up a 6-week residency at the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program, the US’ most prestigious centre for creative writing, where she will also be writing and researching her next English-language novel.

 

 

Reviews / More:
» 'Y Llyfrgell': National Library of Wales
» 'Y Llyfrgell': Western Mail
» 'Y Llyfrgell': Meirion and District National Eisteddfod, 2009

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: 24/05/09


Fflur Dafydd named as Emerging Writer of the Year at Hay Festival


Author Fflur Dafydd was last night announced as the winner of the Oxfam Emerging Writer of the Year Award at the Guardian Hay Festival. During a special ceremony at the Sky Arts Dinner, Peter Florence, director of the festival, declared that Dafydd’s novel Twenty Thousand Saints, a literary thriller set on Bardsey island, was the best novel he’d read in the past ten years, and that she was one of the most exciting young fiction writers to emerge from Wales. This is Dafydd’s first work of fiction in English, and she was awarded was the Prose Medal at the National Eisteddfod in 2006 for her Welsh language novel Atyniad.

David McCullough, Director of Oxfam said “We are very happy to work in partnership with the Hay Festival this year and congratulate Fflur Dafydd on being the first winner of our Emerging Writer of the Year Award.”

As part of her prize, she was presented with a very rare first edition hardback copy of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, donated by Oxfam’s books product development manager, Graham Draisey.

Fflur also took part in two successful events at the Guardian Hay Festival, reading with Dylan Thomas Prize Winner Nam Le, and the writer and broadcaster Jon Gower.

She will now embark on a reading tour to promote Twenty Thousand Saints, appearing at the Latitude Festival, Suffolk and the Writers’ Reunion in Finland.

Twenty Thousand Saints is published by Alcemi Press.


 

Reviews / More:
» 'Twenty Thousand Saints': Catherine Taylor, The Guardian

» 'Twenty Thousand Saints': Author's Notes, Western Mail
» 'Twenty Thousand Saints': Diva
» 'Twenty Thousand Saints': Western Mail
» 'Twenty Thousand Saints': SwanseaLife