Mapping Welsh Writing in English and ‘Devolved Voices’

Snow dominated the landscape for the Annual Conference of the Association of Welsh Writing English at Gregynog last weekend, entitled Literary Topographies: Mapping Welsh Writing in English. Never having attended before, I found myself approaching the conference with a sense of eager anticipation; the weekend did not
disappoint. Rich and exciting keynote papers from Damian Walford Davies, Robert Clark and Tristan Hughes punctuated what proved to be a series of lively and fascinating panel sessions. M. Wynn Thomas and Tony Brown delivered a warm reflection on the life and poetry of R. S. Thomas in a special centenary panel, while Friday night’s book launch and the conference bookshop offered a dazzling array of monographs and edited collections.

A personal highlight came during Saturday night’s Research Poster Session. My own thesis traces the impact of devolution on Anglophone Welsh writing, so I have been following the progress of Aberystwyth based research
project Devolved Voices with much interest over the past few months. The project centres on research into Welsh poetry in English since 1997 and has received substantial funding from the Leverhulme Trust. The project,
which will run until 2015, now has a website which was officially launched during the conference and contains a wealth of material relating to the research currently being undertaking.

Led by Professor Peter Barry, Devolved Voices is run by a team of experts and researchers in the field of
Anglophone Welsh writing, including Dr. Matthew Jarvis, poet, critic and editor Kathryn Gray and PhD student Bronwen Williams. It is certainly a fascinating topic and one which I would encourage everyone to follow closely as it unfolds over the course of the next two years. Over the weekend Kathryn Gray found time to speak to a number of
researchers interested in the project and has produced a video of the results, in which I am delighted to feature alongside Professor Damian Walford Davies, Professor M. Wynn Thomas and Dr. Neal Alexander. You can watch the full video below and visit the Devolved Voices website for further information about the project.

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