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The School’s Eisteddfod Successes


There can’t be many couples who have, between them, won the National Eisteddfod Chair, Crown and Prose Medal. But that’s the claim Cardiff husband and wife T James Jones and Manon Rhys can now make.

T James (or ‘Jim’) Jones, an Associate Lecturer at the School of Welsh, made Eisteddfod history four years ago when he added the Bardic Chair to the two Bardic Crowns he won in 1986 and1988.

Now his wife Manon, a former lecturer at the School,, has added to the family trophy collection by winning the Prose Medal at this year’s Eisteddfod in Wrexham. Just to keep it in the family, Jim, the present Archdruid of Wales, presented her with the Medal.

School of Welsh graduate Rhys Iorwerth followed in Jim’s footsteps as this year’s winner of the Bardic Chair. Rhys Iorwerth won the Chair for his series of nine poems telling a modern urban love story, written in the strict cynghanedd metre form. The series traces the story from its beginnings, through separation, to a possible rekindling. Rhys, who has a BA and an MA from the School of Welsh and now works in the National Assembly’s Research Service, was praised by the judges for "his emotional subtlety, conveyed in brilliant instinctive cynghanedd which crackles and lights up the sky like fireworks."

Other Cardiff successes included Llŷr Gwyn Lewis, a Cardiff graduate now studying for a PhD in Cardiff’s School of Welsh and the School of English, Communication and Philosophy, who won the Emyr Feddyg Scholarship awarded to an author whose work has not been published hitherto: the £1,000 scholarship will pay for tutoring to help Llŷr complete his first novel.. Llŷr also won the first prize for a poem in vers libre.

The Aberhafren team won the final round of Talwrn y Beirdd, the poetry competition broadcast on Radio Cymru. The team includes Llion Pryderi Roberts, the Creative Writing tutor at the School of Welsh, and Ifan Pleming and Rhys Iorwerth, both former students of the School. The final round against the Taeogion team (which includes Emyr Davies, Ceri Wyn Jones and Tudur Dylan Jones) was recorded in the Literary Pavilion. It was an exciting and close fought competition with Aberhafren winning by half a mark!   

The 2011 Learner of the Year Prize went to Kay Holder, a student at the School of Welsh’s Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Welsh for Adults Centre. Originally from Penarth, Kay now lives in Dinas Powys. Her interest in Welsh language and culture was sparked at the 2008 Eisteddfod, held in Cardiff.

Professor Sioned Davies, Head of the School of Welsh, said: "We are all delighted with the School’s success at this year’s Eisteddfod. Creative writing, taught at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, is an acknowledged strength within the School, while the Learner of the Year Award reflects the excellent work being undertaken by our Welsh for Adults Centre. We have certainly set the bar high for next year’s National Eisteddfod which will be held locally, in the Vale of Glamorgan."