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Urdd Eisteddfod win crowns “surreal” year for student author

25 October 2021

Female student wearing Urdd Crown

A Welsh and Philosophy student from Cardiff University has won the Urdd Eisteddfod Crown 2020-21, after an 18-month wait.

The Urdd crown is awarded for the best piece, or pieces of literature over 4,000 words.

Author Megan Angharad Hunter from Penygroes, Gwynedd made her submission in 2020 before the national youth festival was postponed due to Covid-19.

As well as announcing Megan’s win, the Urdd Eisteddfod will reveal the winners of the Drama and Composer Medals across a week of celebrations on the Urdd’s digital platforms, on the Welsh-language daily magazine programme Heno and on BBC Radio Cymru.

Megan’s success at the Urdd follows her 2021 Welsh-language Wales Book of the Year Award for debut novel, tu ôl i’r awyr.

“This past year has been absolutely surreal,” said Megan, who is now in her third year of studying Welsh and Philosophy at Cardiff University.

“From publishing tu ôl i’r awyr in November of 2020, winning the Wales Book of the Year Award with that novel, and now being crowned by the Urdd! This whole experience just makes me so grateful for all the support I’ve received – we’re so lucky here in Wales to have these opportunities to experiment and develop our skills as writers.”

Megan Angharad Hunter Welsh and Philosophy student

Judges and authors Siân Northey and Casia Wiliam said there was “little doubt” between them that Megan, who competed under the pen-name Lina, would capture the Crown.

They said: “It is such a relief when there is little doubt from both judges as to who is the winner. Lina’s work is an ambitious piece that takes us well into the future, and the author has a mastery over language that enables them to use an academic style for one piece and letters written by a child for the rest. The characters will stay in our memories for a long time. Congratulations to Lina, who fully deserves the Urdd Crown.”

Urdd Crown 2021-22 on mannequin head

Megan receives a Crown designed and created by sculptor Mared Davies, who decided to interpret the pandemic within her design.

She said said: “How to convey the interruption of Covid-19 in a crown? By doing what I do best, which is to combine the soft, colourful materials with hard, darker materials – textiles with metals. Even though the crown explores a hard time in our lives, visually, it is appealing to the eye through the play of spirals, texture, colour...”

“A crown is not something we wear every day, so it was very important to me to create a more sculptural crown with the use of the head armature. I also could not resist creating a mask on the armature because the mask has become one of the most important things in our lives that enables our new ‘normality’.”

Mared Davies Sculptor

The winners and runners up of the Eisteddfod Crown, Chair and Drama Medal will be awarded free places on a course at Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre under the tutelage of a professional author or poet.

For the very first time, the Urdd Eisteddfod will be publishing a collection of the prize-winning literature, titled ‘Deffro’. Curated by two past winners: creative editor Brennig Davies and illustrator Efa Lois and with support from the Books Council of Wales, print and digital copies will be available to buy from Friday 22 October 2021.

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