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Roaring Twenties: Creative Writing successes

23 June 2022

Incredible year of recognition for Creative Writing students and alumni

Creative Writing undergraduate and postgraduate students and recent graduates have achieved an impressive range of literary output, with numerous awards through the past twelve months.

2021 to 2022 has seen multiple awards, commissions, publications and firsts for Cardiff-trained creatives, from awards with Arts Council of Wales, Literature Wales and Natural Resources Wales to debut novels, world-first poems and internationally recognised short stories.

Final year undergraduates Bethan Handley (Creative Writing) and Megan Angharad Hunter (Philosophy and Welsh) and graduates Taylor Edmonds and Nasia Sawar (MA Creative Writing, 2020) scooped two of the four creative writing awards in Literature Wales and Natural Resources Wales latest Writer Commissions programme.

In The Long View Taylor and Nasia will engage women of colour to combine visiting nature spaces in the Cardiff area with creative writing workshop activities and storytelling to create a sense of belonging and claim space in their environment.

Meanwhile, Beth and Megan will work on Write Back/Grym Geiriau offering a two-day trilingual (Welsh, English and BSL) retreat where young people who identify as Disabled/Deaf/chronically ill will come together to explore their experiences and relationships with nature at Tŷ Newydd.

Individually, multi-talented Bethan has been selected as one of twelve creatives in Wales selected to work on A Story From Our Future as part of GALWAD while Megan won the 2021 Welsh-language Wales Book of the Year and Eisteddfod Urdd crown with her debut novel, Tu Ol I’r Awyr.

In further partnerships,editors of Lucent Dreaming Jannat Ahmed (MA English Literature, 2017) and Samiha Meah (BA English Literature and Creative Writing finalist) have become the first full-time editors of colour at a Welsh publishers, gaining Books Council of Wales funding to develop the platform for new and emerging voices from all backgrounds.

Founded in 2017 by alumni Jannat Ahmed, Jess Beynon and Joachim Buur, the Cardiff-based company launched the first edition of its creative writing magazine for new and emerging authors in April 2018, and has since published ten issues. Their latest landmark is the publication of the first book for Lucent Dreaming, Maps and Rooms: Writings from Wales.

Among recent graduate career highlights this year are appointments on two significant platforms. Taylor Edmonds (MA Creative Writing 2020) has become Future Generations Wales Poet in Residence, with commissions including When I Speak of Bravery, marking Wales’ first female public statue, while Laura Horton (BA English Literature, 2006) became Plymouth Laureate of Words in October 2021: the first playwright and woman to hold that role.

Creative Writing postgraduates are also making their mark at home and abroad.

Durre Shahwar (Creative Writing, PhD) has become one of eight creatives in the first Future Wales Fellowship, created in a partnership between the Arts Council of Wales and Natural Resources Wales.

PhD student Fayssal Bensalah has scooped the first ever Toyin Falola Prize for African writing at the prestigious Ake Arts and Book Festival in Nigeria and six Creative Writing postgraduates entertained audiences with their new company ShareUrScribble at Abergavenny Writing Festival with an open mic session.

Ahead of their graduation this month Sophie Buchaillard (Creative Writing PhD student, MA Creative Writing 2020) publishes her first novel This Is Not Who We Are and Samuel Sargeant (Creative Writing PhD 2022, MA 2018) has signed with Neem Tree Press to publish his debut novel - the creative portion of his PhD.

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