11 February 2014
A Cardiff Professor is taking an innovative approach to travel writing by composing a book en route across Latin America.
Professor Richard Gwyn of the School of English, Communication and Philosophy has been awarded a Creative Wales Ambassador Award for the project Unfinished Journey.
Professor Gwyn, winner of the 2012 Wales Book of the Year for creative nonfiction, will research and write an account of travel as a work in progress, challenging the notion that contemporary travel awakens in the traveller a sense of 'travelling without seeing.'
Reports will initially appear as journal entries, posted on a blog written by Richard Gwyn's alter ego, Ricardo Blanco, as they tour Latin America, giving talks and poetry readings and interviewing writers in order to gain a perspective of each country through its own poets; but this will only be a part of the project, as the blog's narrative will also take us through journeys past, as well as across a very personal Latin America of memory and imagination.
Professor Gwyn said: "Having travelled widely in Latin America over the past few years, from Mexico to Chile, from Patagonia to Nicaragua, I have been privileged to meet with poets and writers and to exchange writing and ideas; to translate and be translated; to understand and be understood. This award enables me to continue with this work and take my writing in new directions. It is too easy for us in Wales to forget that we are a part of a much bigger picture: these Arts Council awards go some way to help re-vision the place of Wales in the world."
Unfinished Journey is sponsored by Wales Literature Exchange and the Club de Traductores Literarios de Buenos Aires, Argentina, with supporting partners in Chile, Colombia, and Mexico. It is linked to Professor Gwyn's forthcoming anthology of Latin American poetry, and his role as curator of the Cardiff-based festival of international literature in translation, Fiction Fiesta.
The Creative Wales Ambassadors Awards are made by nomination and recognise significant individual achievement in the arts along with the aim to raise the profile of Welsh culture outside of Wales.