Category Archives: Print

Writer’s Bursary: Highlights so far

I have a fortnight left of my Literature Wales Bursary.  I began it with a strategy. So how have I got on? I will be mentioning pleasure a lot.

Some highlights:
• Working with an editor
• Shaping  a Short Story Collection
• Being read
• Funding the work
• Moving to publication

‘I am nervous/excited but…’ Tag from a previous student, Ty Newydd

Working with an editor
It has been a pleasure to work with Gwen Lloyd Davies, editor of the New Welsh Review. She has looked at 30 stories and responded to them in three main ways:
• Calibre
• Proof-reading and formatting
• Shaping a Collection

I stuck to a timetable for revisions and we made good use of the postal service. I found that Gwen’s astute, brief remarks were enough to let me re-think and re-craft. I liked this business-like approach. I currently have 24 stories, about 50,000 words.

Shaping a Collection
Another pleasure has been standing back from my stories and seeing how they can be ordered with the reader’s pleasure in mind. So, themes and tone have been important and I have enjoyed seeing how Gwen took care over placing stories to offer variety in the reading experience and how some stories were now in, now out, depending on how improvements over various drafts moved stories up or down the quality ladder.

Words flowering: Ty Newydd

At the last minute, when Gwen had already formed a publishing order, I polished up a lot of material that I offered her (don’t know where I got the energy all of a sudden) and, as a result, some established stories were replaced by newer material. Maybe I’m getting into my creative swing!

That sense of a body of work forming, rather than a bag of disparate items, has been fun to experience. The interplay of Wales, Ireland and Italy among the stories has been intriguing to manage.

Gwen has helped me see what it is I have been doing in my writing, concretising what was, for me, instinctive. Her blurb for the collection ends :

With a virtuoso control of tone, in turns elegiac, comic, lyrical and philosophical, this collection explores conflicts between political allegiances; between autonomy and intimacy; emotional display and concealment; resistance versus acceptance. It examines power of all types, not least that which allows us, when necessary, to resist desire itself.

Being Read
The presentation evening for my win at the Bridgend Writers’ Circle Short Story Competition in June introduced me a little more into the serious practice of engaging with writing because the members clearly had so much experience with a sustained practice of regular work.

The adjudicator, novelist Laura Foakes was kind enough to suggest that it can be helpful to have a critical reader for drafts and she offered to read something for me. She has been enormously generous in commenting on several stories and in giving me insights into the business of publication. We all need colleagues in a working life. I’ve been used to tv production which is very much a collaborative enterprise and writing can be more solitary so the support of fellow writers is precious.

The intriguingly named Capel Ruhamah ‘she who gained mercy’ Bridgend

My creative friends,  author Phil Cope and Poet/Solicitor, Julian Cason have been patient readers too.

Competitions, I now realise, also introduce one to readers so I have invested time in entering some.

Funding the Work
I want to write a novel and that will take research and travel. I have applied to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (open till 24th August) for a grant towards that. I also need to make a financial plan to pull in resources from my existing skills.

Moving to Publication
Literature Wales has a Mentoring Scheme for new and emerging writers (open till 16th August) to which I’ve applied because I am still learning the ropes in this field.

Entrance to National writing Centre, Ty Newydd

I did the Tŷ Newydd Writing A Novel course in June and that improved my confidence in the appeal and sales potential  of my work.

In my final two weeks I will begin the search for an agent. I wonder if that will be fun too.

 

1st Prize Bridgend Open Short Story Competition 2017

It is such an encouragement to win this competition. Adjudicator, Laura Foakes said of my story, Acting Abby:

This multi-layered story stayed with me long after each reading, which is always a sign of a job well done. The author conveyed her understanding of the vagaries of the human condition in a profound but unsentimental way. The wistful first-person narration drew me immediately into the story and the “voice” was strong.

I particularly liked the device of using a stage play as a metaphor for the judgements people/audiences make, and the eventual unfolding of the “choice” the narrator made. The author invites us to judge at our peril. This is a very accomplished and thought provoking piece of work.

The competition is run annually by the Bridgend Writers’ Circle  whose members meet monthly at Carnegie House in the town centre. I was struck by their dedication to the craft of writing and realise I have a lot to learn about the network of writers, writers’ groups and competitions in the UK.

The experience of reading my story aloud was valuable because I  experienced it in a new way. It’s something I’ll do more of, during the writing process,  to give myself some useful perspective on the work.

Linda Jones receives second prize: L/R Janine Enos, Competition Co-ordinator; Linda Jones; Laura Foakes, Adjudicator; Alex Marshall, Chairman

I couldn’t have been made more welcome and novelist Laura Foakes has kindly read a story currently in draft and offered me valuable comments.

And, as a bonus, I got to see Bridgend’s War Memorial (I gravitate towards those!). A strikingly sensual Britannia.

Bridgend’s Britannia War Memorial 1921

A Bursary and a Strategy

Angela Graham, a Welsh-speaking TV Producer from Northern Ireland, was awarded a Literature Wales Writers’ Bursary 2017 to complete a collection of short stories. She describes getting to grips with the business side of writing. This blog appeared first on the Literature Wales website http://www.literaturewales.org/lw-blog/bursary-strategy-angela-graham/

Even before I knew I’d been awarded a Literature Wales Bursary I’d decided I would commit to writing as soon as a major work project finished on the 29th April. When the Bursaries were announced on the 30th I’d already booked myself a fortnight of relative solitude in Strangford, Northern Ireland. The encouragement of the Bursary was a real boost for this period.

The ferry at Strangford

Continue reading A Bursary and a Strategy

South American Short Stories – Fiction Fiesta

Ignorance prevents me having an opinion on The Latin American Short Story  but after hearing Juan Villoro (Mexico) and Andrés Neuman (Argentina) speak on that topic on May 31st I am keen to start forming one by reading their work and that of other writers they mentioned. What engaging, perceptive and generous speakers they were. Continue reading South American Short Stories – Fiction Fiesta

Writers and the Sherman Theatre

A website is one thing but a person is the real thing. Gethin Evans, Associate Director of the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff gave the Cardiff branch of The Writers’ Guild an up-to-the-minute tour of opportunities for engagement and a sense of the Theatre’s ambitions and future projects in a lively encounter at May’s meeting.

The Sherman’s Artist Development page has not quite caught up with the calendar as most of its references are to 2016 so it was enlightening to get a sense of how the various projects are developing.

Gethin Evans (right) with Guild members

Continue reading Writers and the Sherman Theatre

My Literature Wales Writers’ Bursary 2017

I am thrilled to have been awarded a Literature Wales Writers’ Bursary for 2017. I admit (career suicide for a writer!) to being at a loss for words to describe how encouraging I find it to have expert opinion, and public money, invested in me. Maybe ‘inspiring’ will do the job. My congratulations to all the bursary recipients.

photo: Richard Outram

Continue reading My Literature Wales Writers’ Bursary 2017

Small World: Coverage of International Issues WCIA

photo credit: Emyr Jenkins

On December 3rd the Welsh Centre for International Affairs hosted an excellent joint event with Cardiff University School of Journalism about reporting on international news stories. I was keen to hear from the panel  of very experienced journalists and it was indeed a treat to have them all in Cardiff for the evening as they certainly did give us entertaining and valuable insights into their field of expertise in both broadcasting and the press. See reports below from Maria Diaz and William Hayward.

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Continue reading Small World: Coverage of International Issues WCIA

Regulating the Regulators – the Press Recognition Panel and Wales

We all remember Leveson. And we still hear late rumblings from that consideration of corruption in the UK press as well as continuing debate as to how best to deal with it. A need for regulation was generally acknowledged but what system should be used? The compromise reached was the creation of self-regulators overseen by a Recognition Panel established by Royal Charter and the Panel came to Cardiff on 14th July.

PRP_Logo_rgb

The Press Recognition Panel  held a consultative session in the School of Journalism, Cardiff on the criteria to be used when assessing applicants for recognition. This consultation process ends on 31st July. Continue reading Regulating the Regulators – the Press Recognition Panel and Wales

Faith and Violence – the journalist’s role

On New Year’s Day this year the Western Mail published an article by the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Wales, Saleem Kidwai. He claimed that a precious achievement in Welsh cultural life is in jeopardy and that a generation have felt ‘rejected by their fellow Welshmen’.

 Welsh-Muslim youth who thought themselves like any other Welsh person got a rude awakening post-9/11 — a sort of cultural shock that they were not like any other Welsh person. Overnight, they were the other, the enemy…

As Mr Kidwai set out the traumatic ramifications of this tragic dissociation I felt the force of his appeal that, “As a society…  We have to reject any attempts to marginalize Muslims as second-class citizens” but I was perplexed as to how to go about that.

Until I perceived a potential response from the world of journalism itself – from journalism in Wales.

silent rally
Silent rally in Cardiff in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo killings

Continue reading Faith and Violence – the journalist’s role