The multi award-winning and critically acclaimed author of His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman, has been announced as the first Patron of Literature Wales.
Pullman was born in Norwich and travelled with his family to Zimbabwe and Australia before settling in Llanbedr, Gwynedd. He attended secondary school at Ysgol Ardudwy, Harlech before going on to study English at the University of Oxford.
The announcement was made by Literature Wales, the national company for the development of literature, to coincide with the release of their new business plan. The document outlines the organisation’s key strategic areas for 2016-2019: Participation, Children and Young People, Writer Support, International Profile and Digital Creativity.
Literature Wales believes that all children in Wales should have the opportunity to enjoy and create literature whether that is on the page or through the spoken word. Initiatives such as the Young People’s Laureate Wales, Bardd Plant Cymru (Welsh-language Children’s Laureate), Slam Cymru and the Writers on Tour funding scheme make this a reality for many young people living in Wales.
Mr Pullman said:
“Making it possible for school children to meet a professional writer – I don’t say ‘real’ writer, because children are real writers too – is one of the best ways of encouraging them to think that writing has a purpose, brings pleasure and can be a means of exciting discovery and a source of lasting satisfaction.
“It is also a great stimulus to reading. I strongly approve of the work being done by Literature Wales to bring children and professional writers together—it’s really beneficial for both parties.”
Developing and supporting the writers of Wales at every stage of their writing journey is at the heart of Literature Wales’ vision. From Young People’s Writing Squads to residential writing courses at Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre and the Wales Book of the Year Awards, Literature Wales provides much needed advice and support.
Sometimes this is financial and buys time out to write: since 2004, Literature Wales has awarded more than £1 million in Writers’ Bursaries, supporting 272 writers and generating more than 100 new books.
The National Poet of Wales, Ifor ap Glyn said:
“Literature Wales is not just an institution that professionalises Welsh authors, it helps to connect our work with the wider world. It’s an essential service that helps our nation recognise ourselves in the morning mirror. And for that, I’m extremely grateful.”
Chief Executive of Literature Wales, Lleucu Siencyn, said:
“Literature is one of the most accessible art forms. Throughout our lives we are surrounded by stories; in books, on billboards, on screens, on stage and online. Written and spoken words are interwoven to give us thrills and laughs. They entertain, inform and inspire us. Literature Wales will continue to ensure that literature is supported as a democratic art form that belongs to everyone.”
Mr Pullman is the author of several novels including the trilogy His Dark Materials and the young adult novel The Broken Bridge, set in the landscape of Ardudwy.
His prizes include the Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year, the first time it was awarded to a children’s book and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. He is currently working on a companion novel to His Dark Materials, to be called The Book of Dust.
Literature Wales’ Business Plan 2016-19 is available to read online via Issu. For more information, contact Literature Wales on: Tel: 029 2047 2266 / [email protected]