“The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity”
This quote from Andre Gide seems to sum up the reaction to the recent damning report by Professor Hughes into Literature Wales.
The Welsh Government-commissioned panel described the organisation as “lacking the skills and experience” to spend public money. Shame they didn’t go much further.
Economy Secretary Ken Skates said some of its responsibilities would be transferred to the Welsh Books Council, as if that equally useless, unaccountable quango could do any better! Aren’t they part of the same problem?
Of course this report is only the beginning. There will be more investigations, exposure, maybe even court cases against some of these people, and rest assured that the people of Wales will not be happy until the entire, rotten-to-its-core arts establishment in Wales is completely dismantled.
Wales is a poor country, destined to be poorer when we leave the EU, and so to have our government waste millions of pounds on a small group of chosen ones cannot continue.
Even though BBC Wales always seem proud to show their support for the nepotism that’s been going on for years at Literature Wales it seems they had no choice but to report this:
“An organisation that promotes and develops reading and writing is to have its funding and responsibilities cut following a critical report.
The board of Literature Wales has been described as “lacking the skills and experience” to spend public money.
The Welsh Government-commissioned report was written by Professor Medwin Hughes.
Literature Wales said it would give the report “careful and thorough consideration.”
The findings include:
- There was no evidence of strong governance at Literature Wales
- A feeling among respondents that there was a culture of “entitlement”
- Literature Wales did not contain the right composition of skills and experience to run a body spending public money
- Its mission and goals were “unrealistic and vague”
Literature Wales was created in 2011 following a merger of various organisations and had an income of around £1.2m last year, including £717,000 from the Welsh Government via the Arts Council of Wales.
Following the publication of the report on Tuesday, the economy minister Ken Skates announced that several responsibilities will now transfer from Literature Wales to the Welsh Books Council.
Literature Wales will retain control of the Ty Newydd writing centre in Llanystumdwy, Gwynedd and some events and festivals.
Mr Skates said the changes were in “response to specific needs in a specific area of activity”.
“They are not a reflection on the wider work of the arts council and my appreciation of the good work that Literature Wales has delivered in some areas,” he added.
“However, I am persuaded that these steps are needed to create a support structure for publishing and literature that is more effective and fit for purpose.”
‘Challenging and far-reaching’
A spokeswoman for Literature Wales said: “The Welsh Government’s Independent Review of Support for Publishing and Literature in Wales presents a number of recommendations which will require careful and thorough consideration.
“We look forward to reading the report in full and working with colleagues in Welsh Government, Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Books Council to ensure that literature in all its forms continues to be accessible to a wide range of communities and individuals throughout Wales.”
A spokesman for the Arts Council of Wales, which provides most of Literature Wales’s funding, said: “This is a very substantial report that has drawn on the views of a large number of individuals and organisations.
“With some 60 recommendations, the report deserves detailed and careful consideration.
“Some of the headline recommendations are challenging and far-reaching.
“The report proposes a change of approach and we must consider whether an alternative strategy is likely to deliver better results. We expect to reach our initial conclusions when the council meets in early July.”
Since it was established in 2011, Literature Wales has awarded nearly half a million pounds in bursaries to writers and helped organise big events like the recent Dylan Thomas and Roald Dahl celebrations.“
Literature Wales have just given £4000 of taxpayers money to Thomas Morris, who lives in Dublin, for Wales Book of the Year 2016. His debut collection of short stories is set in Caerphilly. You can read a sample of We Don’t Know What We’re Doing on Amazon. I did. It’s pretty bad. Shame really, I was hoping they’d actually found someone who could write. Maybe he’s a friend or relative of someone at Literature Wales?
Cornishman, Professor of Creative Writing at Glamorgan University, Philip Gross (average salary approx. £76,000) is given more money from the Roland Mathias award while bursary regular and ‘Creative Wales’ milk maid Jasmine Donahaye also cashes in further.
All the winners probably said “Wow, more money for nothing, so glad I stumbled onto this cash cow!” OK, that was a guess.
Many great writers and artists have undertaken road trips. The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and Ernie the fastest milkman in the west but this really takes the Farleys!
Average at best poet, Carol Ann Duffy, is driving her gay ish friends (not a decent writer amongst them) on an all-expenses paid trip around the best hotels of England, Wales and Scotland. Two weeks of taxpayers sponsored red wine for these gravy train season ticket holders.
That great ‘working class’ newspaper The Guardian chatted to the four of them over a bottle of champagne in the lounge of a Manchester hotel.
They are good friends, and often judge each others poems, making the other the winner.
The Guardian pays for the car, the taxpayer the lunch and wine perhaps? Either way, none of them would know a decent poem from a gay, black miner. They are all safe, boring and self-pitying. The very reason no-one really gives a damn about poetry.
Establishment figures, milking their mediocre talents for their own ends. Very sad.
It’s that time of the year again. When the unelected people who give your taxpayers money to their friends and family give even more of it to even more of their friends and family and even charge you for the privilege of watching them rub their greedy little hands together. This year it seems that a number of University Professors have fallen on hard times as well as the usual suspects like Owen ‘bad boy’ Sheers, ‘Gross Writer’, ‘Horrid Henry’ and ‘Gloating Gower’.
This year, in Pulp of the Year 2016 the nominees are: Philip Gross (previous parasite), Paul Henry (bursary regular – £6,425), Stephen Payne (Professor who needs the cash?), Kate Hamer (bursary score – £5,000), Thomas Morris (lives in Dublin but still got a ticket), Owen Sheers (more public cash thrown at him than any other shit writer?), Jasmine Donahaye (Cash score – £20,000+), Eluned Gramich (other public money – £1,000), Daniel G. Williams (Professor who needs more cash), Mererid Hopwood (bursary score – £6,000), Gruffudd Owen (Arts Council Trougher), Cen Williams (big jobs for the boys), Jon Gower (bursary score – £8,000), Caryl Lewis (Wales Literature Exchange), Dewi Prysor (was interesting until he made this list), Simon Brooks (bursary score – £2,003), Gruffydd Aled Williams (another hard-up Professor) and Emyr Glyn Williams.
The league table for cash handouts has finally been updated. Sorry it took so long, some interesting additions though…
Vying for the ‘worst poet in the world’ award is Jonathan Edwards, who as well as getting a mention in the Pulp of the Year page also gets some cash to come up with even more purile shit next year. He moves up the chart with two wads of cash now.
Well-paid BBC director / producer Daniel Davies gets even more public money in order to pay off his mortgage. He’s now up to three cash handouts!
Also in to the top of the table is Aled Jones Williams, part of the Wales Literature Exchange. He is also in the money with his third handout.
Tom Bullough is also with the Wales Literature Exchange, think we see a pattern developing here. He moves up the charts with his second pile of cash from you the taxpayer.
And then there is Sian Northey, yep, you guessed it. She also works for the Wales Literature Exchange. She also collects big with her second wad.
To see the updated page just click on the ‘Handouts‘ link.
The St David Awards recognise and celebrate the exceptional achievements of people in Wales. They acknowledge people who are making a real difference for this country – either at home or abroad. They are great marks of distinction and the highest accolades that Welsh Government confers on our citizens nationally.
Unfortunately, in the ‘Culture’ category the prize went to, yes, you’ve guessed it, Owen Sheers.
Taffia Book of the Year winner Owen Sheers is one of the arts council and Literature Wales’ golden boys. If there is cash up for grabs you’ll always find him at the head of the queue. He was even made Professor in Creativity at Swansea University (great salary I bet!) even though his ‘work’ is so bad that it is laughed at around the globe.
The committee who can be blamed for picking this talentless nobody is here.
I know, it’s the biggest joke in literature and not really worthy of anyone’s attention but I thought it might be a laugh to post a few of this guy’s poems here, so we could all make up our mind just how good, bad or ugly the country’s latest public face of the Taffia is…
Ah, then I encountered a slight problem. The TV presenter someone chose is not only completely unheard of, has only produced a handful of Welsh language poetry books but doesn’t actually produce anything in English. Mmm? Strange then that the language of 80% of the population should be neglected in favour of this ‘bard’. So much for democracy and appealing to the masses. Who actually voted for this bloke? Who choose him? Was it a public vote I wonder? I’d have chosen Rhod Gilbert myself.
Anyway, I shouldn’t be too negative, I’m sure he’ll come out with some absolute gems, just like the last couple we’ve had… can’t remember any, but there you go.
Oh wait, stop press, I did find something this guy has done in English. The Toilet: An Unspoken History (2012), a TV programme which sort of sums up the current Welsh literature scene.
Current National Poet of Wales, Gillian Clarke said “Ifor ap Glyn is a friend.” Never!
We all know that the arts council gets too much money. And we all know that they waste it on free wine, sandwiches and events that no-one outside a small circle of rich, middle-class friends goes to, but how many people know just how much these parasitic organisms actually consume of taxpayers money?
Well, now we do. Early in Dec 2015 the Welsh Assembly (you know the one, the one that is supposed to create jobs and prosperity for the people of Wales, the one that is residing over the biggest cuts to council budgets ever) decided (quite rightly) to cut the arts council budget by a meagre 4.7%.
So what you might say? But then Arts Council Chair, Prof. Dai Smith, said:
“… The proposed funding next year of over £30m is a substantial investment in the arts and we welcome the Welsh Government’s continuing commitment. This is not an accident – it is the result of more than a decade of sustained public and Lottery investment in our cultural life…”
Hang on a minute, did he just say £30 million! Yep. And they complain!
So who exactly gets this £30 million? Do you know any writers or artists that have had a share? Answers on a postcard please…
But guess what? Not content with this huge amount of public money for producing… mmm? well, shit really, these greedy bastards then enrol the help of the supposedly unbiased (don’t all laugh together) BBC in order to fight the cuts!
And guess what, they got their way.
Among those seeing large increases in their funding are the absolutely fucking awful Artes Mundi, Disability Arts Cymru, Mid Wales Opera and National Theatre Wales.
The Welsh National Opera will receive an additional £250,000 on top of the £4.5m it previously received.
I bet single mothers everywhere are celebrating that one up and down the country.
Five groups – the Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias music centre in Caernarfon, Cardiff-based NoFit State Circus, Independent Ballet Wales, the Sinfonia Cymru orchestra and Abergavenny-based Theatr Ffynnon will receive guaranteed ACW funding for the first time.
Among the recipients of the biggest increases in funding are National Theatre Wales, Welsh National Opera and Ruthin Craft Centre.
Well, summer’s here and the time is right for dishing out cash for crap again. Yep, Literature Wales announced that Other People’s Countries by Patrick McGuinness is the English-language Wales Book of the Year 2015. Didn’t he win a pile of cash before? Judges were Alex Clark, Tessa Hadley (£4,810) and Paul Henry (£6,425).
The winner of the Wales Arts Review People’s Choice Prize 2015 was Jonathan Edwards (£4,000).
So basically, four crap writers (if you could call them that) and three unheard of judges.
More cynical observers might also note that most of the names above have already had cash from Literature Wales (figures in brackets) or the Arts Council (no figures for these) for other crap they’ve been involved in.
Literature Wales have a crap website, and they’ve been letting it run down since it’s new CEO came to power. So, it’s no surprise that now (in these times of austerity) they choose to use this ruse as a means of dishing out some cash to someone they know.
Apparently, they are: seeking an agency (i.e. one of their ‘friends’) to design and build a new public website to replace its main corporate site, which was paid for out of public money not so long back but has been neglected by it’s overpaid and underworked staff.
The new website will also incorporate a number of existing project sites (i.e. more useless crap that Literature Wales use as shell companies to dish out yet more of your taxpayers cash to their ‘friends’), either as microsites or as pages within the main site. The new website will need to be fully bilingual in Welsh and English. All copy (i.e. badly written made up nonsense) and imagery will be provided by Literature Wales.
To request a copy of the brief and for information on how to apply, contact Literature Wales, or just ring your ‘friends’. I wonder how much more of taxpayers money they will waste on this rubbish? (i.e. an innovative recycling of public funds scheme).
Did you hear about the poor old writers who are now quaking in their Hunters on their farms bought by us the taxpayer? Well, it seems that the times of cash for crap – or to put it another way, money for nothing could soon be over.
Thanks to the cuts at Cardiff council they now can’t afford to give money away to an arts establishment that already gets millions from the taxpayer in order to help finance the Cardiff Poetry competition. Not that it was much of a competition in the first place, with nearly all winners being ex-students of the various universities anyway, and very few of the winning poems being any good.
But one must ask why Literature Wales still can’t run a poetry competition? How many people does it take for God’s sake! One useless bimbo to open the envelopes, one to bank the cheques and one to divide the poems up into two piles – ‘my friends’ and the rest. Then pay a judge no-one has ever heard of to pick a pile of rubbish as winners from the ‘my friends’ list. Easy.
The Welsh Books Council gets cash from government, about £4.5 million, I understand. It doesn’t promote or sell any decent Welsh writers so I guess most of that money must just get dished out to the so-called ‘Welsh book publishers’ – there’s Seren, Cinnamon, Parthian, Gomer, Y Llofa, Gwasg and maybe some others hidden away in somebody’s cousin’s uncle’s wardrobe. Anyway, heard this the other day and thought what a joke!
Those nice people at Chapter are allowing Seren Books (and Parthian) to try to flog their truly awful books to the Cardiff, Evian-drinking, pseudo middle-class.
The shop was opened on 6 December as part of small business Saturday, a nationwide campaign which aims to highlight small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities. Wait! Hang on a minute! Did I just read ‘small’ three times?!
How is a publisher that gets a large share of £4.5 million a ‘small’ publisher! They are only small in their ambition! They are only ‘small’ because they don’t sell any books! And we all know why. Because they are rubbish. Oh dear!
Ever been short of a few bob? Ever wondered how you’ll pay the mortgage? The gas and electric bills getting you down? Well, never fear there is an answer to your problems. It’s called the Creative Wales Awards.
Linking up with Literature Wales the Arts Council of Wales’ Creative Wales Awards are supposed to recognise the very best talent and potential of individual Welsh artists but instead they get given to someone named ‘Wynne-Rhydderch‘ – that household name once again! What a pile of shite!
Along with Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch, are Jasmine Donahaye and Mab Jones. They will get the following:
Jasmine Donahaye – £20,000
Jasmine will spend long periods of time watching animals getting slaughtered then write about it. Wow!
Samantha Wynne – Rhydderch – £14,350
Samantha, who already earns a fair crust as a teacher at Trinity Saint David University, will basically waste a year of her life looking at things that aren’t books.
Mab Jones – £20,000
Mab Jones will get paid to learn all about ‘rakugo’ – a Japanese comic storytelling form! Unlike the rest of us who have to pay to get taught.
So once again the message is clear – change your name to ‘Wynne-Rhydderch’ and get given taxpayers money! Horray!
After being given £8,000 for his truly terrible Wales Book of the Year, golden boy Owen Sheers is tipped to win the 2014 Dylan Thomas Prize this year as well. Nice job if you can get it eh!
Here is the Short List in full:
Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries (Granta)
Joshua Ferris, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (Viking)
Eimear McBride, A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing (Faber & Faber)
Kseniya Melnik, Snow in May (Fourth Estate)
Kei Miller, The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion (Carcanet Press)
Owen Sheers, Mametz (National Theatre Wales)
Naomi Wood, Mrs Hemingway (Picador)
This time he could net £30,000 and pay off the mortgage on his farm perhaps?
Let’s hope Cerys Mathews doesn’t blot her copybook by listening to those who tell her to pick him!
Yep, it’s that time of the year again when recycling plants rub their hands together with glee. For they know that very soon they will have huge piles of unwanted hardbacks, paperbacks and cheque envelopes to recycle.
This year we have old faithful Meic Stephens (again), golden boy Owen ‘can’t write for toffee’ Sheers, bursary queen Jemma L King, Tessa ‘I’ve had a bursary too’ Hadley and any woman with the surname ‘Rhyddych’ who is partial to a few bursaries – Francesca Rhyddych – amongst the great and the good.
And the winners are… all of them of course! And the losers are… the real writers in Wales. No change there then.
Perhaps we are being a little unfair saying these bursary recipients are ‘unknown’ writers. Perhaps we need to get out more? In the circles they mix in they are probably very well known. Just not in the real world…
And to say that they are members of the Taffia, maybe that’s unfair too. After all, as can be seen from the list below these people are just ordinary, struggling writers… Lol 🙂
This year we have a few new entries to the trough but we also see a few old names moving up the cash charts too:
Euron Griffith gets £5,000 – yet has links to S4C / BBC Wales, so can’t possibly need the cash or the exposure.
Sam Roads gets £1,389 – he is a Cardiff entrepreneur, co-owner of four local businesses, so you would wonder why he needs the money?
Mary-Ann Constantine gets £1,500 – she is a Senior Fellow and Project Leader, and works for the National Library of Wales, surely she doesn’t need the money?
Caroline Ross gets £4,000 – she’s a Member of Academi / Literaure Wales (say no more).
Robat Gruffudd gets £5,500 – and he is the founder of Gwasg y Lolfa (Lolfa Press), who get arts council money for that!
Samathan Wynne-Rhydderch gets £4,058 – who is she, what has she written to be getting all this money?
Karen Owen gets £6,000 – she is a former Producer of Religious Programmes at BBC Cymru and is way up the cash charts with her awards.
Simon Brooks gets £2,003 – Dr Simon Brooks is a Lecturer in the School of Welsh at Cardiff University and so has a tidy salary anyway!
Catrin Gerallt gets £3,000 – she is/has been on the LW Management Board / Assistant Editor for Welsh Current Affairs, BBC Wales / Head of Communications for ‘Cardiff 2008’ promoting Cardiff as an European Capital of Culture / Radio Wales – very well connected…
Helen Buhaenko gets £1,750 – she works for Oxfam.
Scrutiny / scrutiny / scrutiny!!! ITV Wales – are you listening? Want to do a programme? Maybe someone will tell them!
This month sees yet another £81,000 of taxpayers money dished out to so-called “writers” no-one has ever heard of. True, there are a few unpublished writers in there too (six we counted, although LW say it is eleven) but once again the vast majority of the cash is gifted to “published” writers – most, if not all, are unknown, talentless and worse still – previous bursary recipients! Disgusting you might say? Well, we’ll agree with you.
But if this serious business of handing out taxpayers money without scrutiny wasn’t enough, Literature Wales even have the gall to announce to the world that they have awarded over £1 million in Writers’ Bursaries to their friends and family!
And out of that million quid the only “famous” writers they can come up with are: Belinda Bauer, Lloyd Jones, Daniel Morden & Gwyneth Lewis. Yes, you’re right again, no-one outside Wales has ever heard of them.
How sad that in this, Dylan Thomas’s centenary year, LW still can’t give 100% of its financial support to new writers!
Link to who got what this year – click here.
That well known writer (joke), Martin Daws, has just received a Creative Wales Ambassadors Award of £25,000. Why you might ask? Good question. Well the answer is simple. This bloke wants to go on holiday to the USA and so we (the great Welsh taxpayer) need to be able to (in his own words) “develop his skills as a poet”.
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. Alongside Martin, Julia Griffiths Jones and Richard Gwyn have also received the prestigious Creative Wales Ambassadors Award 2013/14.
Professor Dai Smith, Chair, Arts Council of Wales, father of Owen Smith MP has congratulated this year’s successful ambassadors:
“We are pleased to have been able to augment these awards in difficult times.”
Too bloody right they are difficult times!! Well, they are for the rest of us, but once again the Taffia seem to be able to snap their fingers and cash appears… Yep, sick indeed.
Although it’s still only 2013, the 2014 Cardiff poetry competition is open again. One of the largest monetary prizes for a poetry competition with a whopping £5,000 first prize. So, if it’s not your turn to get a bursary, win Book of the Year, etc. then why not enter.
Of course it does cost £7 to send a poem in.
Good luck everybody – you know who you are.
The Dylan Thomas prize for 2013 was won by Claire Vaye Watkins. She won £30,000 of our taxpayers money for a book that is set in Nevada and judging by the reviews sounds like it will be lucky to sell a few copies. Mmm? The California-born author won the prize for Battleborn.
The question we have is – why is an American, writing about America winning Welsh taxpayers money?
Meanwhile, Welsh writer Jemma L King whose debut poetry collection, The Shape of a Forest, was short-listed for the celebrated Dylan Thomas Prize. Jemma will be one of a team of writers who will deliver one hour workshops in schools throughout Wales as part of Literature Wales’ Developing Dylan project. Jemma was also awarded a New Writer’s Bursary from Literature Wales, to work on her next collection of poetry between 2013 – 2014.
Dylan Thomas was a great poet and short story teller – one of the best Wales has ever produced. In fact his begging letters for money were legendary! But, in these difficult times should the WAG be giving millions to the arts council to dish out to their friends in order to ‘celebrate’ the poet’s birth?
If you do a random search of the internet you find lots of ‘projects’ where millions of pounds is to be given to the usual hangers-on in order to remind us all how good DT was.
Here’s just a few:
Oh yes and who is getting paid with your taxpayers money to be involved in all this? Yes, you guessed it, the same old names and faces. You know, the ones you see on the bursary list etc.
Owen Sheers, Gillian Clarke, Joe Dunthorne, Bethan Gwanas, Carol Ann Duffy, Martin Daws, Huw Stephens (Meic Stephens‘ son), Andrew Davies, Clare Potter, Gwyneth Lewis, Huw Williams, Dan Anthony, Jemma L King, Cynan Jones, Eurig Sailsbury, Phillipa Davies and many more.
I noticed that our so-called ‘poet laureate’ – Gillian Clarke has produced a poem to mark the death of former South African leader Nelson Mandela this week. I read the poem and thought ‘what a load of shit’. No real feeling, no heartfelt emotion, no political comment, not even a dig at child murderer Winnie! Very boring.
So your challenge this month is to find a worse poem written by a Welsh Academi (Literature Wales) sponsored ‘writer’. Come on, don’t be shy, there must be thousands of them out there lurking, unread in the storerooms of the LW office or gathering dust on shelves in various attractions up and down the land.
If you can think of any please post the name of the poem and poet – might be a laugh!