prize money

US writer wins Welsh cash

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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.

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Welcome

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gt1 copyLiterature Wales is the national organisation that is supposed to be responsible for developing and promoting literature in Wales.

It runs Wales Book of the Year, the National Poet of Wales, writing courses at Tŷ Newydd and numerous other events, most of which they charge an entry fee for.

They also get rather a large wad of taxpayers money to help them do this.

Literature Wales is supposed to represent the interests of Welsh writers in all genres and languages. It is also supposed to offer advice, support and bursaries to writers.

Literature Wales works with the support of the Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government. It is one of the resident organisations of the Wales Millennium Centre.

Scandal

In early 2013, the UK national press including the Daily Mail and The Telegraph revealed some astonishing facts and figures about how literature is run in Wales.

‘In the past five years the Welsh Books Council and Literature Wales have received more than £42m from the Welsh Assembly and Arts Council Wales, which in turn receive their funding from Westminster.

Welsh authors can apply for grants of up to £10,000 to work on any kind of book, and they keep the money even if their work is never published.’

– By Gordon Rayner, Chief Reporter, Telegraph, 01 Jan 2013

The reports were critical of the cost to British taxpayers, with the Daily Mail stating that the money went to pay for Welsh books that only sold ‘a handful of copies’.

Makes you wonder where all those millions go doesn’t it? Some would even say that this level of funding is in dire need of some serious scrutiny.

We have done a bit of digging around and found that the same names seem to crop up time and time again. It seems taxpayers money is being given to a small, select group of people, in the form of bursaries, prizes, judging and appearance fees, year after year after year.

So please read on and be disgusted. Oh yes, and maybe tell your friends about us too. Just send them this link:

https://literaturewales.wordpress.com/