Tŷ Newydd & Llanllyfni

Next week I’m off to teach young writers at Tŷ Newydd, the writing centre of Wales. I’m so delighted to be doing this. Teenagers from across Wales will come together and work with myself and the lovely fiction writer Russ Litten. I’ve said this before but, growing up in small-town north Wales back in the 1980s with a 4-channel, sometimes black and white, TV, there really wasn’t anything to encourage or platform writing for young people. I know residential retreats like this can be transformative. I can see from the list, there’s one young person coming from my old school, and I’m just so thrilled to be in the position to enthuse this band of young creatives!

Speaking of Tŷ Newydd and retreats, I’m also incredibly excited to be co-tutoring an adult retreat for the Writing School in April: Journey to the Centre of the Poem with the brilliant Vanessa Lampert and guest poet, Kathryn Bevis.  We’ve endeavoured to keep the retreat as affordable as possible, and much less than the usual cost for these types of retreats but there’s also a discounted bursary place available for anyone who wants to apply.

The dates are 24th – 29th of April and you can find out everything about it here. It’s worth coming for the readings of Vanessa Lampert and Kathryn Bevis alone in my opinion. Both are incredible poets. Kathryn recently delivered a writing day with the Hive Poetry Collective. It was such a magical day. We usually run online so it’s always very special when young poets from across the nearby north come together again to connect and catch up face to face.

I also found out recently where my Welsh grandfather was born and raised before moving to Abergele. I’ve been drawn to tracing both my Welsh and Irish family trees over the last few years and finding out if there’s family I can connect with. Granddad Morris was from the village of Llanllyfni which is actually a short drive from Tŷ Newydd. Welsh was his first language and when he moved to Abergele up the coast, where I grew up, my uncle says he could barely speak English. I really wished I got to meet him but he died before I was born. Sadly I won’t have a chance to visit Llanllyfni next week but I plan to in April.

And to top off this lovely start to the year with exciting happenings in the pipeline, the light is seeping back. My garden is pushing up crocuses and telling me – spring is on its way!