Literature Wales has launched Dy Bennod Nesaf – Your Next Chapter – a varied programme of creative writing courses and retreats to help bring stories and ideas to life in 2024.
Based at Tŷ Newydd, the National Writing Centre of Wales in Llanystumdwy, courses incorporate poetry and prose and range from immersing yourself in the natural environment to songwriting; from writing for Young Adults (YA) to writing crime fiction.
The programme includes a range of weekend, day-long and Monday to Friday courses, offered either in English, Welsh or bilingually.
New options for cultivating creativity include: Nature Writing; a Welsh-language Yoga and Writing Retreat; Writing and Wild Swimming; or a Digital Detox Retreat.
Although Tŷ Newydd is the magical, atmospheric former home of David Lloyd George, the only Welsh Prime Minister; the retreat welcomes writers of all levels, ages, and backgrounds.
Tŷ Newydd’s expert tutors have included award-winning Mad Men writer and producer Lisa Albert, Jeppe Gjervig Gram, writer, and co-creator of Danish political drama series Borgen; Costa Book Awards winner Jonathan Edwards, poet, and broadcaster Lemn Sissay, dramatist, lyricist and composer Willy Russell, novelist Louis de Bernieres, and Tŷ Newydd’s late neighbour, travel writer and journalist Jan Morris.
2024 tutors include former National Poet of Wales, Gillian Clarke, who leads a masterclass alongside renowned poet Maura Dooley, and who launched Tŷ Newydd as a Writing Centre with fellow poet Robert Minhinnick in 1990.
Other award-winning tutors providing immersive workshops, readings, and bespoke tutoring in 2024 include Manon Steffan Ros, whose The Blue Book of Nebo was translated from Welsh and won the Carnegie Medal; 2017 BBC national short story award winner Cynan Jones; Booker Prize nominated Sophie Mackintosh and Sunday Times Best Seller, crime writer and former policewoman Clare Mackintosh.
Cydio yn awen Enlli / Writing about Enlli’s Nature and Ecology is one of the first courses of the 2024 programme and will take the Tŷ Newydd experience on tour with participants sailing to Enlli (Bardsey Island) for a week of creative inspiration.
Led by seasoned ecologist and author Elinor Gwynn and author Jon Gower in partnership with Bardsey Island Trust, writers will be immersed in wildlife and surrounded by Enlli’s plants, animals, and stunning landscape, which have inspired artists and authors for centuries.
Pragya Agarwal will lead a Writing Motherhood weekend with CJ Cooke at Tŷ Newydd. The winner of the Diverse Wisdom Writing award from Hay House Publishing, she was also named as one of the 100 influential women in social enterprise in the UK, and one of 50 people creating change in the UK-India corridor. Her publications include (M)otherhood: On the choices of being a woman, SWAY: Unravelling Unconscious Bias and Wish we knew what to say: Talking with children about race.
Other literary heavyweights offering expert guidance next year are Hollie McNish, Llwyd Owen, Hanan Issa, Dean Atta, Bethan Gwanas, Cathryn Summerhayes, and Helen Mort.
Tŷ Newydd is an enchanting Grade II* listed building, built in the 15th century – its creative spaces and atmospheric rooms rattle with history and heritage.
Eminent architect Clough Williams-Ellis, renowned creator of picturesque Portmeirion, the Italianite village just 10 miles from Llanystumdwy, turned his hand to re-modelling the house for Lloyd George. He built and created Tŷ Newydd’s vast gardens, with their panoramic vistas over Cardigan Bay and the North Wales coast and back towards the mountains of Eryri National Park.
Literature Wales’ Executive Director, Claire Furlong says: “We are really excited by Dy Bennod Nesaf – our programme of courses for 2024 – and hope it will appeal to writers whatever their experience.
“It’s hard to encapsulate the magical experience available at Tŷ Newydd, surrounded by other writers and tutors dedicated to honing your craft. Tŷ Newydd is a unique, energizing experience, where everyone attending our courses can leave their day-to-day stresses behind and dedicate their time to working on their personal writing goals.
“Locally sourced, homemade meals are included in our fees and Nant Writers’ Retreat, a Grade II* listed cottage in Tŷ Newydd’s grounds, provides a self-contained, quiet haven for those wishing to work in solitude.”
“There are a variety of options suitable for different budgets and the time writers have available, and we offer bursaries to ensure the experiences and our courses are accessible to everyone keen on developing their skills.”
The Dy Bennod Nesaf – Your Next Chapter programme runs from March 2024 – January 2025.
See a full list Tŷ Newydd’s variety of 2024 courses: Courses & Retreats – Canolfan Ysgrifennu Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre (tynewydd.wales)