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Prizes galore for literary alumni at 2019 Eisteddfod

It was a week to remember for Bangor University at this year's Eisteddfod with some of the main literary prizes being won by individuals who have close links with the institution. Among them, Dr Gareth Evans Jones, a former undergraduate and doctoral student at the School of Welsh and Celtic Studies and now lecturer in Philosophy and Religion in the School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences. Competing under the anonymous nom-de-plume, 'Gwylan', Gareth came out on top in the Drama Medal competition, with a script that was highly commended by the judges. Bethan Marlow, speaking on behalf of her fellow judges, said:

“There is no doubt that Gwylan has an ear for dialogue, rhythm and language. There is humor and wit here and the story’s structure is skilfully done and hooks you in from start to finish.

The play flows ... [and] the process of creating and writing has been given great care and thought...”

As well as being the recipient of several other awards for drama and literature, Gareth published his first novel, Eira Llwyd, last year, receiving rave reviews for his portrayal of three Jewish prisoners living through the horrors of the Holocaust.

Another factor that made the 2019 Eisteddfod one to remember was the remarkable achievement of Guto Dafydd, from Trefor, and another former student of the School of Welsh and Celtic Studies, who took home the Crown for a selection of poems and the Daniel Owen Memorial Prize for an extended novel, achieving a remarkable 'double'. Indeed, Guto secured a 'double double', having previously won the Crown at the Eisteddfod in 2014 and the Daniel Owen Memorial Prize in 2016 with his novel, Ymbelydredd.

Responding to three of the Eisteddfod’s main literary prizes being won by their alumni, Head of the School of Welsh and Celtic Studies, Professor Peredur Lynch, said:

“This is undoubted proof that Bangor University's School of Welsh and Celtic Studies continues to lead and innovate in the field of Welsh literature and creative writing. Gareth and Guto's achievements also show that we continue to nurture new creative talent and actively encourage the creativity of our students. We are immensely proud of their achievements and congratulate them both.”

In addition to the success of the festival competitions, there were contributions and causes for celebration from many members of staff and students. Dr Llion Jones, Director of Canolfan Bedwyr, Bangor University's Centre for Welsh Language Services, Technology and Research, was one of the judges of this year's Chair competition and delivered the adjudication from the stage during the final literary ceremony of the week. Osian Owen, a postgraduate student at the School of Welsh and Celtic Studies, was made a member of the Gorsedd of Wales following his success in winning the Chair in the 2018 Urdd National Eisteddfod.

The University's stand on the field also hosted a variety of events during the week; these included a discussion on the current state of journalism, presentations on dementia research projects, visits by politicians, question and answer sessions with staff and students of literature and, of course, was a platform for our annual reunion for graduates on the Wednesday afternoon.

Visit our various social media sites to see a selection of photos from the week at the maes in Llanrwst!

Publication date: 15 August 2019