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This report is taken from PN Review 201, Volume 38 Number 1, September - October 2011.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams
One of the elements in the radical shake-up of arts organisations here, which came as a surprise to me if to no one else, was the merger of Academi, the literature promotion agency, and Tŷ Newydd, the National Writers' Centre for Wales. Academi has been mentioned often enough in these 'Letters', but not the National Writers' Centre, which was established in 1990 at a beautiful house, once the home of David Lloyd George, in glorious landscape at Llanystumdwy, near Criccieth, Gwynedd.

The centre's raison d'être and methodology are much the same as those of the Arvon Foundation, freely acknowledged as the model of the Welsh venture. Gillian Clarke, who was chair of the Welsh Academy/Yr Academi Gymreig at this time, with a great deal of experience of Arvon tutoring behind her, and Meic Stephens, then Literature Director of the Welsh Arts Council, were the leading figures in bringing to fruition one of the brightest ideas in the development of interest and participation in writing in both Welsh and English. Their involvement didn't stop at raising money, persuading the reluctant and haranguing the nation; they were both there, at T ŷ Newydd, in the small team of enthusiasts, mowing grass, scrubbing floors and painting walls to allow the centre to open on schedule. Sally Baker, executive director of the centre from its inception, who was made an Honorary Member of the Welsh Academy at its recent 50th Anniversary celebration, has seen its standing grow remarkably. It maintains a simple formula ...


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