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This report is taken from PN Review 158, Volume 30 Number 6, July - August 2004.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams

In the wake of last year's Welsh Assembly elections, Plaid Cymru, which suffered a damaging reverse, found itself in disarray. The party's leader and president, Ieuan Wynn Jones, resigned - and then offered himself for re-election as leader in the chamber only. To the surprise of many he won the contest. The winner of the subsequent presidential election was equally unexpected: Dafydd Iwan. The latter is clearly well known among the party membership, and well supported, particularly by the younger element, but I doubt his past fame and current political eminence in Wales have registered beyond Offa's Dyke.

He was born in Brynaman, Carmarthenshire, in 1943. His father, a bookish Independent minister, was related to a famous family of beirdd gwlad (country poets), steeped in the essentially amateur Welsh-language tradition of composition and, often competitive, performance in the community and further afield. In his essay in Artists in Wales 3 (edited by Meic Stephens, 1977), Dafydd Iwan recounts his introduction to public performance in his father's chapel and at Sunday School and chapel eisteddfodau, before progression, via the village eisteddfod and local Urdd eisteddfod to the Urdd National, singing penillion in the under-twelve competition. (I have written - in PNR 135 - about the Urdd, the biggest youth movement in Europe, and rejoice that it continues, still very much the same organisation of which I was a member in my schooldays.) He is a graduate of the Welsh School of Architecture but has never practised as an ...

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