The Abergavenny Writing Festival

April 2022


All events are free and online. Unless otherwise stated each event is pre-recorded, links to book each event will be added soon.

11:00-11:30 – Youth Writing Competition Presentation (Live)

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We were all equally thrilled and humbled by the level of engagement and response to our Youth Writing competition this year. With over 130 entries submitted (both from individuals and home-educators as and also teachers sending in class responses from several young writers) it was heartening to see such a range of writing from across our local counties. One thing was clear – our young people care very much about ‘Hope’ – the importance of it, and the need to nurture it.

Our judges (all writers too) Carys Jones, Nigel Jarrett, Sarah KilBride and Paul Manship gave their time freely and generously to consider each entry.  No mean feat! And we would like to thank them for their willingness to take on this creative challenge. We were fortunate – we were able to complete the competition just as we went into the March lockdown and we were able to announce prizewinning entrants of their success in April.

While we aren’t able to offer an in-person celebratory presentation as we did in 2019, we will be running a live Zoom event to do just that, on Saturday 7th November which will also be supported by our Abergavenny Town Mayor, Councillor Tony Konieczny and Phillip Christie of Christie Residential.

Diolch yn fawr pawb.

12:30- 13:30- Birth Stories with Emma Mills 

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Consultant Midwife and clinical midwifery research led Emma Mills will give a short talk about her career and her books ‘Your Birth: stories from midwifery led areas’ and ‘Your Birth: stories from Consultant led areas’ (jointly written with colleague Louise Taylor). This will be followed by a practical session with pointers on writing your own birth story and the benefits of doing so. Attendees will leave with ideas and inspiration to continue their story.
Emma Mills is an experienced midwife with a passion for promoting and protecting physiological birth. She writes for Welsh government publications and has had numerous articles published in a variety of professional journals. Emma is a founding trustee for the charity/non-profit organisation ‘Midwives @Ethiopia’ and has been delivering skills, training and research in Ethiopia for the last twelve years. She is on many advisory panels and steering groups and has won a multitude of awards for her contribution to midwifery. Emma has recently presented her published research all over the UK, Poland, Canada, and is due to present a symposium in Bali in 2020.
‘Your Birth’ is a collection of birth stories written by women, about women, for women. A positive birth environment, kind and compassionate support, and access to balanced evidence based information enables women to take control of their births. The intention of the book is to redress the balance of negative media around birth and give women the confidence to believe in their bodies, to feel positive as they approach birth and to consider a midwifery led setting as an option. All stories are written in women’s own words.


14:00 – 14:45 – Criw’e Coed A’r Gwenyn Coll – Book reading with Carys Glyn 

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Mae Criw’r Coed a’r Gwenyn Coll yn stori sydd yn cludo ‘Anifeiliaid Hynaf y Byd’ o’r Mabinogion i Gymru fodern. Yma, mae nhw yn helpu anifeiliaid heddiw i ddatrys problemau’r amgylchedd.

Yn ei stori gyntaf mae Carys Glyn yn cyflwyno G-Hw, Carwww, Mwyalchen, Eryr a Chwim yr eog – yr anifeiliaid fydd yn helpu Gwenyn i ddatrys dirgelwch y gwenyn coll.

Gyda darluniau lliwgar gan yr artist Ruth Jên, wrth galon y llyfr hwn yw’r syniad bod gwneud pethau bach yn gallu gwneud gwahaniaeth mawr i’r amgylchedd.


Criw’r Coed a’r Gwenyn Coll is a story that transports the ‘Oldest Animals in the World’ from the Mabinogi to modern day Wales. Here, they help today’s animals to overcome the many challenges of today’s changing environment.

In this debut story from Carys Glyn, Owl, Deer, Blackbird, Eagle and Swift the Salmon all strive to help Bee solve the mystery of her missing friends.

With colourful and clever illustrations by Ruth Jên this book aims to show children that by doing the little things they can make a big difference to our planet’s future.

Carys Glyn is a teacher and author based in Abergavenny. She is passionate about getting children reading for pleasure. This is her first book.


16:00 – 17:00 – Writing and Publishing Children’s Books 

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Using Sarah Kilbride’s latest book ‘A Cuddle and a Cwtch’ as a case study Sarah and Peter will talk about the publishing process including: looking at the original concept hand written text by Sara, the book idea, format and illustrations, combining text and images and book format, the final book and merchandising.
A Cuddle and a Cwtch is Sarah’s nineteenth picture book. She is the author of Being a Princess is Very Hard Work (Bloomsbury) and the Princess Evie series (Simon and Schuster) which has sold over a million copies worldwide.
Peter Gill started in publishing by founding Graffeg in 2003. Graffeg publish illustrated books about food, culture, history, travel, wildlife and books for children. Peter has a background in design starting with the BBC Wales as head of graphics. He then formed Design Systems with a partner, and later opened his own design studio Peter Gill & Associates. Graffeg now have over 200 titles in print selling to worldwide customers.

20:00 – 21:30 – Poetry Opening Night

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Join us for the 1st night of the Writing Festival with contributions from:

Poet and organiser of the Swansea Poetry Slam Iqbal Malik

Bi-lingual poet and literary critic Frank Olding

Joelle Taylor is an award-winning poet, playwright, author and editor.

Writer and performer clare e. potter