A poet who grew up in Llandrindod Wells has been revealed as Chief Bard at the Carmarthenshire Urdd Eisteddfod.

Tegwen Bruce-Deans won the Eisteddfod Chair today (Thursday) with the piece ‘Rhwng Dau Le’ (Between Two Places). 

Born in London, Tegwen’s family moved to Llandrindod Wells when she was two years old.  Tegwen attended Builth Wells High School (now Ysgol Calon Cymru) and graduated in Welsh from Bangor University. Having settled in the city she now works as a researcher for BBC Radio Cymru.

This year the competitors were tasked with composing a poem or strict metre or verse libre poems, of no more than 100 lines on the theme ‘River’.  11 poets presented their work for the competition. 

Competing under the pseudonym ‘Gwawr’, judges Hywel Griffiths and Gwennan Evans said the following of the winning piece: “Gwawr is the competition's most accomplished and mature poet. 

“The strength of the collection is the way in which the poet has managed to turn around specific personal experiences to experiences we can relate to, regardless of our age. More than any of the other candidates, by subtly handling the image of the river, the poet has managed to turn it into her own mill, rather than being carried away by the flow, and is completely worthy of Carmarthenshire’s Urdd Eisteddfod Chair.”

Explaining the inspiration behind her work Tegwen said: “After I graduated from university last year, my partner and I bought an old student house. It was a period of readjustment after coming out of education for the first time in many years, and as a result, a feeling like I'd lost part of my identity. On top of that I felt like I no longer had a sense of 'home' while we waited to start making roots in our new house.

“I was 'between two places' mentally and physically, and trying to make sense of the mixture of feelings and emotions that came as a result of this is the collection of poems.  Whilst putting pen to paper, the metaphor of a river on its journey between two places perfectly captured the number of different feelings I was trying to portray, and consequently pulling it all together at the end."

Tegwen continued: “Being able to say that a girl from Lewisham has won the Urdd National Eisteddfod Chair is pretty cool! But on a serious note, one of the things I love to promote the most is that anyone can be a poet – not just old white men from a traditional Welsh background. So, the fact that I can contribute to a small, small part of that movement of changing people's attitudes towards the idea of a contemporary poet is priceless.”

The second prize was awarded to Tesni Peers (20) from Rhosllannerchrugog near Wrexham, and the third prize to Buddug Watcyn Roberts (22) from Bangor.

The Eisteddfod Chair was presented this year by T Richard Jones Ltd Company from Betws. The Chair has been designed and created by local craftsman Bedwyn Rees from Hermon, Cynwyl Elfed who is the owner of a local Welsh family business Old Oak Kitchens. Bedwyn specialises in making kitchens and handmade furniture. The competition is sponsored by Ivor and Aeres Evans Trust.

All results from the Urdd Eisteddfod can be found on the s4c.cymru/urdd website.

The Urdd Carmarthenshire Eisteddfod is being held this week, between May 29 and June 3.

You can also follow all the fun on social media by searching Urdd hashtag #Urdd2023.