Hay Festival has today announced the participants of this year’s Writers at Work, a creative development programme for emerging Welsh talent at Hay Festival 2023 (25 May–4 June) with the support of Literature Wales, funded by Arts Council of Wales.
Offering a fully-programmed week of creative development opportunities, Writers at Work allows the selected writers to engage in the main Festival events, to attend masterclasses and workshops with publishers, agents and, crucially, with established international artists. Open to writers working in English and Welsh across genres – fiction, non-fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry ¬– this year’s 10 successful applicants are:
• Connor Allen• Sophie Buchaillard • Brennig Davies • Nia Davies• Gwenllian Ellis• Louise Mumford• Taz Rahman• Francesca Reece• Anthony Shapland• Emma Smith-Barton
Writers at Work is a Hay Festival project supported by Literature Wales – the national company for the development of literature – and run by writer Tiffany Murray. Participants to date have achieved a spread of award wins and shortlistings, including the International Dylan Thomas Prize, Wales Book of the Year, The New Welsh Writing Award, the Wasafiri New Writing Prize, Wales Media Award, Welsh Rising Star Award, and Creative Wales Award.Established in 2016 to nurture Welsh talent writing in both languages, Writers at Work was paused during the Covid-19 pandemic. 2023 will mark its fifth year.
Hay Festival CEO Julie Finch said: “Hay Festival is a convener of writers, readers and – crucially – creative opportunities. As one of Wales’ largest cultural institutions we are proud of our Welsh roots and take our responsibility to the cultural landscape of Wales seriously.
"We are delighted to bring 10 invigorating Writers at Work to this year’s festival, with a brand new format to meet the challenges Wales’ emerging creatives face today, guarding and growing our creative impact for the future.”
Literature Wales Artistic Director Leusa Llewelyn said: “It’s a pleasure to be working with Hay Festival again on this important writer development programme. It has nurtured and inspired so many great Welsh writers who are now firmly established within our literary culture.
"Beyond developing the skills and knowledge of individual writers, it brings together a magical mix of creative minds from all parts of the country. Previous programmes have led to the creation of new networks and collaborations that have played an important part in transforming Wales’ literature into a more representative, enterprising and forward-thinking artform.”
Writer and former participant Darren Chetty said: “Being part of Writers at Work 2019 was a superb experience. I got to hear from leading writers and be part of a supportive community of Welsh writers.
"Three of us who met as Writers at Work went on to co-edit Welsh (Plural): Essays on the Future of Wales.”
Hay Festival is the world’s leading festival of ideas, bringing readers and writers together in sustainable events to inspire, examine and entertain on the edge of the Brecon Beacons/Bannau Brycheiniog National Park This year’s programme launches the best new fiction and non-fiction, while offering insights and debate around significant global issues. Award-winning writers, policy makers, pioneers and innovators take part from around the world, offering big thinking and bold ideas.Guests include writers Margaret Atwood, Barbara Kingsolver, Eleanor Catton, Max Porter, Jonathan Coe, Leïla Slimani, Fflur Dafydd, Caleb Azumah Nelson, Alys Conran, Richard Ford, Jojo Moyes, Horatio Clare, Natalie Haynes, Richard Osman, Douglas Stuart, Elif Shafak, Katherine May; poets Simon Armitage, Owen Sheers, Carol Ann Duffy, Rufus Mufasa and Michael Rosen; YA star Alice Oseman; children’s heroes Cressida Cowell, Jacqueline Wilson, Julia Donaldson, Connor Allen; music icons Stormzy, Dua Lipa, The Proclaimers, Levellers, Judi Jackson, Baaba Maal, Zhadan and the Dogs; comedians Dara Ó Briain, Tom Allen, Jason Byrne, Kiri Pritchard-McLean, Josie Long, Isy Suttie, Mark Steel; stars of stage and screen Helena Bonham Carter, Richard E. Grant, Olivia Williams, Samuel West; politicians and policy makers Sadiq Khan, chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance; journalists George Monbiot, Alastair Campbell, Marina Hyde, Gary Younge, Lyse Doucet; activist Munroe Bergdorf; economist Mariana Mazzucato; historians Lucy Worsley, Simon Schama, Irene Vallejo; artist Tracey Emin; foodies Mary Berry, Jack Monroe, Ruth Rogers, Andi Oliver and Prue Leith; Thinkers in Residence Laura Bates, Will Gompertz, David Olusoga, Charlotte Williams; and many more. Providing exciting new platforms to discover fresh ideas, Hay Festival invites audiences to imagine the world as it is and as it might be. It is a catalyst for change and action, open and accessible to all.