Library of Wales

17 Nov 2006

The second instalment in this diverse literary collection has been launched in Cardiff, hosted by Alun Pugh AM, Minister of Culture, Welsh Language and Sport. The event celebrated the new titles in this cultural significant series of works honouring the Welsh literary heritage.

Library of Wales

‘This series has filled an important but overlooked gap in our recent history, and informs our ongoing debate about Welsh identity and culture,’ noted Alun Pugh.

The four new titles are Ash on a Young Man’s Sleeve, Dannie Abse; A Man’s Estate, Emyr Humphreys; In the Green Tree, Alun Lewis and Home to an Empty House, Alun Richards.

Following the Cardiff launch, the arrival of the series on the London scene was heralded by an event at the Houses of Parliament with Dr Hywel Francis, MP, Chairman of the Welsh Affairs Committee.

‘Wales is a small country with a rich cultural heritage and a literary tradition going back to the sixth century. To date, the Library of Wales has been a big success, both commercially and in fulfilling its original aim of making out-of-print classics available to a new generation of readers. I am pleased that the Welsh Assembly Government’s decision to back the series has been rewarded,’ said Alun Pugh.

As part of Fraser Cains’s ‘Literary Lights’ programme, Alun Pugh, Minister for Culture, Welsh Language and Sport, and Professor Dai Smith, series editor, both visited the London Welsh Centre, Grays Inn Road for a further celebration of Welsh culture and literature.

The series has been an overwhelming success, with over 12,000 copies of the first titles being sold to date. The series has also been successful in the American literary market. As part of Parthian’s visit to New York earlier in the year, Alun Pugh presented a set of the Library of Wales titles to Alan Pally of the New York Public Library.

The Library of Wales educational resource pack has been designed to help teachers introduce Welsh writing in English into the classroom. Teachers are provided with ideas for activities for:

  • Placing each text within its social and historical context
  • Encouraging discussion and stimulating oral presentations
  • Understanding the themes.

The pack was written by Hayley Long, who was born in Ipswich. She now lives in Cardiff and works as an English teacher at Whitchurch High School.

‘It is important that children and people of all ages in Wales have access to literature which is rooted in their own experience and reflects their lives and heritage. The new Educational Resource Pack, excellently produced by experienced English teacher Hayley Long, is an important tool to help bring classics into the classroom and encourage discussion between pupils and about our culture,’ noted Alun Pugh.

Professor M. Wynn Thomas, Chairman of the Welsh Books Council added:
‘The success of this landmark series has been phenomenal – in terms of sales, public and media interest and the sheer quality of the books. These achievements are testimony to the growth and development of English-language publishing in Wales, as backed by the Welsh Books Council with the support of the Welsh Assembly Government. The Library of Wales series is an intrinsic part of the current resurgence of Welsh writing in English. After years of neglect, the future for Welsh writing in English – both classics and new writing – looks very promising indeed.’

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