World Book Day Lecture

2 Mar 2010

On Tuesday 2 March, the Welsh Books Council held the annual World Book Day lecture at the Wales Millennium Centre. This year’s guest speaker was Professor Sir Deian Hopkin.

Alun Ffred Jones AM, Heritage Minister, will introduce Professor Hopkin and Gareth Davies Jones, Vice Chairman of the Welsh Books Council, will chair the evening. The lecture will be attended by representatives from major bodies and organisations, including universities, libraries, education and corporate organisations.

Alun Ffred Jones, Heritage Minister, said: ‘I am delighted to have been asked to introduce this lecture. Sir Deian Hopkin has for many years played a key role in raising awareness and understanding of Welsh history and I am looking forward to hearing his book recommendations. World Book Day plays an important role in raising awareness of the benefits of reading and, amongst other things, the services provided by public libraries. The Welsh Assembly Government has an on-going commitment to investing in and refurbishing public libraries which provide an invaluable resource for the public to research the rich history of Wales.’

Sir Deian will be talking about ‘Books – Gifts to Remember’ and selecting five books, currently in print, which he would like to suggest as gifts to notable individuals or to friends. His selections range from a novel to a historical biography, from memoirs of a jazz career to a retrospective collection of poetry, and from Llanelli to the Spanish Civil War; all the books have some bearing on Sir Deian’s own life and interests and have strong resonances with Wales.

Sir Deian Hopkin was born in Llanelli and educated at Ysgol Dewi Sant, Llandovery College and Aberystwyth University. A historian by profession, he has enjoyed a career extending over 40 years in higher education; he taught at Queen Mary College London, the Open University and, for 24 years, at Aberystwyth University where he was Head of the History Department before becoming Dean of Human Sciences and later Vice Provost at London Guildhall University. In 2001 he was appointed Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of London South Bank University from where he retired in 2009. Recently he conducted the independent inquiry, on behalf of the Government, into the Student Loans Company and its problems.

He is actively involved in the skills agenda and higher education policy, serving on a number of national bodies and chairing two Government advisory bodies; he is also closely involved in charitable and community work.  He has been given a number of honorary awards from universities and professional bodies, and in 2009 he was knighted for his services to higher education and to skills in the UK.  He is also a regular broadcaster on BBC Wales and BBC Cymru, is a frequent contributor to the press and has performed for many years as a jazz pianist, appearing on several occasions at the Brecon Jazz Festival and elsewhere in Wales.

Elwyn Jones, Director of the Welsh Books Council commented "Professor Hopkin is a wonderful speaker and we are thrilled that he is our guest lecturer for World Book Day 2010."

Sir Deian Hopkin said:  "It is a privilege to be invited to speak at such a significant event.  I look forward to explaining my very personal choice of books. As a historian I understand only too well the central part that books play in understanding our past. In a technological age, we should not forget that books – traditional but enduring media – provide unique insights into people and places.  They also make splendid and lasting gifts!"

World Book Day 2010 takes place on Thursday 4 March with many varied and interesting activities, workshops and events taking place across Wales. To find out more please go to:  http://bit.ly/worldbookday

Gwales

Books from Wales on-line

gwales.com