An array of young writing talent was on show at the Terry Hetherington Awards 2014 on Friday 27th June. Held in the splendid surroundings of the Dylan Thomas Centre, the event was well organised and a tribute to all involved, most particularly the young writers. Three prize winners Robin Ganderton, Sion Tomos Owen and Georgia Carys Williams gave readings from their work, as did numbers of others during the evening.
Many of these young people were students on creative writing courses, with Swansea University's own programme well represented. The evening was also a tribute to the highly respected and influential Nigel Jenkins who died in January who had headed up the creative writing programme at Swansea University. As well as the literary presentations, local musicians Huw Pudner and Chris Hastings entertained the large audience during the course of the evening.
I found particularly moving too the rendition of the Rev. Eli Jenkins's prayer from Under Milk Wood by Neath father and son David and Daniel Williams. The evening also saw the launch of Cheval 7, the literary journal which contains many pieces from the young people who were represented that evening. Parthian Books, the independent Welsh publishers who produce this journal, are to be commended for their support of this awards evening. Alan Perry skilfully acted as the MC while Aida Birch's work behind the scenes is immense in perpetuating the memory of Terry Hetherington, a Neath man, who was so keen to support young writing talent.
The proceeds of the monthly Poems and Pints evenings held at the Cambrian Arms in Briton Ferry Road, Melincryddan, on the first Thursday of each month provide vital financial support for this annual literary award. It is cheering to think that the creative literary output of young people in Wales is supported by such keen local enthusiasts. Further information can be found at www.chevalwriters.org.uk.