Bookcase Focus: An Interview with Marged Tudur

Bookcase Focus: An Interview with Marged Tudur

Wales Literature Exchange interviewed our Bookcase author Marged Tudur, about her writing and her influences.

 

1. What first inspired you to be an author and where do your ideas come from?

In 2015 whilst studying for a master’s degree in Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University I had to create a portfolio of creative work. At the same time I lost my older brother in a tragic road accident. During this tumultuous period I was overcome with grief and the accident and my brother were the only things I could write about. In hindsight I believe that being able to write poetry about something so raw actually had a cathartic effect on me.

Initially I was reluctant to publish the poems but having applied for a Welsh Literature scholarship in 2019 I was fortunate enough to receive a new author scholarship. This provided the initiative to rewrite, refine and have the chance to publish my first collection of poetry.

I struggle to put a finger on where my ideas come from. I just know that if I didn’t put pen to paper I’d struggle emotionally to function day to day.

 

2. How would you describe your writing?

I usually write about small, ordinary, everyday feelings, events and experiences. At first glance they seem insignificant but when I dig deeper I notice that there are hidden stories below the surface and as I write and redraft and scrutinize over every word, I learn something new and I see the world differently. Writing poems helps me to make sense of the bigger picture and consider what is my part to play.

 

3. Which authors have influenced you the most?

The poet T. H. Parry Williams is an obvious influence and another poet who was under Parry-Williams’s influence; Iwan Llwyd. I admire the directness and simplicity of their words – when merged together they are remarkable, they live inside of me, they matter. Their poems have become truths, proverbs, mantras, gospels in my life and they reverberate in my head in moments of sadness, fear, grief, doubt, happiness and love. 

I am also heavily indebted to Rhys Iorwerth whose poems grab me by my throat and take my breath away. As a friend and mentor I have learnt so much from him and I’m extremely fortunate for his advice and guidance. 

 

4. In your opinion what are the biggest challenges that writers face today – and do you think these challenges have changed since you started writing?

The world is changing at a rate we have never seen before. It is a complex and scary place – we are living through a climate crisis, racism pandemic, mental health epidemic and restrictions on basic rights for LGBTQ + people, women, Black people and people of ethnic minorities. The biggest challenge is to be alert and respond to people’s needs. Everyone’s story should be told. I must also consider my role as a poet – when should I speak and reach out, when should I support and empower other voices. When every voice is heard, some light will penetrate the darkness.

 

5. What are the hardest and easiest parts of being a writer?

I don’t think it’s possible to categorize the hardest or easiest parts of being a writer. I’m constantly questioning myself if I’m actually a real poet or a fraud, or like we’d say in Welsh; ‘bardd cocos’.

I constantly feel I could do better. I agonize over the suitability of every word and worry whether the words do justice to the genuine truth I’m trying to convey. When I do feel like the words have clicked into place and ring true, I can almost feel satisfied and even content.

 

6. Which writer from Wales would you recommend to readers and why?

It is hard to name only one writer. I could name Angharad Price, Mererid Hopwood, Manon Steffan Ros, Lleucu Roberts, Llŷr Gwyn Lewis, R. S. Thomas. But for an author that truly reflects the Wales of today I would highly recommend Megan Angharad Hunter who was the winner of Wales Book of the Year 2021. She is one of the most electrifying, mind-blowing, ground-breaking writers in Wales today and she is taking Welsh literature to new and exciting territories.

 

Mynd is selected to the Wales Literature Exchange 2021–22 Bookcase, our annual selection of recent Welsh literary works which we recommend for translation.

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