Christopher Meredith wins international scholarship

The Welsh poet and novelist Christopher Meredith, has been awarded the Translators’ House Wales/HALMA international scholarship for 2012/2013. He will spend two separate month-long writing residencies abroad, supported by the HALMA network of literary houses – the first in Finland at the end of October and the second in Slovenia in the New Year.

The scholarship stems from Translators’ House Wales/Tŷ Cyfieithu Cymru’s membership of HALMA, which connects and co-ordinates 27 literature and translation centres across Europe. The first residency is at an art nouveau wooden writers and translators’ house in Jyväskylä in the north of Finland while Chris will travel to Novo Mesto in Slovenia in January for the second residency where he will be hosted by Goga publishers.

Christopher Meredith has won a number of awards for his writing, including an Eric Gregory Award, the Arts Council of Wales Young Writer Prize and the Fiction Prize for his first novel, Shifts. His fourth novel, The Book of Idiots, was published this year by Seren Books and has been selected by Wales Literature Exchange for its Autumn 2012 Bookcase.

Born and brought up in Tredegar, Chris has been a steelworker and a schoolteacher and is now professor of creative writing at the University of Glamorgan. Publications include three volumes of poetry, four novels. He is also a literary translator.

Chris says: “Winning the scholarship is a great honour, but much more than that it’s a chance for me to learn and to grow as a writer. I intend to work on poems and fictions with their feet in the earth of my own home patch, but also to work with whatever unexpected things present themselves to me in these two countries.” Living in Brecon, one of Chris’s recent projects was a series of commissioned poems about the eroding peat on the Black Mountains as part of the Bog-Mawnog exhibition. Some of these were published in a booklet, Black Mountains, in 2011. He hopes to spend time further developing this work for full publication during his forthcoming residencies abroad.

Speaking on behalf of Translators’ House Wales, Sioned Puw Rowlands says: “Giving writers the chance to work in a different cultural environment can be highly rewarding. It encourages the writer to look at his or her work in a very different way. Writing residencies abroad – either for Welsh writers travelling there or foreign writers coming to work in Wales – was part of the original vision for Translators’ House Wales when Wales Literature Exchange and Tŷ Newydd established the partnership in 2009. Previous scholarship holders include Siân Melangell Dafydd and Tristan Hughes in 2011.”

Later this year, Translators’ House Wales will be welcoming Finnish poet, Harry Salmenniemi, to Tŷ Newydd: National Writers’ Centre for Wales, also as part of the Translators' House Wales/HALMA programme.

The scholarship programme was made possible thanks to the support of Wales Arts International and Literature Across Frontiers.

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