WORD OUT Lleucu Siencyn Post@literaturewales.Org

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), September 29, 2012 | Go to article overview

WORD OUT Lleucu Siencyn Post@literaturewales.Org


| hat is literature? This is a question I find myself answering a lot. Mainly through my work, in trying to define what exactly comes under the large banner of Literature Wales.

The "Wales" bit is relatively easy but - "Literature"? How do we define this? The simple answer is this: define it as widely as possible.

When the organisation recently changed its name from Academi to Literature Wales, the idea was to embrace the "does what it says on the tin" (Ronseal again) approach of explaining what we do. "Academi" could be several things (and we used to answer the telephone to people wishing to book a cut and blow-dry, as there's a very nice Academy of Hairdressers in Cardiff).

Literature Wales, on the other hand, can only mean the two words contained in the title.

And then I'm asked: what exactly are those things that can be called literature? Let's assume we all agree on the easy ones.

Poetry's in, and so are novels, short stories and literary criticism. What about play-writing and script-writing? They're all in.

How about literary non-fiction, which used to be called narrative non-fiction? Again, most definitely in.

Many previous Wales Book of the Year winners have been writing in this genre: from historian John Davies to travel writer John Harrison.

Then we get to film reviews, writing about food, art criticism, sports writing, fashion blogging, music journalism, rapping and stand-up comedy. Are they in? Anything to do with words, whether spoken, sung or written down, can be considered literature. The key is in the expression - the craft of putting the words together.

For example, think of your favourite sports writer. Think of the way he writes after a particularly thrilling game - Wales winning the Grand Slam for the third time. …

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