Lost Gems from Our Leading Writers Unearthed in Archive; FILM REVEALS AUTHORS READING THEIR WORKS

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Byline: ROBIN TURNER

A SERIES of nine "lost interviews" with top fiction writers from Wales have been rediscovered 20 years after they were produced.

The filmed recordings have been described as "an important part of Welsh literary history".

They were made between 1990 and 1993 in a studio on the campus of the former Polytechnic of Wales, now the University of Glamorgan.

They include conversations with writers such as Cardiff-born former Booker Prize winner Bernice Reubens; Western Mail columnist, TV screenwriter and author Elaine Morgan from Pontypridd; Carmarthen novelist Sian James and Cardiff poet, author and playwright Dannie Abse.

The recordings will first be shown on Wednesday this week as the results of the Rhys Davies Short Story Competition are announced at an official ceremony in the newly refurbished Norwegian Church, Cardiff Bay. The recordings were made possible by a grant from the Welsh Arts Council.

Although there had been previous audio recordings of poets from Wales there was no such record of novelists and short story writers.

Tony Curtis, Professor of Poetry at the University of Glamorgan, and producer of the recordings, said: "The interviews are very much of their time, pre-digital and made with a limited budget.

"There is no make-up, no gimmicks with the camera, and the opening music was played by my 13-year-old daughter playing a piano practice piece.

"There was no rehearsal, just a broad agreement about the extract to be read and the direction of the conversation. There are no media frills: just talking heads - but what heads, what voices!" Now, two decades on, the University of Glamorgan together with Literature Wales will soon be making the recordings permanently available again, on the Literature Wales website, as a resource for students and researchers and for the enjoyment of literature fans. They can also be seen on YouTube.

University of Glamorgan professor and award-winning poet, Philip Gross said: "The rediscovery of these recordings comes as the university prepares to celebrate its centenary. "This archive of interviews and readings by important Welsh fiction writers originally came about at the time that the university was starting its creative writing programme. "This is a small, but certainly very important piece of Welsh literary history. …