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Poet Gillian Clarke announced as English-language President of The Welsh Academy | 27-Mar-15

The Welsh Academy, the national society of writers in Wales, has announced the appointment of acclaimed poet Gillian Clarke as the new English-language President. The current National Poet of Wales joins poet, fictional prose writer and critic Bobi Jones, who holds the role of Welsh-language President of The Welsh Academy.

Gillian Clarke will be inducted as President in a public ceremony on Saturday 25 April at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, alongside the new Welsh Academy Fellows. This will form part of a day of public events run by The Welsh Academy called, The Short Story in Wales: Short Fiction Yesterday and Today. To find out more about this exciting day of readings, talks and debate, visit www.literaturewales.org or contact: philip@thewelshacademy.co.uk 

Born in Cardiff and now living in Ceredigion, Gillian Clarke is one of the central figures in contemporary Welsh poetry. Her poetry is studied by GCSE and A Level students throughout Britain and her work has been translated into 10 languages. She has also made her cultural mark through her inspirational role as a teacher, as editor of the Anglo-Welsh Review from 1975-1984, as co-founder of Ty Newydd Writing Centre and as National Poet of Wales.

 In her role as National Poet of Wales Gillian has travelled extensively within and outside Wales, representing the bilingual nature of Welsh poetry and speaking with tact, passion, truth and persuasion. She has been a bold advocate for Wales, poetry, writers, readers and children, across the globe, including India, Bangladesh, New York, Luxembourg and Italy.

Gillian Clarke's presidency is part of The Welsh Academy's rejuvenation as the national society of writers in Wales. She will represent and celebrate our nation's writers within and outside the borders of Wales. Gillian's first public appointment will be The Welsh Academy's Gwyn Jones Lecture Series at Hay Festival where she will speak on the life and work of Alun Lewis.

Gillian Clarke follows in the footsteps of long-term President Dannie Abse, who passed away in 2014 having made an immense contribution to Welsh literature.

Gillian Clarke said: "It is a great honour to be invited to succeed the wonderful Dannie Abse as President of The Welsh Academy. There is work to be done, boundaries to be crossed. Such a position within The Welsh Academy, like the role of National Poet, can be used to promote Wales, support our languages and the love of reading. I hope to speak up for Wales, poetry, writers and readers, especially children, whenever I get the chance. There are causes to support, libraries to save, two languages to foster, the planet to rescue. Let's do it!"

Tom Anderson, Chair of The Welsh Academy, said: "This is a move that will be fantastic for Welsh literature. To have one of the defining writers of our generation accept this position as President of the Welsh Academy is truly a moment to savour. Writing and reading in this nation is truly a shared experience and it's wonderful how willing someone of Gillian's prominence is to be part of that sense of community. On behalf of all our members, we'd like to say a big 'thank you Gillian'."

The Welsh Academy is supported by Literature Wales, the national company for the development of literature. For more information on The Welsh Academy, visit: www.literaturewales.org



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