Future Beacons Writer in Residence Shortlist Announced

We are delighted to announce the shortlist for the 2022-23 Future Beacons Writer in Residence. Over 130 applications for the residency were received and the judges were delighted with the standard of application. The residency is being run in partnership with the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority, Black Mountains College and the Hay Festival.

The appointed writers (one Welsh-language, one English) will each receive £10,000 to deliver a year-long project that seeks to address the climate and nature emergencies.

We are delighted to announce the shortlist as follows:

Welsh Language

Gareth Evans-Jones hails from Traeth Bychan near Marian-glas, Ynys Môn (Angelesy(, and is a Philosophy and Religion lecturer at Bangor University, where he teaches a range of subjects including nature and religion and environmental ethics. He has published several pieces of prose including a novel titled Eira Llwyd (Grey Snow) (Gwasg y Bwthyn 2018), and a volume of literature and pictures responding to places along the Welsh coastline and Offa’s Dyke, titled Cylchu Cymru (Circling Wales)  (Y Lolfa 2022) is published in July. Gareth is also a dramatist, having won the National Eisteddfod Drama Medal in 2019 and 2021. We collaborated with Frân Wen to create Ynys Alys which toured Wales in the spring of 2022. He is passionate about the relationship between nature and literature and is keen to observe in his work. He feels it is an immense privilege to be on the shortlist.

Aneirin Karadog is a poet and linguist fluent in five languages including Breton. He won the National Eisteddfod Chair in Abergavenny in 2016 and was Wales Children’s Poet, 2013-2015. He has published and translated several books, including three volumes of poetry. He works part-time as a Welsh lecturer and project co-ordinator for Trinity St David’s University and is also a freelance poet. He also co-presents and prodices a monthly poetry podcast with Eurig Salisbury, called ‘Clera’. He has completed a doctorate at Swansea University Welsh department on the relationship between the poet, his medium and audience.

Grug Muse is a poet an writer from Ddyffryn Nantlle.She has been part of literature festivals in Greece, Latvia and Germany and her work has been translated to several languages including Croatian, German and Greek. She has written for various Publications including the Guardian, Planet, O’r Pedwar Gwynt and the Letters Page. Her second volume of poetry, merch y llyn, was on the shortlist of Book of the Year this year. She co- edits Welsh (Plural), a volume about Wales and Welshness, published Repeater (2022).

Rebecca Thomas is an author and historian who lives in Cardiff. Her literary essay ‘Cribo’r Dragon’s Back’ won the inaugural O’r Pedwar Gwynt essay prize (2021). Her first novel for young adults Dan Gysgod y Frenhines will be published by Gwasg Carreg Gwalch this summer. She studied history at Cambridge University, before gaining a doctorate in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic there. Currently she works as a British Academy post-doctoral researcher in the School of Welsh, Cardiff University. Her monograph on medieval identity History and Identity in Early Medieval Wales was published by Boydell & Brewer in 2022 and she has published widely on different aspects of medieval Wales.

English Language

Alys Fowler is a gardener, writer and presenter. She writes a weekly column on gardening for The Guardian Weekend Magazine. She has contributed to Gardens Illustrated, The Observer Food Monthly, The National Geographic and Country Living and Time Out. Alys trained at Royal Horticultural Society Wisley, The New York Botanical Gardens, and The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.  She has written several books on gardening and food growing and was shortlisted for the Wainwright prize for her nature writing memoir, Hidden Nature. She has just published her first work of fiction, The Woman Who Buried Herself with Hazel Press. She is passionate about plants and soil and loves nothing more to immerse herself into the living world. She is particularly interested in watery spaces and has a deep love for peat bogs. She lives with her wife, small dog and lots of plants. 

Hanan Issa is a Welsh-Iraqi poet, filmmaker, and artist. Her publications include her poetry collection My Body Can House Two Hearts and Welsh Plural: Essays on the Future of Wales. Her winning monologue With Her Back Straight was performed at the Bush Theatre as part of the Hijabi Monologues. She was also part of the writersroom for Channel 4’s ground-breaking series We Are Lady Parts alongside its award-winning creator, Nida Manzoor. She is co-founder of the Where I’m Coming From open mic series. She was the recipient of the 2020 Ffilm Cymru/ BBC Wales commission for her short film The Golden Apple as well as the 2021 recipient of Literature Wales’ Representing Wales Award.  

Owen Thomas is an award-winning Playwright whose previous plays include ‘The Wood’ and ‘Grav’. Grav’, has toured extensively, with performances in London, Edinburgh, Washington, and New York. It returns to the Edinburgh Festival this August. ‘Grav’ was made into a film last year by S4C. Directed by Marc Evans, (Director: The Pembrokeshire Murders – ITV1) it was nominated Best Film in the 2022 Celtic Media Awards. Owen’s latest play, ‘Carwyn’, about the life of Carwyn James, was produced by the Torch Theatre. It toured Wales in the Spring to critical acclaim. In 2019, ‘West’, his first American commission, premiered in Milwaukee, to a standing ovation. ‘West’ has just completed an award winning run of shows at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in Los Angeles. He recently wrote ‘When the Night Fell’ to mark the reopening of Theatr Brycheiniog after the Covid pandemic. He is currently developing new theatre and film projects.

David Urry has worked as a science communicator for over a decade, partnering with environmental scientists to share their research and stories, writing, and producing educational resources, talks, articles, videos, podcasts, theatre and music. More recently, he has brought his own voice to the fore, and was selected as a featured poet as part of the Kensington and Chelsea Art Festival, and had the opportunity to deliver a spoken word piece at COP 26, as part of The Nature Bar. Now residing on the edges of the Bannau Brycheiniog, David has spent hours exploring the National Park by bike and foot, and it has served as a sanctuary, playground, and constant source of inspiration.

The finalists for the residency will be announced by the end of July.