Ceri Shaw



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Category: Events


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Gladfest 2021 details click here

AmeriCymru:  Hi Rhian and many thanks for agreeing to this interview. What can you tell us about the location and history of the Gladstone Library.

Rhian: Hi Ceri, nice to chat with you.  

Gladstone's Library is based in beautiful Hawarden in Flintshire, North Wales. The library collection was originally based in a temporary building set up by William Gladstone, who was prime minister several times over. After his death, a new building - the one which stands today - was designed and built. It has been described as an example of the Victorian Gothic style, but I'm not an architecture buff, so don't quote me on that. I can tell you it's the only library in the UK where you can stay overnight; the building houses 26 bedrooms. It has two wings - you'll find the Reading Rooms in one wing and most of the bedrooms in the other. Some of the books belonged to Gladstone himself. The beds are all new, though.

AmeriCymru:  You offer accommodation at the library. Care to share some details?

Rhian: I think I accidentally answered that (and Q2) in my first response. Yes, there are bedrooms on-site, including two accessible rooms on the ground floor. They're designed to be simple and uncluttered; a lot of our guests come to Gladstone's to write or research, so the fewer distractions, the better. None of them have TVs, but they all have private bathrooms and fresh, uncomplicated decor. 

Gladstone's is a registered charity, and its remit includes supporting and hosting both emerging and established writers. Our Writers in Residence scheme is part of this. Katie Hale, who wrote  I am Monster , will be our next Writer in Residence, so she'll be staying with us in one of those rooms for an extended period - and she will also make an appearance at Gladfest. 

AmeriCymru:  There were guided tours of the library. Have these resumed 'post-pandemic'?

Rhian: Gladstone's did offer 'glimpses' of our Reading Rooms. This is a working library, and our Reading Rooms are silent study spaces, but we found that a lot of visitors who came here for cake and coffee were curious about what went on behind the library doors. Glimpses allowed us to show them the Reading Rooms, which are the really iconic part of Gladstone's, and to share a bit of the history. We are still thinking about how best to proceed when we reopen, but for now glimpses are on hold. 

AmeriCymru:  When was the first Gladfest held? What is the history of the event?

 Gladfest was first held in 2013 and has been a mainstay of our calendar ever since. The pandemic in 2020 made it unworkable, and we were unsure whether it would go ahead this year, so we're really pleased to be able to offer what we can. It's going to take some adjusting, as our supporters are used to being at Gladstone's in person. We know the library building itself is a big part of the draw. Going online means that will change for our attendees. But if the event is successful, that will be a big boost in terms of ensuring Gladfest 2022 can offer both digital and in-person events.

AmeriCymru:  What are the main attractions of this years' festival?

Rhian: We don't really have a keynote speaker or headliner, exactly. All our writers offer unique and fascinating glimpses into the world of literature, whether that's fiction or non-fiction. So, really, they are all our main attractions! There is one slightly unusual talk this year, however. Peter Francis, who has been Warden of Gladstone's Library, is launching his debut, a memoir called  The Widening Circle of Us . The book features insights into the running of Gladstone's Library, as that has been a significant part of his life, so that's going to be interesting. 

AmeriCymru:  There is an online component to this year's festival. Care to tell us more?

Rhian: The festival is still based in Gladstone's Library. All the talks will be livestreamed from the chapel using 4k video feeds, so though it's online, it won't be like watching a teleconference through a webcam. We liked the idea of opening Gladfest up to the whole world, of having Gladstone's go global. We want to bring the library to you.

AmeriCymru:  Any final message for the readers and members of AmeriCymru?

Rhian: Firstly, thank you for reading. If you do want to keep in touch, we have a mailing list which you can sign up to at  www.gladstoneslibrary.org . We also have a US branch of our Friends programme. Our Friends are financial supporters, and we're very grateful to them, as they make it possible for us to do what we do. Finally, if any of you find yourself in Wales, do pop in for a paned. 


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The North American Festival of Wales may not be meeting in person this year, but virtual events are still in the works, and the #NAFOW #Eisteddfod carries on!  


This year, they offer two new competitions - - Poetry Composition in Welsh and English.  Click on the link for all relevant information & guidelines!


The winner (if any) in each category gets a grand prize of $250 (US), plus an opportunity to recite your work for "virtual" #NAFOW events over Labor Day weekend.  


The theme for this year is "Hope/Gobaith", applicable to both competitions.  Entries submitted for English Language also must involve some relevance to Wales and/or Welsh history or culture.  Specifics on requested poem length and meter, etc., are in the detailed guidelines.


There is no entry fee for either competition, and the deadline for entering is August 12, 2020.  (Please note:  this is not a postmark deadline; all entries must be received by that date.)  Submissions will be accepted via email as well as via air/surface mail; please consult the detailed guidelines for specific instructions.


So go ahead, start writing... and please write to  eisteddfod@nafow.org  with any questions!


LINK TO NAFOW EISTEDDFOD PAGE:  http://festivalofwales.org/ eisteddfod-2020.html

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For those headed to the North American Festival of Wales (NAFOW) in the DC area later this year ( Aug. 30 - Sept. 2 ), you still have an opportunity to enter one of our Eisteddfod competitions!

Everyone has a wide choice of seven (7) different competitions in singing or poetic recitation - suiting all ages and different levels of proficiency in Welsh. Singers can join our Semi-Professional (David Morris) competition to win a generous cash scholarship for travel to compete at next year's National Eisteddfod of Wales (Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru) in Llanrwst (North Wales).  The info./entry form is available at this link:   http://thewnaa.org/ eisteddfod-competition.html .

All competitions are on Sat., Sept. 1 , and are time-limited to help you enjoy everything else at the Festival.... So, enter today - or contact the Eisteddfod Committee with questions (see form) - and make yourself part of a great, historic Welsh tradition! 

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Portland Noson Lawen 2018

By Ceri Shaw, 2018-06-15

Join us for an evening of music, song, and good times at our annual Noson Lawen, thrown by the Welsh Society of Oregon, and co-sponsored by Bryn Seion Welsh Church. Features the Welsh Society Choir, Andrea Wild & the Bad Wolves, our own children's troupe Y Ddreigiau Fach (Little Dragons), ViVoce Women's Chorus and the Bridgetown Morrismen.

Admission is sliding scale starting at $10 (with discounts for families). Doors open at 6:30 and the music starts around 7pm.


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Gymanfa_Flyer_2018.pdf 83rd Annual Gymanfa Ganu Flyer
Gymanfa_Flyer_2018.pdf, 356KB


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A Christmas in Wales - Portland, Oregon

By Ceri Shaw, 2017-12-04

7:00 - 8:30 pm, Dec 16, 2017

Saint David of Wales Episcopal Church, 2800 SE Harrison St, Portland, Oregon 97124

The Welsh Society of Oregon (WSOR) celebrates Christmas in song and story, bringing together Welsh vocal and instrumental music of the season along with a reading of the classic Welsh Christmas tale, "A Child's Christmas in Wales." Suggested donation is $10.

The musical program features the WSOR's own choir (directed by Dr. Jamie Webster ) singing carols and other seasonal music old and new in Welsh and English. Joining them will be special guests Three Pound Note, Portland's only Welsh folk music band, an ensemble of pipes, fiddle, and other traditional instruments, and the delightful vocal harmonies of Andrea Wild and Hugo Glanville . To top the evening, and continuing a longstanding Portland tradition, Jonathan Nicholas will give a reading of Dylan Thomas’ much-loved Christmas tale.

The Welsh Society Choir draws on the rich traditions of choral singing in Wales, long known as “the land of song.” In addition to the very successful annual Christmas Concert, the choir also holds a Noson Lawen , a night of fun and singing, every June. They also occasionally sing at the Gymanfa Ganu (Welsh hymn singing festival) at Bryn Seion Welsh Church, and at other events during the year such as the Samhain Celtic New Year Festival in Salem. Dr. Jamie Lynn Webster also directs the Portland Revels’ ViVoce Women’s Ensemble and the Chautauqua Community Chorus.

Three Pound Note features two ex-pats from the UK, both of Welsh descent. Andrea Wild and Hugo Glanville have a broad and engaging repertoire of traditional folk music from their native homeland. The two have merged with uilleann piper and fiddler, Preston Howard and award-winning multi-instrumentalist, Zac Leger to blend vocal harmonies, bouzouki, guitar, fiddle, whistles and pipes using elements from Welsh, Breton and Cornish music traditions. They deliver the audience a rare opportunity to hear lively arrangements of Welsh folk music performed in the Welsh language.

Jonathan Nicholas is an author, journalist and avid storyteller, and is well-known for writing a column in The Oregonian for 25 years. He was born and raised in the valleys of south Wales “just up the road” from Swansea where Dylan Thomas as born

The Welsh Society of Oregon celebrates and perpetuates Welsh heritage, culture and music in Oregon and the Northwest. The WSOR is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

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By Ceri Shaw, 2017-07-19

It's time to enter the Eisteddfod competitions at The North American Festival of Wales Sept. 2, 2017, at the Hyatt Regency Rochester)!  As with last year in Calgary, three recitation and four singing competitions are on offer, including the Solo Voice / Semi-Professional Competition for the David Morris Memorial Award and the opportunity to win a generous cash scholarship for travel to compete at the 2018 National Eisteddfod of Wales (Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru)!

Please see the linked information sheet and entry form for more details, and feel free to reach out (as noted on p. 1) with any questions. In a major change from previous years (_excepting the Solo Voice / Semi-Professional Competition) there are NO entry fees! Thus this could be your year to make a run for a prize... click on the link and we'll see you onstage in Rochester!  

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From the Wikipedia: " Joseph Jenkins (27 February 1818 – 26 September 1898), was an educated tenant farmer from Tregaron, Ceredigion, mid-Wales who, when aged over 50, suddenly deserted his home and large family to seek his fortune in Australia. The Australian Dictionary of Biography says that "Jenkins's noteworthiness stemmed from the rich documentation of his experiences and thoughts that has survived". He was a consistent diarist for 58 years of his life and a consistent if not outstanding poet, under the bardic name Amnon II. He achieved fame posthumously from publication of some excerpts of his Australian writings. The compiler, his grandson Dr William Evans, a Harley Street cardiologist, coined the title Diary of a Welsh Swagman by which name he is familiar to generations of Victorian school students for whom the book became a prescribed history text in 1978." Read more here

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It's still not too late... to enter the Eisteddfod competitions on Saturday, September 3 , at the 2016 North American Festival of Wales (NAFOW) in Calgary!

We again are holding three competitions in poetic recitation: Adult and Welsh Learners', both involving recitation of a set piece from memory in Welsh, as well as English Language Recitation. Copies of the set pieces are made available to competitors upon application.

On the singing side, we have a new category this year for Solo Voice (Youth), open to those aged 15 and under and sponsored by the Calgary WELSH Society. As with the equivalent adult competition, all entrants will perform at least two songs, at least one of which must be in Welsh.

In addition to the new Solo Voice (Youth) competition, we'll be holding three more singing competitions: Hymn Singing, Solo Voice (Adult, 16 and over) and Solo Voice/Semi-Professional. The Solo Voice/Semi-Professional competition, as usual, offers the David G. Morris Memorial Award with a generous cash scholarship as a first prize, for travel to compete in the 2017 National Eisteddfod of Wales.

Our competition entry form (and information sheet) is available at the NAFOW website: http://www.nafow.org/WNAA_ NAFOW/PDFs/Forms/forms2016/ eisteddfod_2016.pdf .

Anyone may enter up to three competitions total, subject to restrictions noted on the entry form and information sheet. All entries must be received by August 20, 2016 . Please contact us at any time with questions (email: eisteddfod@nafow.org , phone: 412-215-9161 ), and we'll see you onstage in Calgary!

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