Ceri Shaw


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From the Wikipedia Fort Belan :- "The fort was built in 1775 for a reported cost of £30,000 (£3,451,642 as of 2015), by Thomas Wynn, then MP for Caernarfonshire and later to become Lord Newborough. He was worried about the vulnerability of Britain’s coastline to attack, particularly because of the ongoing American War of Independence. Fort Belan was the only purpose-built fort of the American Revolution on the eastern side of the Atlantic Ocean."



RaeHowells_600_400.jpgThe Welsh Poetry Competition 2017 organisers have announced the winners of the 11th international competition, judged by acclaimed poet Kathy Miles, and the overall winner was Rae Howells for the poem Airlings.

The winners were as follows:

1st Prize: Airlings by Rae Howells (Swansea)

2nd Prize: Skimmers by Jane Burn (Consett)

3rd Prize: On watching a lemon sail the sea by Maggie Harris (Llandysul)

Kathy also choose another seventeen poems for the ‘Highly commended’ section with another fifteen poems also given a ‘special mention’. As always winners came from all over the world. All winning poems and judges’ comments can be viewed on the competition web site – www.welshpoetry.co.uk

Judge Kathy Miles said: “It has been a real honour to judge this year's Welsh Poetry Competition. And, with over 500 entries, a somewhat daunting task, not least because of the quality of the work submitted. Subjects were wide ranging; love, loss, the failure of relationships, and – as one would expect in such dark political times – anger at the world we live in. Many poems dealt with heart-breaking scenarios: death, the decline of a loved one into dementia, homelessness, war, the refugee crisis. There were also many pieces that focussed on Wales, and I was reminded again of how much wonderful poetry is inspired by the history, culture and language of the landscape around us.

“Judging is necessarily a subjective process; but from the start I looked for something different. A quirky style, a new slant on an old subject, a strong narrative voice, or imagery that lifted the poem from mere description into something that truly excited the imagination. It was such a strong field that I read each entry many times before deciding on the final placings: every poet had something unique to say, and I wanted to give every poet the chance to shine. The Highly Commended poems in particular were very close, and all of an extremely high standard, so the choice was difficult.

“Inevitably, the poems which made it through were those that kept me awake at night. Poems which tugged at the edges of my dreams, or whose words huddled in little corners of my mind and leapt out when I least expected it. Well done to everyone who entered. It has been wonderful -and humbling- to see so much talent. A huge thank you to Dave Lewis for encouraging and fostering that talent and for inviting me to be the judge this year.”

Full list of winners:


Judged by Kathy Miles

1st Prize: Airlings by Rae Howells (Swansea)

2nd Prize: Skimmers by Jane Burn (Consett)

3rd Prize: On watching a lemon sail the sea by Maggie Harris (Llandysul)


4th: Ten Minutes – Natalie Ann Holborow (Skewen)

5th: Hare on the lane – Louise Wilford (Barnsley)

6th: Sunflower Encolpion – Mara Adamitz Scrupe (USA)

7th: Bergamask for the Neoplatonists – Mick Evans (Llangadog)

8th: Bones, not human – Caroline Davies (Leighton Buzzard)

9th: The art of moving a piano into an upstairs flat – Kittie Belltree (Cardigan)

10th: lost poem – Mick Evans (Llangadog)

11th: Otters – Gareth Writer-Davies (Brecon)

12th: In the Bowes-Lyon Museum – Pat Borthwick (Kirby Underdale)

13th: Running – Natalie Ann Holborow (Skewen)

14th: Cawl – Mari Ellis Dunning (Swansea)

15th: desert sculpture – Mick Evans (Llangadog)

16th: Rough Magic – Noel Williams (Sheffield)

17th: The Wren – John D Kelly (Newton Butler)

18th: Top Corris – Zillah Bowes (Cardiff)

19th: Grip – Mick Evans (Llangadog)

20th: Bluebeard – Helen May Williams (Pendine)

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It's not too late to enter the singing and (poetic) recitation competitions at the Eisteddfod of The North American Festival of Wales (www.nafow.org), Sat. Sept. 2, 2017, at the Hyatt Regency Rochester (125 East Main Street, Rochester, NY 14604) - deadline for receiving entry forms (via email or regular mail) is August 21!

Everything you need to know is in the Information Sheet and Entry Form linked below and - excepting the Solo Voice / Semi-Professional (David G. Morris) Competition - all entry fees this year have been eliminated!

We look forward to seeing you onstage on Rochester... for any questions, contact us anytime at eisteddfod@nafow.org !

Posted in: NAFOW | 0 comments


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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Bryn Seion Welsh Church - 82nd annual Gymanfa Ganu

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The Welsh Society of Oregon held its 82nd annual Gymanfa Ganu at Bryn Seion Welsh church in Beavercreek on June 25th 2017. It was part of a wider Welsh celebration which included a lively Noson Lawen at the Lucky Labrador pub on Saturday night. The event was well attended with around 200 participants showing up for the afternoon and evening sessions.

Musical director Nerys Jones and organist Geneva Cook were joined by Harpist Bronn Journey in the afternoon, and The Picton Singers in the evening, for a lively and uplifting program of group singing and performances.

During the afternoon session Tad Davis outlined future plans for Welsh events in the Spring and Fall to supplement the already scheduled Portland Gymanfa Ganu and Christmas celebrations. The Society has also recently established the 'Gwaddol Group' which will seek to raise funds for "individuals conducting Welsh research, or support for development of music or art with a Welsh connection."  ( for more details go here )

Noson Lawen - Portland 2017

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The Welsh Society of Oregon’s annual Noson Lawen was hosted by the Welsh Society Festival Chorus who presented a handful of enchanting Welsh tunes.  MCs Andrea Wild and Hugo Glanville led the crowd in pub singing and their band Three Pound Note  also joined them on the stage for some Welsh, Cornish and English folk songs. Throughout the night there were contributions from the floor and one of the evenings highlights was a reading of Dylan Thomas's 'August Bank Holiday' given by Jonathan Nicholas.


Bryn Seion Welsh Church, Beavercreek, Oregon

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Bryn Seion (Mt Zion) was built in 1884, and is the last active Welsh church on the Pacific Coast. Visit the church website here: Bryn Seion Welsh Church

What Is A Gymanfa Ganu?

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From the Welsh Society of Oregon website:- "Gymanfa Ganu (guh-mahn-vah GAH-nee) is a magnificent Welsh hymn-singing festival and more! Literally meaning “sing gathering,” it is a tradition of song and worship that has been practiced in Wales for centuries. The songs are sung in English and Welsh in four-part harmonies. Bryn Seion Welsh Church, Beavercreek, Oregon, has carried on the Gymanfa Ganu tradition since 1935. You don’t need to know Welsh to make a joyful noise, so please join us.".....Read More

The Welsh In The Northwest

Many Welsh moved into Oregon and Washington Territory in the 1880's. When train travel opened up the west. They found that land was cheap and abundant. Compared with the Great Plains, the land was much morelike that of Wales.

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HMS Morris are a Welsh Art-Pop group that delve into the wonky, odd-ball side of psychedelia, finding the balance between bold experimentalism without giving up accessibility. ‘Morbid Mind’ and ‘Arth’ showcase the range of the band’s songwriting, sailing from a White Denim–esque fluster to melodies reminiscent of traditional Welsh folk music.‘Morbid Mind’ explores the morbid curiosity that resides within all of us, that drives the popularity of ‘murderabilia’ and lies behind the rubbernecking instinct. The lure of the morbid can be explained as a noble desire to empathise with the unfortunate, but can also lead to obsession, insanity, even death...

‘Arth’ (Welsh for ‘Bear’), is a tribute to an animal associated in cultures around the world with spiritual strength, courage, and harmony with the cycles of the Earth. Today, as the fight intensifies to overcome the forces destroying our global communities and habitats, it seems more important than ever for us to channel the spirit of Arth. Following the success of their debut album ‘Interior Design’ the band are excited to showcase new material alongside old favourites and will be hitting the road from April.

Live Dates

June 23rd -  Chester Live, Chester
July 1st -  Gwyl Tafwyl Festival, Llandaff Fields, Cardiff.


HMS Morris are a Welsh Art-Pop group that delve into the wonky, odd-ball side of psychedelia, finding the balance between bold experimentalism without giving up accessibility. 'With an undercurrent of post-punk edginess, the group toy with colliding synthesisers and cooing vocals and still manage to create something cohesive and alluring'(Clunk).

Released in November 2016, the band's debut album 'Interior Design' is 'a real trip, a multi- dimensional sound that traipses across hitherto unexplored regions of sound' (Clash), and with an as yet untitled follow-up already in production, it seems the voyage is just getting started.

Photo credit: Rhodri Brooks

Posted in: Music | 0 comments

glyndwr call to arms.jpgThe second installment of a new trilogy which tells the compelling story of the early years of Glyndŵr’s uprising is published this week.

Glyndŵr: To Arms! by the late Moelwyn Jones is an imaginary novel based on the real life and battles of Owain Glyndŵr. It follows the publishing of the bestselling Glyndŵr - Son of Prophecy last Christmas.

The trilogy was completed before the author’s death in 2015.

Glyndŵr: To Arms! Offers a portrayal of the life of Wales’ revolutionary hero Owain Glyndŵr, resident bard and Glyndŵr confidant Gruffudd ap Caradog tells of a time at the beginning of the 1400s when a new spirit of Welsh pride was born; when the Welsh nobility put aside their differences to unite under the banner of the Red Dragon to seek justice and self-determination.

In a vivid and vibrant account of the first two decades of the 1400s, we hear of the adventures of master bard and master lover Iolo Goch, the brutal realities of medieval warfare learned at the hands of champion axeman Einion Fwyall, and of Gruffudd's impossible love for the wife of a leader he reveres above all others.

The third and final installment will follow early next year.

Author Moelwyn Jones was raised in Bancffosfelen, Carmarthenshire, and had a career as a Welsh teacher in Cardiff before joining the BBC as an Information Officer. He then became Head of Public Relations for Wales and the Marches Postal Board and following his retirement worked in the Welsh Assembly.

‘Moelwyn had a great interest in the history of Owain Glyndŵr,’ says Delyth Jones, Moelwyn’s wife. ‘He conducted extended research into Owain’s story. He was quite the hero to Moelwyn’.

The cover art was illustrated by Machynlleth based artist Teresa Jenellen.

Glyndŵr: To Arms! by Moelwyn Jones (£7.99, Y Lolfa) is available now

Posted in: Book News | 0 comments

dadeni.jpgBrexit and Donald Trump have inspired a Dan Brown-esque thriller set at the heart of the Welsh Assembly Government.

Inspired by political upheavals over the past year, author Ifan Morgan Jones asks what would happen in a Donald Trump or Nigel Farage-esque figure lead a populist government at the Welsh Assembly.

Dadeni by south Wales-based author Ifan Morgan Jones is published this week by Y Lolfa. This is his third novel.

‘I’m not sure Welsh literature has really responded to devolution,’ said Ifan, ‘I wanted o change that by writing a political thriller based around Cardiff Bay.’

The novel concerns an archeologist Bleddyn Cadwaladr, and his son Joni Teifi, who ar called in by the Welsh Government to investigate after a theft goes awry.

What they find at the scene of the crime propells them into a race against time to stop a political coup that could change the fate of the country.

Ifan Morgan Jones won the Daniel Owen Memorial Prize for his first novel, Igam Ogam, in 2008. He published his second novel, Yr Argraff Gyntaf, in 2010.

He said that Dadeni also draws upon his ten years working as a journalist covering Welsh Politics.

‘I originally wrote the novel in 2015, but so much happened politically over the last year or so that I felt that I had to re-write parts of it in order to take the new political climate into account,’ explained Ifan.

‘The novel asks where the boundary lies between the kind of nationalism that is acceptable to us in Wales and the nationalism espused by Nigel Farage and Donald Trump’ he said ‘Is it acceptable to use tactics that take advantage of the masses’ emotional, irrational nature in order to ensure constitutional change for utilitarian and rational reasons?’

Dadeni by Ifan Morgan Jones (£9.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

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