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Posted By RobertLloyd58

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Ducks in the River Lliedi on the high tide.

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Author Meic Stephens honoured as Fellow of Aberystwyth University

Posted By Robert Lloyd

The author and scholar, Professor Meic Stephens, has been honoured as a Fellow of Aberystwyth University.

At a special ceremony in Cardiff, he was presented as Fellow by the University’s Pro Chancellor Gwerfyl Pierce Jones.

Originally from Trefforest near Pontypridd, Meic Stephens studied French at Aberystwyth University, graduating in 1961 before going on to work as a French teacher and then as a journalist.

He founded Poetry Walesin 1965 and edited the magazine for a period of eight years.

In 1967 he was appointed Literature Director for the Arts Council of Wales, a post he held until 1990.

A prolific author, poet and editor, his masterpieces include The Oxford Companion to the Literature of Wales (1986) and Library of Wales: Poetry 1900-2000, a hefty tome that features the history and work of a hundred poets from Wales.

Early on in his career he worked as a journalist on the Western Mail, a connection he has retained over the years as a contributor of many literature features published by the paper. He is also a regular contributor of obituaries for prominent Welsh people in the Guardianand Independent.

In 2000, he was appointed Professor of Welsh Writing in English at the University of Glamorgan. He is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales and until recently was a Trustee of the Rhys Davies Trust.

Honorary Fellowships are presented to individuals who have, or have had a connection with Aberystwyth University or Wales, and who have made an outstanding contribution to their chosen field.

Presentation of Meic Stephens:
Meic Stephens was born in Treforest, near Pontypridd in Glamorgan in 1938, the son of an industrial worker. He was educated at Aberystwyth University (known then as the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth) where he graduated in French in 1961. He also studied at Rennes University in Brittany.

During his time at Aberystwyth, he was drawn to literature and journalism. He became editor of Y Ddraigand Courier-the College’s magazine and newspaper – and began writing poetry. He then went on to train as a teacher at the University College of North Wales in Bangor.

Meic’s first job was as a French teacher in Ebbw Vale in Monmouthshire. Whilst living in Merthyr Tydfil, he launched Poetry Wales –a pioneering publication at the time and one which is still issued today and regarded as one of Wales’ leading literary journals.

It was around this time he joined the Welsh Language Society (Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg) and during the 1966 General Election, he stood as a candidate for Plaid Cymru in Merthyr. The young rebel was at Trefechan Bridge in 1963 for the first Cymdeithas protest. Rumour has it that Meic was responsible for painting the famous slogan ‘Cofiwch Dryweryn’ on a wall near Llanrhystud but the less said about that, the better…

Meic was raised in an English-speaking home but following his marriage to Ruth Wynn Meredith from Aberystwyth, he set about mastering Welsh (his third language) and making it the language of his home and his heart. Ruth and Meic have four children and eleven grandchildren, who all speak Welsh as their first language.

Despite the importance of the Welsh language to him, Meic has also worked tirelessly for the English language, in particular Welsh writing in English, with a dedication to the cause described as somewhat Stakhanovite. He has published extensively, around 160 books in total, including the Writers of Walesseries (together with Dr R.Brinley Jones, former President of the National Library of Wales).

The Oxford Companion to the Literature of Wales/Cydymaith i Lenyddiaeth Cymruwhich he compiled and edited is regarded as his masterpiece, and a vital resource for generations of students and their teachers. More recently, and together with the late Gwyn Griffiths, he compiled The Old Red Tonguefor non-Welsh-speaking readers keen to know more about the wonders of Welsh literature through the ages. Aimed at a global audience, these publications reflect his international outlook.

During his career as literature director of the Arts Council of Wales between 1967 and 1990, his aim once more was to promote the native literature of Wales in both languages ​​by disseminating information about the culture of our country to Wales and the wider world.

Meic developed a host of initiatives in the publishing world in Wales, including writers’ awards and scholarships, grants for magazines and publishers, and funding for organisations such as the Welsh Books Council. Under his leadership, the Arts Council grew to be one of Wales’ leading public bodies.

In 1993, he took up a wonderful opportunity to view his country from afar as a visiting academic at Brigham Young University in Prvovo, near Salt Lake City, after being invited to take up the role of English professor there. His journal, A Semester in Zion,features an entertaining but sometimes critical report of his life among the Mormons. He soon returned to Wales and was appointed lecturer at the University of Glamorgan. Shortly after, he was awarded a personal chair at the University which was based a mere hundred yards from his childhood home in Treforest.

Despite a busy and varied career,Meic still found time to write and publish his autobiography, Cofnodion / My Shoulder to the Wheel, as well as some of his own poetry in Wilia-poetry written in the Wenhwyseg, the Welsh language dialect of Glamorgan and Gwent. He also continued to hone his skills as a journalist, writing obituaries of prominent Welsh figures for the London papers.

Professor Meic Stephens’ contribution to our national culture has been recognised by the National Eisteddfod, and his scholarship by the University of Wales and the Learned Society of Wales. Nevertheless, this honour from his old college is just as significant and one which is gratefully received by him.


Photo: Professor Meic Stephens, Honourary Fellow of Aberystwyth University with Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor (Left) and Gwerfyl Pierce Jones, Pro Chancellor.


About Aberystwyth University www.aber.ac.uk
Established in 1872, Aberystwyth is a leading teaching and research university. It was named University of the Year for Teaching Quality in The Times | Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018. In the 2017 National Student Survey, Aberystwyth was ranked the best in Wales and one of the top five mainstream universities in the UK for overall student satisfaction. The latest Research Excellence Framework in 2014 reported that 95% of the research activity submitted by Aberystwyth was of an internationally recognised standard or higher. The University is a community of around 10,000 students and 2,000 staff committed to delivering teaching that inspires, research with excellence that makes an impact, engaging the world, working in partnership and investing in our future. Registered charity No 1145141.

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Phil Evans

Blog posts

The latest Phil Evans column

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Comedian Phil Evans is from Ammanford. He is known as the man who puts the ‘cwtsh’ into comedy. Website – www.philevans.co.uk


In the mood for a story?

Then I’ll begin . . .

One day, Mister Silly read a silly newspaper article that was much sillier than the silliest thing he’d ever done.

It was a study by the University Of Lincoln into the Mister Men and Little Miss books, created by Roger Hargreaves 47 years ago and which have sold more than 120 million copies.

Bizarrely, the study branded the books ‘sexist’ because the female characters are less powerful than the males – no doubt Mister Strong came in for particular criticism – and the Little Misses are saved by the Mister Men in more than half of their stories, while the Mister Men are only saved in one third of them.

Furthermore, the female characters were given an average of 53.5 wordsin their stories while the male characters had 61.5.

Remember, your taxes helped pay for this national scandal to be uncovered!

Reality check!

Hundreds of children’s stories feature a ‘damsel in distress’ rescued by the proverbial ‘knight in shining armour’.

Adult female fiction often replaces ‘knights’ with ‘handsome young doctors’ and no-one complains.

Except perhaps ugly young doctors.

This forensically-detailed research was done by academics with degrees that entitle them to engage in highly specialised work . . . like analysing every word in books written for very small children.

The University’s website states that it is engaged in ‘world-leading research projects’ and in the latest national research assessments it received a £2 million additionalincrease.

If that’s only a ‘top-up’, what’s their total income and why is it being used to denigrate much-loved children’s characters who’ll be treasured long after these findings have been filed away and forgotten?

In the wake of this ludicrously pointless study, I’ve got an idea for two new books in the series . . .

“Little Miss I Really Should Get A Proper Job”


“Mister Some Academics Have Far Too Much Time On Their Hands”.



Do you have an opinion? Does it matter?

The world is constantly changing and so are opinions, which we often find challenging due to the fact that we also have our own opinions.

We are fortunate to be living in a country that, in the main, grants us freedom of speech and more and more people are now stepping up to the plate and confidently speaking up, which can so often be a double-edged sword.

We have discovered that social media is great for putting your opinion across, but it also gives idiots a voice, too . . . far too often without any repercussions.

This, in itself, is a modern day curse and I have personally witnessed the downside to such shenanigans.

Friendly debate will soon be a thing of the past, if our politicians, world and industry leaders don’t control their emotions and show evidence of professional respect, while setting an example for generations to come.

Education is key for a balanced debate and there IS always two sides to an argument (did you see what I did there?).

As a comedian I’m often asked, “What happens to jokes that aren’t funny? Well, they become politicians!”


You can follow Phil Evans on Twitter @philevanswales and www.philevans.co.uk

Please again include www.philevans.co.uk

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Oriel Myrddin Galley looking for arts, education and research officer

Posted By Robert Lloyd

The Oriel Myrddin Gallery in Carmarthen is looking to appoint an arts education and research officer.

They seek an individual to facilitate, deliver and develop (in conjunction with Oriel Myrddin’s Gallery Manager) education provision that enhances Oriel Myrddin’s exhibition programme to primary and secondary schools, colleges and adult audiences in Carmarthenshire.

The ability to communicate effectively in Welsh is required to accomplish this post.

Support can be provided on appointment to reach this level.

Arts Education & Research Officer

22.5 hours per week

£21,074* – £24,657* (Grade F) *Pro-rata

Closing Date : 20/05/2018

For an informal discussion please contact Catherine Spring on 01267 224833. 


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Llanelli Fairtrade


Llanelli Fairtrade AGM this evening

Posted By Robert Lloyd


Llanelli is now officially a ‘Fairtrade zone’ after a very successful Fairtrade Fortnight back in February/March.

Llanelli MP Nia Griffith said:

“This is a huge achievement, but in order to maintain Fairtrade status we need more people to come forward to help run the local Fairtrade group.

“Tara Fisher, the Secretary of Llanelli and District Fairtrade, has done amazing work to promote fair trade locally, but she needs help to sustain the current level of activity.

“The AGM for Llanelli Fairtrade is tonight (Wednesday, May 16) at 7pm in Llanerch Community Hall (Heol Nant-y-Felin, SA15 3PA).

“I would encourage anyone with an interest in fair trade or who wants to get more involved in community activities to go along to Wednesday’s meeting and volunteer your time and skills.

“Llanelli Fairtrade are looking in particular for people with experience of running events, publicity and talking to schools who are available to attend monthly strategy meetings and Fairtrade events in the community.

“That being said, I’m sure they would welcome any help or support that you can offer.

“If you are planning to attend the AGM or aren’t available but would like to get involved, please let Tara Fisher know (tara.fisher9@gmail.com or 07874264230).”

Here’s a link to the AGM event page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/2002324053352061/

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Press releases

Thornton the latest to commit to Ospreys

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Ospreys Rugby are delighted to confirm Rory Thornton as the latest player to sign a new contract.

The 23-year old second row has put pen to paper on a two-year deal with his home region, becoming the 12th player to recommit during 2018.

Approaching full fitness after a nightmare season that has seen him suffer two lengthy spells on the sidelines with shoulder injuries, the former Wales U20 captain is delighted to have signed a new deal and is targeting increased game time next season.

“I’ve got two more years with my home region, which I’m really happy about” said Thornton.

“I’ve had a frustrating year with the shoulders and I’ve missed a lot of rugby but I’m getting close to full fitness and really looking forward to having a full pre-season, making up for lost time. I’m chomping at the bit to get going again, next season is an important one for me.

 “It’s an exciting time for me and I’m looking forward to being fully fit again, spending time working more closely with Allen Clarke and, hopefully, doing enough to get more game time. I can’t wait for the new season to come around.”

Having come through the development pathway at the Ospreys via Bonymaen and Swansea, Thornton was crowned the Youth Development Player of the Year at the Region in 2013, and captained the Welsh U20 team during the 2015 Six Nations and Junior World Cup.

By that time he had already started to make his mark in an Ospreys shirt, his debut coming in an Anglo Welsh Cup tie against Saracens at the Gnoll in November 2014, his PRO12 debut just a fortnight later versus Ulster at Kingspan Stadium. He made his European bow the following year in the memorable 34-29 loss to Clermont Auvergne at Stade Marcel Michelin.

To date, he has played 59 times for the Ospreys, and he made his senior international debut last summer, against Samoa.

Dan Griffiths, Rugby General Manager, Ospreys Rugby, welcomed the news, saying:

“Rory is someone who has already played a lot of rugby at a young age, showing he has the potential to establish himself at a regional and national level, so this is good news.

“The challenge for him now is to take his game to the next level, to become a key member of the pack, stepping out of the shadows and challenging the world class players we have in the second row by performing to a consistently high standard day in, day out.”

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