Tŷ Newydd is a house in Abercain which runs writing courses for people of all capabilities. It was opened in 1990 to the public as a writing centre by the writers Gillian Clarke and Robert Minhinnick. Clarke said it was her dream to open a house of words, “somewhere which belonged to all writers”. Prime Minister David Lloyd George made Tŷ Newydd his last home and commissioned the famous architect of Portmeirion, Clough Williams-Ellis, to adapt the house to his tastes. The centre is run by Literature Wales, which is a registered charity, the national company for the development of literature in Wales.
This year it is celebrating 25 years of being a writing centre and has set up a fundraising campaign launched by Literature Wales. There are many events taking place throughout the year to mark the 25th anniversary, they include a summer garden party, a new programme of Welsh-language evening events and day courses, sessions at the National Eisteddfod as part of the Lolfa Lên programme, Gŵyl Ddrama Wil Sam (a Welsh-language drama festival) and the launch of a new Tŷ Newydd website.
The £25/25 campaign asks people to give donations of £25, £1 for each year the centre has been open, to help fund programmes such as educational and extra-curricular activity for schools and youth groups, community outreach work, as well as bursaries for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to attend courses at Tŷ Newydd and conservation work to safeguard the future of this historical and culturally significant Grade II* listed property.
Also, a Poetry Masterclass has recently been announced by Literature Wales which will be tutored by National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke and Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. Carol Ann Duffy said: “Tŷ Newydd is very close to my heart; a house of poetry, good fellowship, laughter and contemplation to which I always return.”
Hundreds of adults and young people visit Tŷ Newydd and take part in residential creative writing courses and retreats each year. The courses and retreats offer a wide range of activities, from ‘Yoga and Writing’ which uses “meditation, pranayama (breathing exercises) and asana (poses) to shut down the chatter of the fluctuating mind and settle into the joy of using words” to ‘Poetry and Ghostly’ which “explores poetry’s ability to spook”. There are also courses for primary and secondary schools, as well as for universities. They work with the teachers to organise bespoke courses that complement the school’s curriculum, by giving them the choice of genres, content and tutors to suit the group’s creative aspirations.
The house is in a very scenic spot overlooking Cardigan Bay and surrounded by rural North Wales, with spectacular views of the sea and the blue mountains of Snowdonia. It allows people of all ages to develop their writing skills under the teachings of published authors and other experts in their field. It is seen as the “home of literature in Wales” and offers a unique experience for all those who visit to learn, share and write in a beautiful part of the country.
If you would like find out more about Tŷ Newydd, look into their courses and retreats or donate money towards their fundraising campaign, the web-link is; http://www.literaturewales.org/ty-newydd/