Gwyl Lyfrau Aberaeron Book Festival 2023

The 2023 Festival takes place over the weekend of 21/22 October at Aberaeron Memorial Hall.

All author events are free to attend.
The Festival Programme can be viewed here. Please note, events and times may be subject to change.

Creative Writing Workshops

There are five workshops to choose from this year with Judith Barrow, Mari Ellis Dunning, Caryl Lewis, Kathy Miles and Meleri Wyn James. Each workshop is £5 or three for £12.

For more details and to book please click here.

Meet The Publisher

Join Honno Business Manager Lynzie Fitzpatrick for a fifteen minute one to one for all matters book related. Perfect for writers looking for tips on how to publish or promote their work, as well as an opportunity for anyone looking to change careers and get into publishing. Click here to register for a session (£5)

Saturday’s Authors

Delyth Badder, Megan Barker, Karen Gemma Brewer, Alun Davies, Mari Ellis Dunning, Alis Hawkins, Caryl Lewis, Geraint Lewis, Simone Mansell Broome, Louise Mumford, A G Rivett, Sarah Ward, Meleri Wyn James

Sunday’s Authors

Myfanwy Alexander, Judith Barrow, Kathy Biggs, Karen Gemma Brewer, Clwb Darllen Dyffryn Arth,
Jasmine Donahaye, Elly Foster, John Gilbey, Carly Holmes, Dylan Iowerth, Geraint Lewis, Frances Knight, Kathy Miles, Kiran Sidhu, Josie Smith, Adam Somerset

Myfanwy Alexander

Myfanwy Alexander was brought up in the hills of Montgomeryshire where she returned, not unlike a salmon but without fins, to raise her six daughters in a thatched farmhouse near Llanfair Caereinion. As a writer and broadcaster, she has numerous credits for comedy, drama and factual programmes, winning a Sony Comedy Award for her long-running satire show The LL Files. She is half of the Wales team on Radio 4’s gloriously obscure Round Britain Quiz.

In 2015, Myfanwy published the first of her crime novels, A Oes Heddwas, introducing her detective Inspector Daf Dafis, who returns in Pwnc Llosg, Y Plygain Olaf, and Mynd Fel Bom. The first two are available in English: Bloody Eisteddfod and Burning Issue. The latest in the series Coblyn o Sioe was published this summer, in time for the Royal Welsh Show. In August 2020, Myfanwy adapted ‘Bloody Eisteddfod’ for a critically acclaimed drama on Radio 4 and Radio Cymru.

Delyth Badder

Delyth Badder has channelled a lifetime’s interest in Welsh folklore into academic study, and an extensive library of some of Wales’s rarest antiquarian folkloric texts. She has expertise in Welsh death omens and apparitions, with a particular academic interest in the appearance of spirits within the Welsh tradition, as well as the nineteenth-Century neo-druidic movement in Pontypridd, and the life and work of archdruid and surgeon, Dr William Price. She is a regular contributor to discussions on Welsh folklore in the media. Delyth also works for the NHS as the world’s first Welsh-speaking Consultant Paediatric and Perinatal Pathologist, and as a Medical Examiner for the Welsh Medical Examiner’s Office.

Delyth will be discussing The Folklore of Wales: Ghosts, co-authored with Mark Norman

Megan Barker

Megan Barker lives in South Wales. She has a background in theatre, and her plays have been produced at theatres such as Soho Theatre, Sherman Cymru, The Arches, The Traverse and The Tron. She also writes song lyrics, most recently for Quiet River of Dust by Richard Reed Parry.

Megan will be reading from her recently published prose poem Kit, a powerful work of empathy, friendship and unconditional love.

Judith Barrow

Judith has an MA in Creative Writing, B.A. (Hons.) in Literature, and a Diploma in Drama and Script Writing.  She is also a Creative Writing tutor for Pembrokeshire County Council’s Lifelong Learning Programme, give talks and run workshops on all genres and is joint founder of the Narbeth Book Festival. Judith grew up in the Pennines but has lived in Pembrokeshire for 40 years.

The author of several novels, The Memory was shortlisted for the Wales Book of the Year in 2021. Judith’s latest novel Sisters, was published in January 2023 and she has also published poetry and short fiction, winning several poetry competitions, and had a play performed at the Dylan Thomas Centre.

Kathy Biggs

Kathy Biggs is originally from Yorkshire. She took a summer job in Mid Wales in 1985 – and never left. She has two grown children and lives with her husband, Paul. After studying a number of Creative Writing courses linked to Aberystwyth University, she discovered a talent for writing. Her first novel The Luck was published in 2022 and her second novel Scrap, set in a Swansea scrapyard, was published earlier this summer.

Karen Gemma Brewer

Born of coal-mining and farm-working stock, Karen Gemma Brewer is an award winning poet, songwriter and performer in Aberaeron. Her work combines mundanity with the absurd, has been translated into several languages, performed internationally and published in Europe and USA. Her first poetry collection Seeds From A Dandelion is in a second edition and her new collection Dancing In The Sun was published in 2022.

Clwb Darllen Dyffryn Arth

Local Welsh learner reading group will be joining up with Dylan Iowerth to discuss his book Cardis.

Alun Davies

Alun Davies is originally from Aberystwyth but now lives in Cardiff. He enjoys running and cycling and has completed several triathlons. He’s a father of three.

The author of a popular series set in Aberystwyth and featuring detective Taliesin MacLeavy, Alun’s latest novel Pwy Y Moses John? was published earlier in 2023. He has also written Manawydan Jones: Y Pair Dadeni, an adventure novel for teenagers that brings a modern slant to tales from the Mabinogi.

Jasmine Donahaye

Jasmine Donahaye’s work has appeared in the Guardian and the New York Times, and on Radio 4. She is a part-time Professor in Creative Writing at Swansea University, and is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales. Her latest book is Birdsplaining: a Natural History.

Mari Ellis Dunning

Mari Ellis Dunning’s debut poetry collection, Salacia, was shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year 2019. She has since placed second in both the Lucent Dreaming Short Story Competition and the Sylvia Plath Poetry Prize. Mari is a PhD candidate at Aberystwyth University, where she is writing a historic novel set in sixteenth-century Wales, exploring the relationship between accusations of witchcraft, the female body and reproduction. Pearl and Bone was selected as Wales Arts Review’s Number 1 of 2022. Mari lives on the west coast of Wales with her husband, their two sons, and their very adorable poochon. She is the founder of Pay for Poets, a free resource to help writers earn a living through their work.

EMJ Foster

EMJ Foster lives in Ceredigion and is the author of three novels, Home?, Sold Subject to Contract and A Painful Legacy.

John Gilbey

John Gilbey is a writer and photographer based in west Wales. His work has appeared in the New Scientist, Geographical, Times Higher Education and the science journal Nature, as well as the Guardian newspaper. His book A Country Diary in Wales was published in 2023.

His career in environmental research, and a lifelong interest in landforms and ecology, give him a solid base on which to build the story of the varied landscapes of Wales.

Alis Hawkins

Alis Hawkins grew up in Ceredigion and currently lives on the Welsh-English border. Her Teifi Valley Coroner historical crime series – featuring partially-sighted ex-barrister Harry Probert-Lloyd and his chippy assistant, John Davies – is set in the area where she grew up and has twice been shortlisted for the prestigious CWA Historical Dagger. A Bitter Remedy, the first in her new Oxford Mysteries series which introduces readers to young Welsh polymath Rhiannon Vaughan and college lecturer Basil Rice, was published in March 2023 and is now available in paperback. Alis is also a co-founder of the Welsh crime writing collective Crime Cymru

Carly Holmes

Carly Holmes lives and writes on the banks of the river Teifi, west Wales. Her debut novel The Scrapbook was shortlisted for the International Rubery Book Award, and her Literary Strange short story collection Figurehead was published in limited edition hardback by Tartarus Press, and reprinted in paperback by Parthian Books. Her prize-winning short prose has appeared in journals and anthologies such as Ambit, The Ghastling, The Lonely Crowd, and has twice been selected for The Best Horror of the Year.

Carly’s new novel Crow Face, Doll Face is recently published.

Dylan Iowerth

Dylan Iorwerth is a journalist and writer, born in Dolgellau and raised in Waunfawr in North Wales form the age of seven.
After studying at Aberystwyth University he went to work for the Wrexham Leader before joining the BBC news team at Radio Cymru. One of the founders of Welsh language Sunday paper Sulyn, in 1988 he established the weekly magazine Golwg. He has won the crown, the prose medal and the chair at the National Eisteddfod. The book Cardis was written and published for the National Eisteddfod held in Tregaron in 2022.

Christine Kinsey

Christine Kinsey is an artist and writer who integrates words into her visual creative process. Her work explores Cymreictod, a sense of feeling/being Welsh which has evolved from the experience of growing up in the industrial valleys of Monmouthshire in south east Wales. Her images explore the depiction of women within a Celtic-Christian culture and re-imagines the interface between the material and the spiritual through a feminist imagination. She incorporates symbols and motifs which reinterpret the traditional representation of women and has developed a group of women characters who bear witness to the experience of women internationally. In her book Truth, Lies & Alibis she gathers the threads of her life and work and has ‘illuminated a world where women had previously existed on the periphery of vision’ Menna Elfyn.
Christine was Co-Founder and the first woman Artistic Director of Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff and was a Co-Founder of the Association of Artists and Designers in Wales.

Frances Knight

Frances Knight is professor emeritus in the history of Christianity at the University of Nottingham and has lived up the hill from Aberaeron, in Henfynw, for over twenty years. She enjoys uncovering the hidden dimensions to topics that on the surface appear to have little to do with religion. At the Festival she will be discussing her latest book, Ebenezer Howard: Inventor of the Garden City. Howard’s ideas about town planning and the environment, crystalised in the notion of the garden city, spread worldwide during the twentieth century, and continue to be influential today. What were his motivations, and what were the challenges involved in writing his biography?     

Caryl Lewis

Caryl Lewis is a multi-award-winning Welsh novelist, children’s writer, playwright and screenwriter. Her breakthrough novel Martha, Jac a Sianco (2004) is widely regarded as a modern classic of Welsh literature, and is on the Welsh curriculum, and the film adaptation – with a screenplay by Lewis herself – went on to win six Welsh BAFTAS and the Spirit of the Festival Award at the 2010 Celtic Media Festival. Lewis’s other screenwriting work includes BBC/S4C thrillers Hinterland and Hidden. Lewis is a visiting lecturer in Creative Writing at Cardiff University, and lives with her family on a farm near Aberystwyth.
Drift is her début novel in the English language and won the overall English Language Wales Book of the Year for 2023, making her the first author to win the Wales Book of the Year in both Welsh and English (previously for Martha, Jac a Sianco & Y Bwthyn).

Geraint Lewis

Geraint is a freelance writer covering a broad range of media over thirty years, including TV, film, radio, theatre and books, mainly through the medium of Welsh. Also an experienced actor in Welsh and English.

A new short drama Rhywbeth yn y Dwr/Something in the Water will have script in hand performances in English and Welsh during this year’s festival. Geraint will perform this with Karen Gemma Brewer, in English on Saturday 21st and in Welsh on Sunday 22nd.

Simone Mansell Broome

A Welsh-born writer, Simone studied English with American Studies at Sussex University, qualifying both as a teacher of Speech and Drama and of EFL. Simone returned to Wales with her family in 2007 to set up a rural eco wedding venue on a small organic farm.

Simone writes poetry, prose and children’s fiction, published widely in anthologies, ezines, magazines and on websites and has read in Wales, England and Ireland, and on the radio. Commissions have been filmed for ITV and she has written special pieces for a local theatre group and an art gallery, regularly performing her work.

Kathy Miles

Kathy Miles lives in West Wales. Her third poetry collection, Gardening with Deer, was published by Cinnamon Press in 2016, and a pamphlet, Inside the Animal House, by Rack Press in 2018. Her most recent collection Bone House was published by Indigo Dreams Publishing in 2020

Her poetry appears widely in magazines and anthologies, and she is a previous winner of the Second Light, Welsh Poetry and Wells Festival competitions, as well as the Bridport Prize. A co-editor of ‘The Lampeter Review’, Kathy is a frequent reader at literary events.

Louise Mumford

Louise lives in Cardiff with her husband and spends her time trying to get down on paper all the marvellous and thrilling things that happen in her head. Her debut book, Sleepless, a “frighteningly inventive” speculative thriller inspired by her own experience of insomnia, was published by HQ in December 2020. The Safe House was released in May 2022 and this has been followed by The Hotel which came out in August 2023. This latest mystery centres on the creepy ruins of an old hotel on the coast of West Wales. Four eighteen year olds dared to spend the night there and only three returned. Ten years later it is time to go back and find out what really happened to Leo Finch…

Louise is Co-Chair of Crime Cymru, a co-operative of crime fiction writers with a connection to Wales and she is a member of the Crime Writers’ Association. Louise has recently been one of only ten writers picked to be part of Hay Festival’s prestigious Writers At Work scheme 2023, a creative development programme for emerging Welsh talent.

A G Rivett

Ceredigion author A G Rivett claims to have lived several lives in the course of his one life. Born in London, raised in the Home Counties, he has been a doctor, a priest, and a crofter in the Scottish Highlands, on the lands of his Mackenzie ancestors. He has lived in rural Northern Nigeria and knows what a simpler life looks like, less dependent on technology.
He now lives in Ceredigion with his second wife, Gillian, where he cultivates a wildflower meadow.

A G Rivett is the author of The Isle Fincara Trilogy, that he describes as ‘down to earth’ fantasy fiction, set on an imaginary Celtic Island a thousand years ago and a world away.

Kiran Sidhu

Kiran Sidhu is a writer and journalist. She has written for The Guardian, The Observer, The Times, The Independent, Woman, The Metro, Breathe and is an opinion writer for the I Paper. Her article about her farmer friend, Wilf, written for the The Guardian, was the paper’s 13th most shared article in 2021. It was turned into a short film, Heart Valley, and last year won Best Short Documentary at The Tribeca Film Festival in New York and has been nominated for a BAFTA. I Can Hear The Cuckoo is her first book.

Josie Smith

Josie is the author of Covid pandemic memoir Diary of a Shielding Yogini and her first novel Tamboura.

Adam Somerset

Adam Somerset is a writer and critic. His work on Welsh theatre has become an ongoing conversation with culture and society that has extended to art, photography, television and radio, history and politics. After earlier careers in industry he has lived in Ceredigion since 1991. His work has appeared extensively in journals, newspapers and online. He is author of the essay collection Between The Boundaries.

Sarah Ward

Sarah Ward is a critically acclaimed crime writer whose new series is set in Pembrokeshire close to where she spent her childhood. The first book in the series, The Birthday Girl was published in April 2023 and the next in the series, The Sixth Lie is published in November. She also writes Gothic historical thrillers under the name Rhiannon Ward. Her first, The Quickening, was a 2020 Radio Times book of the year. She has also written Doctor Who audio dramas. Sarah is on the Board of the Crime Writers Association, a member of Crime Cymru and is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Sheffield University.

Meleri Wyn James

Meleri was brough up in Beulah and Aberporth. She graduated with a degree in Welsh from the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth and studied a MA at Coleg y Drindod, Carmarthen. She has been writing books for children and adults for 25 years including the Na, Nel! series for children. Meleri also works as a creative editor for publisher Y Lolfa.
In 2023 Meleri won the Prose Medal at the National Eisteddfod for her novel Hallt.

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