Monday, 9 October 2017

A dysfunctional Welsh literary scene

The Welsh Assembly's Culture Committee continues its work on the support mechanisms for literature and publishing in Wales, and the latest transcript of proceedings (on 4th October) has now been published for public access. It can be found here:

The transcript is no less intriguing than the earlier ones, revealing a really deep breakdown of trust between the members of the Medwin Hughes Panel and the representatives of Literature Wales.  Much of the transcript reads like any other Committee transcript, with a lot of repetition and requests for supporting information or for elaborations of points already made.  But what is intriguing here is the delving by committee members into the reasons for the aggressive reaction by Literature Wales to the Panel's recommendations to the Minister.  Medwin Hughes and other Panel members were perfectly honest, when pressed, about the belligerent and disrespectful attitude of Chief Executive Lleucu Siencyn and the weird and apparently evasive tactics of Management Board Chair Damian Walford Davies, who did not exactly go out of his way to agree to a formal meeting with the Panel.  At various times in the questioning, the diplomatic veneer fell away to reveal something very raw underneath. 

This certainly did nothing to enhance the survival prospects of Literature Wales, and it didn'd do much good for the prospects of the Welsh writing community either.  As one of the Committee members said,  she sees a Welsh literary scene riven by factions.  She wondered why the taxpayer should put money into something that is clearly dysfunctional -- and she had a point.

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