This September saw the first Rhys Davies Short Story Conference take place at Swansea University. The new flagship conference, organised by The Rhys Davies Trust in partnership with Literature Wales and Swansea University, brought short story writing to a national audience and was the first event of its kind in the UK. From the history of the short story form in Wales and its context in the wider international literary scene to the marketability of short story anthologies, this dedicated conference was targeted at readers, writers and academics alike.
Taking the reputation of one of Wales' most renowned short story writers as a starting point, it provided an opportunity to enjoy the craft of the short story at its best and presented a wide-ranging, high-profile programme of talks, panel sessions, master classes and performances all centered on the short story form, both modern and traditional. The three day event included talks and workshops from an impressive line-up including Edna O’Brien, Will Self, Tessa Hadley, Meic Stephens, Dai Smith, Claire Keegan, Cynan Jones, Rachel Trezise, Shena Mackay, Jon Gower and more.
Lleucu Siencyn, Chief Executive of Literature Wales, commented: ‘The short story form is becoming more and more popular – in the fast-moving world we live in, it might be said that this form is ideally suited to our hectic lifestyles. The Rhys Davies Short Story Conference is therefore a great opportunity to showcase Welsh writing on a national stage, and to do so in the name of one of Wales’ best short story writers. This conference will aim to inspire and encourage more aspiring writers to experiment with the short story form and, who knows, it may even bring forth the next Rhys Davies.’
This is one of a number of activities to be supported by the Rhys Davies Trust, a body inspired by writer Rhys Davies. Rhys Davies (1901 – 1978) was among the most dedicated, prolific, and accomplished of Welsh prose-writers in English, with more than 100 stories and 20 novels to his name. The Trust is a registered charity whose objectives are to promote the writer’s work and foster Welsh writing in English, especially in the valleys of south Wales and in the genres in which Rhys Davies wrote.
Please see the Conference programme below.