Welsh Union of Writers was founded at a poet's summit at Llanerch
in the summer of 1982. It fell victim to apparently
terminal apathy in 2002 and finally gave up the ghost at a farewell
bash at Cardiff's Big Sleep Hotel just before Christmas 2004. The
Union was founded to make space for what was seen at the time as a
group of linguistic outsiders, radical journalists, difficult poets,
and incisive fictioneers. Writing in English in Wales was seen to
be dominated by a small power group who managed all the outlets -
the grants, the publishers, the venues, the magazines. The Union which
came out of the initial meeting would become its own publisher and
would vigorously promote the Welsh alternative. For twenty years,
with wildly varying degrees of success, that's just what it did.
is one of the very few photographs from that first meeting. Taken
on a cheap instamatic camera which used flash cubes and a cassette-held
film it's the blurriest of historical documents. The writers are:
standing, left to right): Glyn Pursglove, John Freeman, Robert Minhinnick,
Bob Hill, Peter Finch, Chris Torrance, Phil Maillard, Graham Jones,
Nigel Jenkins, (front row, seated) Andy Sanderson, Cliff James, John
Tripp, John Osmond, Robin Campbell. No women, you'll notice. Mostly
poets, or journalists. Where are they now? Still around, a fair number.
A tribute to Welsh staying power.