Menna Elfyn Awarded International Poetry Prize


Poet Menna Elfyn will be awarded the  Anima Istranza Foreign Prize for Poetry at the International Festival of the City of Olbia on the island of Sardinia on Sunday 25 October 2009.

The prize is awarded every two years by the Amistade cultural society which established the Olbia festival in 2001 to enable Sardinians to discuss the literatures and cultures of other minority languages as well as their own.

“Two years ago, the foreign prize for poetry was given to the Irish poet Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill. This year, we are honoured to present the prize to Menna Elfyn as an acknowledgement of her activities in defending and promoting the Welsh language and for the quality of her poetry,” said President of the awarding committee, Giuseppe Serpillo.

The committee studied poems by Menna published in two volumes - Autobiografia in Versi and I nuovi bardi - which have been translated into Italian by Andrea Bianchi and Silvana Siviero. Both volumes are part of the Geiriau o Gymru (Words from Wales) /Parole dal Galles series which is published by Mobydick in Italy with support from Wales Literature Exchange. 

To show her appreciation, Menna Elfyn has written a special poem to Sardinia which she will read at the prize-giving ceremony.
“I feel it is a privilege to be awarded this prize. It’s an international award and it shows the importance of going out into the world, and sharing our literature and culture rather than keeping it within the confines of Wales,” said Menna.

“Literature travels and through translation, Welsh writing can be heard and appreciated in languages other than English which is perhaps the most common language of translation. I hope this award will offer some form of inspiration to other poets who are trying to write in a minority language,” added Menna whose own work has been translated into around 18 different languages.

Menna Elfyn  will return to Italy in November 2009 to speak at a series of literary events in Bologna, Venice and Coderno di Sedegliano in Udine.

Further information:
Esther Prytherch
Wales Literature Exchange, Mercator Centre, Aberystwyth University, SY23 3AS.
T: 07968 593078
E: esther@walesliterature.org
W: www.walesliterature.org

Background Notes
1. Wales Literature Exchange is based in the Mercator Institute at the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies, Aberystwyth University. Its aims and activities include promoting the literature and writers of Wales abroad; offering translation grants to publishers; providing information about writers, translators and publishers, and participating in international book fairs. See the website for further information: www.walesliterature.org.
2. Andrea Bianchi and Silvana Siviero are a husband and wife team of translators. The couple have been instrumental in bringing Welsh writing to an Italian audience through their work on a series for Mobydick publishers. Silvana was born in Caerphilly in South Wales but has lived in Italy for many years.
3. A digital photo of Menna Elfyn is attached.