I recently had the pleasure, in all of its terror, of reading my work in front a packed audience at Swansea’s beautiful Dylan Thomas Centre. As one of the writers included in this years publication of Cheval 11, I had the opportunity to meet other writers from the area, and the rest of Wales, including this years winners Katya Johnson (1st prize), Michael Muia (2nd prize) and Thomas Tyrrell (joint 2nd). Hearing each story and poem read in succession could not have hammered home harder how remarkably different these works are to one another. In perspective and style, the diversity in talents of the prize winners is breathtaking – as are the rest of the works by the 31 writers printed.
Cheval is fabulous. Existing as both an annual anthology and an organization dedicated to nurturing and publishing young writers. Aida Birch, the organisation’s founder, started with the joint mission statement of honouring her late partner, Welsh poet Terry Hetherington, while giving mostly unpublished writers with an opportunity to see their work in print for the first time. As well as every year providing one young writer with an incredible £1000 in recognition of their talents. With Parthian assuming publishing responsibilities, the book is beautiful. The cover itself , this year, being designed by Rose Horridge as a part of the publisher’s design competition – opening up Cheval’s opportunities to artists in the community.
And while you’re at it, my poem ‘February’ is the very last one, gracing page 147.