Machynlleth’s literary festival, named Amdani, Fachynlleth!, will come to life once again in the ancient Mid Wales market town from March 31 to April 2.
The idea for a festival was instigated by Charles Dark, owner of The Wynnstay Hotel, in 2020 and was inspired by the life of Jan Morris.
Now, her description of Machynlleth, the place where journeys meet / lle mae llwybrau’n cyfarfod, is what the organisers continue to try to evoke. As Jan said: ‘It’s always a junction of powers and influences.’
Translated to Let’s Go, Machynlleth!, the bilingual festival brings readers and writers, poets and artists together from across Wales and the border. It’s a place where journeys meet, where ideas and concerns about ways of living can be shared, where the riches of writers and poets, historians, philosophers and linguists, book designers and illustrators from Wales and across the border, can be savoured.
Opening the festival on March 31 will be art historian Peter Lord and historian of music Rhian Davies who present The Art of Music: Branding the Welsh Nation, with a lavishly illustrated talk in the company of the book’s designer Isobel Gillan and harpist Rhian Bebb.
That evening Swper Y Beirdd / Poetry for Supper brings together a powerful host of poets to chase away the winter blues and welcome spring, with Grug Muse, Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch, Judith Musker Turner, Sam Robinson, Cyril Jones, Morgan Owen, Mari Ellis Dunning with music by Gwilym Morus Baird.
April 1 begins early with a ‘Writer’s Breakfast Buffet Flash Fiction Workshop’ with favourite visiting writing inspirer Lindy Newns. Maggie Ogunbanwo, author of The Melting Pot and African Twist, will be talking and cooking a favourite rice dish connecting her heritage and 100 Things I wish my Mother had told me.
Jan Brown, author of People Like Us, based on her great grandmother who became cook/housekeeper at Gregynog Hall in the late 1800s, will be in conversation with Lindy Newns.
Carwyn Graves continues the food theme, recounting some of the tasty highlights of his travels researching his latest book, Welsh Food Stories.
Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones chairs a lively conversation between Simon Brooks, specialist in the history of ideas in Welsh-language culture and political philosopher, Huw L. Williams, columnist for O’r Pedwar Gwynt. They ask ‘What is Welsh Thought? Is there a risk in the age of global knowledge that a Welsh understanding of the world might be lost?’
Then relax for the evening with Mike Parker’s Quiz Night and a Penderyn Whisky Tasting at The Wynnstay Hotel.
Making an early start on April 2, Julie Brominicks and Tom Bullough swap travel notes on their respective hikes around ‘The Edge of Cymru’ and ‘Sarn Helen’, their recently published books.
Roaming across Wales, Scotland and California in Birdsplaining, Jasmine Donahaye discusses the uniqueness of women’s experience of nature with Charmian Savill.
Author of The Lost Rainforests of Britain, Guy Shrubsole, presents an illustrated talk that takes us deep into ‘found’ British rainforests.
Mererid Puw Davies recalls the 1933 novel Nansi Lovell: Autobiography of a Gypsy written by her grandmother Elena Puw Morgan. Popular in its day and recently in an edition published by Honno, Nansi Lovell traces the history of her life among her family of North Wales Romani.
Imagine a pilgrimage walk accompanied by poets Sian Aled Owen and Sian Northey and guided by photographer Jean Napier, in an illustrated talk based around her book The Cadfan Way.
Mike Parker, author of On the Red Hill, will be in conversation with Ffion Dafis, to launch his new book, All The Wide Border: Wales, England and the Places Between.
As the weekend draws to a close, Barbara’s Border Crossings, hosted by ‘Mrs Barbara Nice’ aka Janice Connolly, provides a fun finale.
Over the weekend, in the town library, children will enjoy helping Elin Vaughan Crowley reimagine her rainforest and listen to an elephant story.
The weekend has the support of Literature Wales, Parthian, Y Lolfa, Seren, Harper Collins, Atebol, Granta, O’r Pedwar Gwynt, New Welsh Review and Culture Colony. Machynlleth Literature Festival and Friends has also had an initial boost with generous support from local people.
Tickets are £5 per person, per event and can be purchased via Eventbrite – simply search for 2023 Amdani, Fachynlleth! – or they can be bought directly from Pen’rallt, Senedd-dy and Literary Cat Bookshops in Machynlleth.