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Poet and author Gillian Clarke receives First Minister’s Special Award

Pictured: First Minister with Gillian Clarke

Gillian Clarke was awarded the First Minister’s Special Award at the St David Awards ceremony.

The poet and author was chosen by the First Minister for her impressive contribution to the arts, literature and culture in Wales.

Gillian Clarke is originally from Cardiff but now lives in Ceredigion.

Her work has been part of the GCSE and A Level exam syllabus for over thirty years.

She was the National Poet of Wales from 2008 until 2016, awarded the Queen’s Gold medal for Poetry in 2010 and the Wilfred Owen Award in 2012.

The St David Awards are Wales’ national awards, which recognise people who have done extraordinary things.

This year’s awards celebrated people who have been nominated by the public in categories including bravery, business and community spirit.

The Awards celebrated its 10th anniversary this year with a new trophy design awarded to the winners made by ceramic artist Daniel Boyle from Ceredigion.

The winners were announced during a ceremony at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

“It was great to be able to welcome our finalists to the awards ceremony to celebrate their achievements. They are all people who should be congratulated on their contribution to Welsh life.

“This year we celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the awards with another incredibly strong field to choose from. All our winners were people who have achieved great things either by being courageous, innovative or determined to contribute to their community.

“I’d like to congratulate Gillian Clarke for her incredible contribution over the decades to Welsh literature and poetry.

“Language is so important to us in Wales. Being a place where two languages are spoken every day means that words define us, as individuals and as a nation. It is why poets have always had such a celebrated part in our history.

“Today’s award is a way of restating that in contemporary Wales, honouring one of the outstanding poets of my lifetime. Gillian Clarke’s work captures the grace, the power and the connected nature of our lives. It is an honour to have offered her this award.’

Gillian Clarke said:

“I was astonished to receive the news of this award, but I’m especially pleased that it came from Mark Drakeford.

“It is good to know we have a First Minister who values poetry.”

The list of winners of the St David Awards are:

  • Bravery: Hari Thomas and Dylan Pritchard-Evans
  • Business: Cȃr-y-Môr
  • Community Spirit: South Wales Sponsorship for Ukraine
  • Critical Worker: Harm reduction unit Huggard
  • Culture: Unify
  • Environment Champion: Andy Rowland
  • Innovation, Science and Technology: CanSense
  • Sport: Olivia Breen
  • Young Person: Skye Neville