Great news for Welsh writers. David Llewelyn, reader at our sister agency Conville & Walsh, has come to us with the offer of the Eluned Phillips Centenary Writing Bursary – a brand-new scholarship that will fund a talented aspiring novelist either born in Wales or currently residing there through our forthcoming Online Novel-Writing Course. The bursary, a celebration of the centenary of the birth of Sara Adeline Eluned Phillips (1914–2009), has been raised by her family and friends – including David himself – and from the proceeds of a concert held to celebrate her life and work at Rhosygilwen Mansion in Pembrokeshire in 2012.
Eluned (above), from Cenarth, on the Ceredigion side of the River Teifi, was only the second woman to win the Crown at the National Eisteddfod; firstly in 1967 and again in 1983. It was for this remarkable feat that she was most admired in her native Wales. She was known and loved as a wonderful storyteller and raconteur, and also for her sharp wit. Her stories of life in London and Paris, rubbing shoulders with such luminaries as Augustus John, Jean Cocteau and Edith Piaf – to whom she was a close friend – were legendary. Many of her stories are included in her memoir The Reluctant Redhead, published by Gomer Press (2007) and written in a matter of weeks on her trusty computer, ‘shenkin’, which she acquired at the age of 90.
Though she was a contemporary of Dylan Thomas – with whom she even shared a birthdate – she didn’t like him very much. ‘He was a horrible little man, always drunk when I met him at the BBC in Swansea, and always looking for a handout,’ she said. She once went with Edith Piaf to the studio of Pablo Picasso, and on seeing his Guernica painting on an easel, declared it ‘a bit of a mess’.
‘She was one of life’s real characters,’ says David. ‘I had some wonderful conversations with her on numerous occasions. When I first invited her to my place I offered her a choice of teas, “English Breakfast, Chai, Earl Grey?”, to which she replied, “Oh not Earl Grey. His tea is very nice, but he’s not nice at all.”
The Eluned Phillips Centenary Writing Bursary will provide the full fee (£1,300) for a writer born in or living in Wales to participate in Curtis Brown Creative’s three-month Online Novel-Writing Course, which begins on 3rd November 2014. Applicants are invited to submit the opening 3,000 words of their novel-in-progress plus a one-page synopsis by midnight at the end of 22nd October 2014. The winning writer will be notified by 24th October.
To apply for the Eluned Phillips Centenary Writing Bursary, please click here.
As well as expert teaching from published authors, all our selective three- and six-month novel-writing courses offer dedicated modules on submitting your novel to literary agents – and include sessions on writing a synopsis and preparing a covering letter. Click for more information or to apply for our creative writing courses.