The Welsh Books Council recently organised an author tour with a difference as part of their successful @LlyfrDaFabBooks scheme. Past events have included school visits by authors such as Siân Lewis, Griff Rowland and Dan Anthony, but this time pupils had the opportunity to meet the author whilst on a train journey!
The lucky young travellers were pupils from Ysgol Bro Hyddgen at Machynlleth and Ysgol Tan y Castell, Harlech. With 2017 earmarked by the Welsh Government as the Year of Legends, the author selected for this special event was Meinir Wyn Edwards, author of Deg Chwedl o Gymru which is published by Y Lolfa. This title has reached the shortlist of the 2017 Tir na n-Og Award for Children’s Literature, and Meinir has also written several English-language books on Welsh legends and folk tales, so that all children can appreciate Wales’s rich literary heritage.
Meinir held the workshops ‘on the move’, and pupils from both schools had the unique opportunity to learn about legends specific to their own area in an exciting and innovative way. Harlech castle and MOMA art gallery at Machynlleth formed the stopover parts of the days where pupils ‘refuelled’, visited the pop-up bookshops and continued on their learning ‘journeys’.
Diane Bailey of Penrallt Books, Machynlleth, said: "We really enjoyed contributing something to such a worthwhile project which encourages reading while learning about Welsh folklore and legends, and where children experience how much fun public transport can be, especially train travel."
The project was a collaboration between the Welsh Books Council and Arriva Trains Wales. Arriva Trains Wales Schools Liaison Officer, Phil Caldwell, has worked closely with many schools and libraries along the line, and this special project was a great opportunity to further improve pupils’ awareness with presentations on safety being given at participating schools. The views from the carriage were unforgettable – last year, the journey between Dyfi Junction and Pwllheli was included in the Guardian’s ten most ‘epic’ train journeys in the world!
According to Helen Jones of the Welsh Books Council: "One of the main objectives of the @LlyfrDaFabBooks scheme is to promote reading, and we have witnessed the positive impact on reading that our author tours have made, as well as raising the profile of children’s and young adult literature. We will certainly be continuing our work with these projects in future in order to support teaching and learning in fun and innovative ways."