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13 October 2022

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Poetry readings event at St Hugh’s in tribute to alumna, Ruth Bidgood (1922-2022)

The College will be paying tribute to major Welsh poet and alumna Ruth Bidgood (English Language and Literature, 1940) on Tuesday 1st November in the Maplethorpe Hall on the main College site. Doors open at 17:00, and the event will run from 17:15 until 18:30. The event is free to attend, and is open to the public as well as to students and alumni. The evening will begin with a short introductory talk on Ruth Bidgood and her work, followed by six contemporary poets reading their own work as a tribute.

Professor Matthew Jarvis will give the introductory talk. Matthew is the author of Ruth Bidgood in the Writers of Wales series, and is Senior Lecturer in Literature and Place at the University of Aberystwyth, with a primary focus on post-1960s Welsh poetry in English. He is also a published poet, and co-chair of the Association for Welsh Writing in English.

Matthew’s talk will be followed by six contemporary poets reading their own work as a tribute.

Patrick McGuinness is a multi-award-winning poet and novelist based in Caernarfon. His latest books include Real Oxford, The Penguin Book of French Short Stories, and the acclaimed memoir Other People’s Countries. He is Professor of Comparative Literature at St Anne’s College.

Kathryn Gray’s first collection, The Never-Never, was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and for the T.S. Eliot Prize. Her second collection, Hollywood or Home, will be published by Seren next year. She is also one of the founding editors of the online poetry journal Bad Lilies.

Peter Hughes is a poet, painter and publisher based in north Wales. His most recent book, Bethesda Constellations, is a collection of ‘anti-viral poems from the northern margins of Snowdonia’, and follows the critical success of his versions of the Italian poets Petrarch, Cavalcanti, and Leopardi. He is the founding editor of Oystercatcher Press.

Merryn Williams is a poet, critic and translator whose latest collection, The Fragile Bridge: New and Selected Poems was published in 2019. During lockdown, she edited Poems for the Year 2020: Eighty Poets on the Pandemic, and she was founding editor of the influential poetry magazine The Interpreter’s House. Merryn was a friend of Ruth Bidgood’s for many years, and is editing a selection of her work alongside a memoir of her life.

Gareth Prior’s latest book, The First Branch, explores the history and mythology of a stretch of the West Wales coast on St Bride’s Bay in Pembrokeshire. He has published four books of poetry, and wrote the libretto for Saffron Hall’s inaugural children’s opera. He is also Bursar of St Hugh’s College.

Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch’s work has been shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award, the Roland Matthias Prize, and Wales Book of the Year, and her poems have twice been highly commended in the Forward prizes. She has published three critically-acclaimed collections – one with Seren and two with Picador – and in 2020 was the subject of a special feature in Poetry Wales.

The evening will end with closing remarks by St Hugh’s alumna Delyth Jewell MS, who is a member of the Senedd for the South Wales East region. Delyth read English at St Hugh’s followed by an MA in Celtic Studies, and was president of the University’s Dafydd ap Gwilym Society.

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