Volcano Fridays – free festival brings world’s writers to Swansea.
Swansea’s profile as an artistic and literary hub continues to be on the ascendant thanks to a variety of talented poets and writers, great venues, studio spaces and galleries and many grassroots projects such as Poets on the Hill. A new festival will boost this to yet another level by featuring critically acclaimed writers from around the globe. A series of free public performances known as Volcano Fridays are taking place at Swansea High Street’s Volcano Theatre. The festival is organised by Prof. Tom Cheesman of Swansea University’s Languages Department and is part of a research project investigating questions about our continually evolving multilingual society.
The festival is organised by Prof. Tom Cheesman of Swansea University’s Languages Department and is part of a research project investigating questions about our continually evolving multilingual society.
Volcano Fridays will happen on successive Fridays, starting on 7th April and running until 23rd June, bringing voices from around the world to Swansea. The event has been organised by both Swansea University and Wales PEN Cymru, which is part of a worldwide organisation defending the rights of writers. Writers featured will come from many countries including China, Sudan, Turkey, Poland, France (Charlie Hebdo) and Somalia with interpreters on hand as needed. Languages represented will include Turkish, Welsh, Kurdish, Farsi, French, Russian, Arabic, Polish, Hindi, Italian and German. Not only will authors, local storytellers, and refugee poets perform but the programme will also feature big names in Welsh writing too including the national poet of Wales, Ifor ap Glyn.
Highlights will include:
Refugee writers living in Wales, with countries of origin varying from Syria to Sierra Leone.
Marie Darrieussecq, renowned French novelist, translator and satirist with Charlie Hebdo.
Yang Lian – internationally celebrated Chinese poet.
Poets on the Hill – Swansea’s celebrated community writing group.
Wioletta Greg – Best-selling Polish writer and featured on the Man Booker International Prize longlist.
Musical entertainment will also be provided by local Welsh speaking folk musicians every evening, curated by Huw Dylan Owen.
Initiator and one of the organisers, Dr Tom Cheesman of the Department of Languages and Translation said:
Volcano Fridays will be a forum for connecting communities, and for sharing the universal language of teh imagination. It will be a festival for modern literature fom around the world.
Artists will perform their work and discuss with the audience – events include music, film clips, and discussions with translators and researchers. The idea is to bring together literature lovers, whatever their backgrounds.
Volcano Fridays are open to all. Anyone curious about world literature can come along. including the many people in Swansea who come from different backgrounds and speak different langauages.”
Dr Tom Cheesman is a lecturer and researcher in German and Translation Studies and a committee member of Wales Pen Cymru. PEN supports literacy and creative writing education, and struggles for writers rights, both abroad and in this country including the right to express yourself in your own language.
Volcano Fridays are part of a research project called ‘Cross-Language Dynamics: Remaking Community’, which will investigate important questions about our increasingly multilingual society. How much do languages divide communities? How can languages gaps best be bridged? Is multilingualism seen as a threat or an opportunity; a curse, or a delight? Is multilingualism changing all our languages? The research project is based in Swansea University’s Department of Languages, Translation and Interpreting and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council within the £14 million UK-wide ‘Open World Research Initiative’.
Swansea University students in languages, translation and interpreting are supporting the event. Swansea Bay Asylum Seekers Support Group are also involved.
Professor Iwan Davies, senior Pro-Vice Chancellor at Swansea University said:
Swansea University is an outward-looking global university, which is rooted in Wales and around the World”
The festival looks set to initiate some interesting and illuminating conversations. Watch this space.
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