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Ask Jo Knell

Ask Jo Knell

This is Jo Knell. Jo won the Learner of the Year award back in 1991. She now runs a Welsh language bookshop called Cant a Mil in Cardiff.

This is the story of her language journey.

Where are you from?

I was born in Bristol but we moved to Penzance in Cornwall when I was 12.

When did you start learning Welsh?

I started learning Welsh when I was in my twenties and living in Cardiff.

When did you win the Learner of the Year Award?

I won the prize at the Mold National Eisteddfod in 1991.

What do you remember about the day?

I remember enjoying an evening with very supportive friends. It really didn't feel like a competition at all.

How did you continue with your Welsh after winning the award?

I went back to college to study Welsh and qualified as a teacher. I taught Welsh in secondary schools, worked as a consultant, and wrote books for children who are learning Welsh.

I now run a Welsh language bookshop, Cant a Mil in Heath, Cardiff.

What is your advice for people who are learning Welsh now?

The most important thing is to speak Welsh at every opportunity and to use however much of the language you have.

What, in your opinion, is the most important element when awarding the Learner of the Year prize?

I believe that the contribution someone makes in their community is the most important element of the competition.