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Success of books for Welsh learners leads to new festival of reading

Following the success of ‘Amdani’, the series of books for Welsh learners, Amdani – Learn Welsh Festival of Reading will be held between 4 March (World Book Day) and 11 March 2021. 

The aim of the virtual festival, which is organised by the National Centre for Learning Welsh, is to encourage learners to use and enjoy their Welsh by reading a variety of materials, whether books, magazines or websites.

During the festival, in partnership with the National Eisteddfod, a new short story by Llŷr Gwyn Lewis, and a new poem by Terwyn Tomos, both literary prize-winners at the 2020 AmGen Eisteddfod, will be published.  Daily video stories from Welsh learners’ books, Ffenest and Agor y Drws will also be streamed.

A podcast with author Manon Steffan Ros and Welsh learner, Gosia Rutecka, and a video conversation with storyteller and former Welsh Learner of the Year winner, Fiona Collins, and TV presenter Nia Parry, will be shared.  There will also be items on Radio Cymru and articles for learners on the Golwg 360 news website, as well as book recommendations.

The Amdani book series, launched in 2018, is a joint project between the Centre and the Books Council of Wales.  The series includes a variety of titles, from stories to autobiographies and books about Welsh history, which are published by various publishers.

The series complements the Centre’s Welsh courses, with titles graded for different learning levels, from beginners to experienced learners. 

The books are popular and sell consistently, as new cohorts start learning Welsh and progress through the learning levels.  There are now 27 titles in the series, with the two latest, Am Loteri by Meinir Wyn Edwards, and Chwedlau i Ddysgwyr: Ceffylau, by Fiona Collins, to be published shortly.  The ‘Amdani’ books are published by Y Lolfa, CAA, Atebol, Gwasg Gomer and Gwasg Carreg Gwalch.

Helen Prosser, Director of Teaching and Learning at the National Centre for Learning Welsh said:  “The Amdani book series has captured the imagination of our learners and we’re delighted with its success. 

“The fact you can pick up and enjoy reading an interesting, appealing Welsh language book, as you learn the language, gives our learners a major boost.

“Following the success of the series, we’re delighted to hold the Amdani – Learn Welsh Festival of Reading.  Reading is a brilliant way of practising your Welsh outside the classroom and of strengthening skills and gaining confidence. The new reading materials published during the festival will help attract even more people to reading in Welsh.”

Helgard Krause, Chief Executive of the Books Council of Wales, who has also learnt Welsh, said:  “The Amdani book series has succeeded in drawing a new audience to reading in Welsh, opening the door on a world of interesting Welsh-language books of all genres.  It’s clear there is a demand for books for Welsh learners and we look forward to continuing to work with the Centre and our publishers to introduce new titles in future.

“The Amdani – Learn Welsh Festival of Reading is a great way of building on the appeal of the book series and we wish the Centre the best of luck with all its activities.”

The Centre is working with different partners to hold the festival, including the National Eisteddfod, BBC Radio Cymru, Golwg 360 and the Books Council of Wales.  More information on the festival is available here.

Several titles in the Amdani book series are available on the Books Council’s new e-book platform, ffolio.cymru, and the detective novel for Welsh learners, Gangsters yn y Glaw, by Pegi Talfryn, was the first book bought on the platform when it was newly launched