Two gifted students from Coleg Llandrillo's Rhyl Sixth Centre recently gained places on a revered course at Tŷ Newydd - the National Writing Centre of Wales - after winning a writing competition and gaining sponsorship from the Rotary Club of Rhyl.
The A-level students were "delighted" to qualify for the 'Rotary Supported Creative Writing Course for Young People', a fully-funded, week-long residential course at the celebrated school in Llanystumdwy, near Criccieth.
Students, 17-year-old Tarun Dhaliwal from Prestatyn and Alexandra Wilson, 18, from Rhyl, were selected following an internal competition, which was open to all students.Entrants to the competition had to compose either a piece of prose or poetry on the subject of "Life in Wales".Both students are planning to take a gap year after their studies, before applying to university to study English.
At Tŷ Newydd, world-class professional writers work with small groups to support and challenge the abilities of all those taking part. This year, the renowned teachers were celebrated writers Sion Tomos Owen and Eloise Williams.
Tarun and Alexandra spent time under the tutelage of the professional writers, taking part in workshops and one-to-one tutorials, enjoying readings and basking in the inspirational setting of Tŷ Newydd.
Siôn is a TV presenter for S4C's programme, 'Pobol y Rhondda' (People of the Rhondda), a cartoonist, artist and writer. Eloise has an MA in Creative and Media Writing with Distinction, a Postgraduate Diploma in Acting and a BA in Drama. In 2017, Wales Arts Review named Eloise Williams' 'Gaslight' its 'Young People's Book of the Year'.
The whole thing was amazing. It was great to have the chance to improve our writing techniques, working alongside such well-renowned novelists. We learned so much in such a relatively short time.
Samantha Egelstaff-Thomas, programme leader of English at the Rhyl Sixth, said:
Tarun and Alexandra's compositions based on 'Life in Wales', were well-researched and well-executed, and the students certainly deserved their places at the centre. To work alongside two celebrated authors such as Sion and Eloise was invaluable and the experience should benefit their creative writing skills in the future.
Present and past tutors include Carol Ann Duffy, Gillian Clarke, Pascale Petit, Paula Meehan, Mark Cocker, Menna Elfyn, Patrick McGuinness, Kaite O'Reilly, Imtiaz Dharker, Niall Griffiths, Daljit Nagra and Malachy Doyle.
For more information on courses at Coleg Llandrillo's Rhyl Sixth Centre, contact the college on 01745 354 797.