A selection of prize-winning poetry and prose

The first page of Hedd Wyn's winning poem in his own handwriting.
The first page of Hedd Wyn's poem 'Yr Arwr' (The Hero) in his own handwriting.
The Birkenhead National Eisteddfod Black Chair, 1917
The Birkenhead National Eisteddfod Black Chair, 1917
  1. The Chairing ceremony: an extract from the ode 'Ymadawiad Arthur' (the Departure of Arthur) by T. Gwynn Jones, which won him the Chair at the National Eisteddfod in Bangor, 1902; this was a poem which gave a new and finer direction to Welsh poetry at the beginning of the twentieth century.

    (Copyright: through the permission of the Estate and heirs of T. Gwynn Jones)

  2. The Chairing ceremony: the first, handwritten page of Hedd Wyn's prize-winning poem, 'Yr Arwr' (The Hero) in the Birkenhead National Eisteddfod, 1917. Ellis Humphrey Evans, Hedd Wyn, was born on Ysgwrn Farm, Trawsfynydd in 1887. He worked as a shepherd but poetry was his passion and he won a number of eisteddfod chairs. He came second for the Chair at Aberystwyth National Eisteddfod in 1916. Then, at the beginning of 1917, he was called up to join the 15th Battalion of the Welch Fusiliers and after a period in training he was sent out to fight on the borders of France and Belgium. He fell at the battle of Pilkem Ridge on July 31, 1917. In the meantime he had composed an ode on the topic 'Yr Arwr' and sent it, under the pseudonym 'Fleur de Lys', to the National Eisteddfod at Birkenhead to be held in September 1917.

    T Gwynn Jones read the adjudication and declared 'Fleur de Lys' the winner. But the sad news of his death was announced and the empty Chair 'the Black Chair of Birkenhead', was draped with mourning. To draw the ceremony to a close the audience sang the funereal hymn 'Bydd myrdd o ryfeddodau'.

    Hedd Wyn, the talented young poet cut down so cruelly in his prime, became a national icon.

    (Copyright: Bangor MSS. 23333, University of Wales Record Office, Bangor)

  3. The Crowning ceremony: An extract from the pryddest (a poem not in full strict meter) on the topic 'Gwreiddiau' (Roots) - the prize-winning poem by Mererid Hopwood which won the Crown at Maldwyn and the Borders National Eisteddfod, 2003.

    (Copyright: Mererid Hopwood)

  4. The Prose Medal: an extract form the prize-winning volume by Angharad Price, O! tyn y gorchudd, (Llandysul: Gomer Press, 2002), for which she won the Prose Medal at the Pembrokeshire, St David's National Eisteddfod, 2002.

    It tells the story of Rebecca Jones of Tynybraich, in the vale of Maesglasau, Merionethshire and in this extract she describes the pathetic experience of seeing her two small blind brothers being driven away to boarding school for the first time.

    (Copyright: through the permission of Gomer Press)

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