Elinor Gwynn is the winner of this year’s Monmouthshire and District National Eisteddfod Crown, and she received the accolade at a ceremony on the Pavilion stage in Abergavenny today.
The theme of the competition was ‘Llwybrau’ (Paths), and the task was to create a collection of poems not in strict metre of up to 250 lines, with 33 entries in the competition.
The adjudicators were Siân Northey, Menna Elfyn and Einir Jones. The three were unanimous that Carreg Lefn was worthy of this year’s Crown, with great praise to the winning collection. Delivering the adjudication, Siân Northey said, “There are some people you love the second you meet them, and then others you grow to love and understand over time. Einir and I felt that Carreg Lefn’s work belonged to the second group, while Menna was instantly bowled over on the first reading.
“Both Menna and Einir have compared the poems to works of art in their adjudications. And they are pictures; intricate and original pictures, ‘without frills and foolery’ as Menna said.
“We are led along different paths to see the things seen by Carreg Lefn – the man with dementia insisting on finding an inscribed stone, the beach the poet walked along last year, and the experience of exploring the prom sometime between night and day.
“We must follow the poet and trust that we are shown things of importance, and the poet himself trusts in his work and in his reader to do what he wishes with his poems.
“The sign of a good collection of poems, of consistent quality, is that it is difficult to choose which lines to quote. But I need not worry, as it gives me great pleasure to announce that the three of us are in agreement, that Carreg Lefn fully deserves the Crown at the Monmouthshire and District National Eisteddfod.
Elinor Gwynn was brought up in Cardiff and Carmarthen. Her great interests were science, nature and exploring in the open air. She studied Zoology and Botany, before specialising in Environmental Law.
She has worked across Wales caring for landscapes, habitats, and wildlife: among these areas are the Pembrokeshire coast, mid Wales and the Marches, Snowdonia and Llŷn. She has also worked on heritage projects over the border in England and Scotland. She loves sharing her interest in landscapes, the environment and heritage with others and enjoys discussing these issues with friends and colleagues.
She has a great interest in the relationship between language and landscape, and is currently working on a language heritage project for the National Trust in Wales, and hopes to start looking at the link between language and ecology on the west coast.
The Crown is presented by Cymreigyddion Y Fenni (the Abergavenny Welsh Society), and has been created and designed by local artist, Deborah Edwards. The financial prize has been donated by Alun Griffiths (Contractors) Ltd.
The inspiration came from the artist, Deborah Edwards’ love of living in Monmouthshire, celebrating the county's beautiful landscape, wealth of architectural landmarks and cultural heritage.
The crown is made up of a series of windows, the outline shape of which was taken from the Nave's West Window at Tintern Abbey. Each window frames a different view of Monmouthshire, which include the castles of Abergavenny, Raglan, Caldicot, Usk and Chepstow, Abergavenny Market Hall, the Severn Bridge, Monnow Bridge and Llancayo Windmill.
Lady Llanover, a patron of Welsh culture locally, is represented in the design, as are the peaks of the Skirrid, Sugarloaf and Blorenge and many other elements important in the history and landscape of Monmouthshire.
Each window shaped section has two layers; the first layer is solid sheet with details pierced out by hand using a piercing saw. The second layer is made up of line drawings formed in square section silver wire. The textile for the crown was woven by Sioni Rhys Handweavers in their Pandy studio, using a traditional local weave.
The Cyfansoddiadau a Beirniadaethau includes the full adjudication for this competition and the winners of all the other composition winners at this year’s Eisteddfod. The volume is published at the end of the Chairing Ceremony on Friday afternoon.
The Monmouthshire and District National Eisteddfod is held on Castle Meadows, Abergavenny until 6 August. For more information go to www.eisteddfod.wales.