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Byline: Gwen Davies

Late March saw a serious literature overload. Last weekend, Cardiff's Fiction Fiesta starred young Argentine writer Andrs Neuman, author of the new epic Traveller of the Century, who is translating a selection of Owen Sheers' poetry into Spanish.

Also present among big UK hitters was Christopher MacLehose, LIBF Lifetime Achievement Award winner for International Publishing.

On Thursday in Aberystwyth, the MacLehose imprint launched Angharad Price's historical-biography pastiche, The Life of Rebecca Jones, in Lloyd Jones' translation.

This weekend is the conference of the Association for Welsh Writing in English (AWWE) at Gregynog, its theme 'Performing Wales' and including a keynote speech by National Theatre Wales director John McGrath.

The opening ceremony awarded the inaugural M Wynn Thomas essay prize to encourage rigorous critical writing talent.

I escaped from Aber Arts Centre's studio to their installation in Gallery 1: 'Dawn Chorus' by Marcus Coates. This I can unequivocally recommend. It initially THEINSIDER Gwen Davies Among AWWE's conference sessions tomorrow is Matthew Jones on 'Young People's Welsh Identities in the Theatre of (theatre company) Arad Goch'. This Aberystwyth-based company hosts Agor Drysau/Opening Doors, the international performing arts festival for young people, which last week came to a rousing finale.

Theatre is one of my antidotes to literature, and young people's culture (and company, on a good day) my antidote to stress, so Agor Drysau was this year once again a restoring port of call.

I caught three performances from Germany, France and Wales, which between them (and respectively) spanned the age groups of 18 months to four plus to young adult.

The whip cracking 'Eagle Calling Hawk' and 'Crash' I will review next time. The set of 16 Rue de Plaisance company's 'The Reserve' was a clearing with a hollow tree. It promised interaction but took too long getting going and the performers played 'at' the toddlers rather than 'with' them, even when batting pebbles to and fro.

seems to comprise screens of ordinary people miming to an unrelated (yet so uplifting) score of birdsong. But the gallery notes reveal the project's acutely original architecture. Six hundred hours of recordings were slowed down, analysed and performed by amateur singers, then cranked up again to top-trill-gear.

These performers appear to speak rather than sing, although in most cases their body movements have also been fast-forwarded so that they are panting and twitching like the traditional wren on Boxing Day. Worth setting your alarm for. Runs until May 12.

Gwen is editor of the New Welsh Review e-mail: Peter is chief executive of Academi, the literature promotion agency for Wales. You can email him at
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 31, 2012
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