Literature Wales have announced the appointment of joint Chief Executives, Leusa Llewelyn and Claire Furlong.
These new appointments come after an open recruitment effort by the organisation, with Claire Furlong taking on the role of Executive Director and Leusa Llewelyn appointed Artistic Director. Both women officially started their new roles on 1st September, and will play a key role in delivering on Literature Wales’ Strategic Plan 2022-2025.
Claire is a keen Welsh learner currently living in Carmarthenshire. She has a background in the English music industry, developing UK-wide progression routes for jazz education. Claire first joined Literature Wales in 2021 as deputy CEO. Commenting on her new role with Literature Wales, she said:
“I’m honoured to be taking the reins of Literature Wales as Executive Director, and thrilled to be doing so alongside Leusa, someone who I respect hugely for her unrivalled passion and understanding of Welsh literature. Since joining the fantastic team at Literature Wales, I have been impressed by the sheer volume of excellent Welsh writers, and the plurality of Welshness that they represent. I am excited to play my part in developing and platforming this talent within Wales and internationally. Together Leusa and I have a bold vision for thriving literary scene in Wales and are excited to work with others across the sector to achieve a Wales where literature empowers, improves and brightens lives.”
Leusa first joined Literature Wales in 2011 (the time of its founding) as Children and Young People Officer and later returned to the organisation in the role of Head of Tŷ Newydd in 2015. She is also a trustee of Theatr Clwyd. Speaking on her appointment, Leusa said:
“Stepping into the role of Artistic Director at Literature Wales is an enormous privilege, especially as it is now over ten years since I joined the organisation as a junior officer straight from university. Literature is my world, and it is the biggest honour to have been given the opportunity to lead our national literature organisation, which exists to develop more writers who represent what makes Wales fantastic and unique, to amplify our poetic and literary heritage, and to use the healing power of creative writing to contribute towards the well-being of our communities. It will be a pleasure to share the role with Claire, who has one of the sharpest, most agile minds I have come across. I look forward to collaborating with her to prioritise the numerous ideas we have, shaping them into transformative projects we can implement and deliver. We are both extremely excited to begin this new challenge.”
The pair will now work together to achieve Literature Wales’ goal to make Wales a place where “literature empowers, improves and brightens lives”. Cathryn Charnell-White, Chair of the Literature Wales Board of Directors, welcomed Claire and Leusa, saying: “Appointing Claire and Leusa to lead Literature Wales is a bold artistic, administrational, and democratic development for the company. They are deeply committed to the principles that are embedded in our current strategic plan, and have fresh ideas that will ensure that the power of literature will continue to inspire authors and communities across Wales.
Read more about the appointment of Leusa Llewelyn and Claire Furlong by Literature Wales, here.