The Critics’ Roundtable 2014 Podcasts

November 1st 2014 saw the second biennial Critics’ Roundtable at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. With the support of Arts Council Wales, Wales Arts Review mounted a day of passionate debate about the arts in Wales, with contributions from some of the leading figures in Welsh arts. Here you can stream or download those debates.

Wales Arts Review acting chair Adam Somerset addresses the audience with his keynote speech


Introduction and Keynote Speech

from Wales Arts Review’s acting chair, Adam Somerset.

The Greatest Welsh Novel

The climax of the Roundtable event was the announcement of the winner of the Greatest Welsh Novel vote, Caradog Prichard’s Un Nos Ola Leuad. Caradog’s daughter, Mari Prichard was present to collect the award and offer a speech of thanks and commemoration, and legendary Welsh actress Sian Phillips gave a stirring reading from the winning book.

What is the Greatest Welsh Novel?

A debate about Wales Arts Review’s journey of discovery: what makes a ‘Welsh novel’, and what makes greatness? BBC Wales Arts and Media Correspondent Huw Thomas talks to novelist and historian Dai Smith, novelist and critic Francesca Rhydderch, Wales Arts Review Editor Gary Raymond, and award-winning short story writer and critic Joao Morais.

The Launch of ‘A Fiction Map of Wales’

Readings from Wales Arts Review’s first hard copy book, a new anthology of Welsh short fiction that offers a ‘map of Wales in the 21st Century’. John Lavin hosts readings from three of the book’s contributors: Cynan Jones, Kate Hamer and Robert Minhinnick.

You can purchase a copy of the book here.

Why Has Pop Music Given Up On Politics?

A panel of pop-culture experts dissect the modern trend of pop without politics: Wales Arts Review‘s Craig Austin talks to author Rhian E Jones, songwriter, musician and academic Richard J Parfitt, and writer and member of Goldie Lookin’ Chain, Gray Taylor.

Is Opera Dying and are the Critics Killing It?

Linda Christmas (Emeritus Fellow, City University London, Department of Journalism and former Special Advisor to the Guardian Foundation) hosts a vibrant discussion about the health of opera and the role of the critic, with panellists Steph Power (Music Editor, Wales Arts Review and critic, The Independent), Rian Evans (critic, The Guardian and Opera Magazine) and Michael McCarthy (Co-Artistic Director, Music Theatre Wales).

What is the Future of Arts Criticism in Wales?

A fiery debate between some of the top figures in Welsh arts criticism: Emma Geliot (Editor, Culture Colony Quarterly Magazine) chairs Nia Davies (Editor, Poetry Wales), Simon Harris (theatre producer and director), Jasper Rees (Editor, The Arts Desk) and Gary Raymond (Editor, Wales Arts Review).

Celtic Connections

Bangor University’s Dr Tomos Owen hosts a discussion focusing on the literary traditions of Wales and Ireland, with readings from Rachel Trezise, Tom Morris and Colin Barrett.

Wales Arts Review gratefully acknowledges funding from the Arts Council Wales ‘Sharing Together’ initiative for our Critics’ Roundtable, and wishes to thank Literature Wales and the Wales Millennium Centre for their support of this event.

Photograph Courtesy of Emyr Young