Page last updated at 11:09 GMT, Thursday, 6 November 2008

Prize finalists lend inspiration

 Edward Hogan, Ross Raisin, Caroline Bird, Ceridwen Dovey, Dinaw Mengestu and Nam Le.
The six prize finalists pictured outside the Boathouse in Laugharne

Six young writers competing to win one of the biggest literary prizes in the world are lending a hand to help other would-be writers.

The six - three from the UK and three from overseas - are all finalists in the second 60,000 Dylan Thomas Prize.

They are spending the week encouraging others to become writers by visiting institutions across Wales.

One, Edward Hogan, said it was a great way of keeping in touch with their readers and getting fresh inspiration.

Mr Hogan, 28, from Derby, visited the University of Wales Institute Cardiff (Uwic) to take part in a number of activities including readings and question and answer sessions with students.

His debut book, Blackmoor, is the story of the son of an albino woman who stumbles upon the the buried secrets of his mother's life and death in an abandoned village.

He said: "It's a really good opportunity for young writers, like myself, to go into universities and schools and talk to other young writers.

Dylan Thomas
Ross Raisin from London - God's Own Country
South African Ceridwen Dovey - Blood Kin
Derby-born Edward Hogan - Blackmoor
Caroline Bird, 21, from Leeds - Trouble Came to the Turnip
Nan Le from Vietnam - The Boat
Ethiopian journalist and novelist Dinaw Mengestu - Children of the Revolution

"And it's nice to get out of the house and meet some people."

"It was fun coming to Uwic and working with the students. I found the students really responsive and it looked like they really enjoyed writing, which is the most important thing".

Dr Katharine Cox, programme director of humanities, said it was "phenomenal" to have Mr Hogan help the creative writing students.

"This is what they want to do. To have a real writer come in and explain what it takes is excellent for the students."

The other nominated writers for the prize, whose winner will be revealed on Monday, are also visiting institutions around Wales in a programme arranged by the University of Wales, who sponsor the award.

For example, Ethiopian Dinaw Mengistu will lead a workshop for creative writing students at University of Wales, Newport and at Glyndwr University in Wrexham Ceridwen Dovey will test media students with an interview on the institution's radio station.

Larger audience

The contenders will also work with schools in Swansea, Carmarthen and Neath Port Talbot aiming to stimulate an appreciate of literature among pupils.

The Dylan Thomas award was first won in 2006 by Rhondda writer Rachel Tresize.

It was inspired by the Swansea-born poet whose first book of poetry was published when he was just 21.

Paul Newman, chief executive of the prize, said they were delighted to have been granted charitable status and that was largely due to its extensive education programme.

He said: "The Dylan Thomas prize is not just a lump sum for a writer, it is an initiative to support, encourage and inspire young writers across the world.

Mr Newman said that as the prize develops they will be able to bring the educational programme to a much larger audience.

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