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Thursday, 12 December, 2002, 13:10 GMT
Famous writers coach valleys teens
Germaine Greer
Germaine Greer lectures students on Romeo and Juliet
World class authors are lecturing schoolchildren from the south Wales Valleys at a writing festival in Pontypridd.

On Thursday, more than 700 pupils heard a performance by poet Benjamin Zephaniah followed by a talk on Romeo and Juliet by Germaine Greer.

We wanted to do was bring some of the excitement of the Hay Festival of Literature to the young people of south Wales

Professor Dai Smith, University of Glamorgan

It is part of a three day festival called GlamLit, organised by the University of Glamorgan and the Hay Festival which began on Wednesday.

The university, which is celebrating its 10th birthday, arranged the event as a way of giving local children the opportunity to meet some of today's most influential authors .

Professor Dai Smith the pro-vice chancellor of the university said: "What we wanted to do was bring some of the excitement of the Hay Festival of Literature to the young people of south Wales.

"We hope it will become an annual literary event.

"The university is the place to share ideas and stories and is a meeting point for everyone in this part of Wales to use and enjoy," he said.

Benjamin Zephaniah
Benjamin Zephaniah gave a poetry performance

The festival was opened on Wednesday evening by Andrew Melrose, an expert on writing for the young.

On Thursday, Benjamin Zephaniah, who writes for children and adults and is recognised as one of the most charismatic living performers, gave a recital of his work during the morning session.

The teenage audience heard an account of his experiences as a poet and author and he spoke about his new novel Refugee Boy.

During the afternoon session, Germaine Greer addressed the festival with a talk on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

Feminist writer Ms Greer, a professor of English and Comparative Studies at the University of Warwick is most famed for her first book, The Female Eunuch, published in 1970.

Challenged

To end the day, popular children's author, Brian Jacques will hold a discussion on writing at an evening sitting.

The festival is expected to finish on Friday following discussions with Brian Jacques and Michael Morpurgo - who has written nearly a hundred books for children.

"Benjamin Zephaniah, Germaine Greer, Michael Morpurgo and Brian Jacques are world class writers," said Professor Smith.

"Their work has changed hearts and minds and challenged the limits of imagination," he added.

Peter Florence who is the director of the Hay Festival said that this kind of event was a positive thing for the young people attending.

"It's wonderful to be able to bring such world class writers to Pontypridd knowing that the students have responded so warmly to the idea," he said.


More from south east Wales
See also:

12 Oct 02 | Scotland
27 May 02 | Entertainment
10 Oct 02 | Entertainment
04 Oct 01 | Entertainment
09 Jun 02 | Wales
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