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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 October 2005, 11:25 GMT 12:25 UK
Author's warning on 90th birthday
T Llew Jones at his typewriter
Latest chapter - Mr Jones has been writing for half a century
Young people are not reading as much as they used to, claims a veteran Welsh-language children's author.

T Llew Jones, from Pontgarreg, near Llandysul, Ceredigion, celebrates his 90th birthday on Tuesday.

The former headteacher said: "Of the 3Rs, reading is the most important and it's not good enough that children can read unless they can read fluently".

The Welsh Books Council will deliver more than 4,600 birthday cards from children to mark his celebration.

Mr Jones has written more than 50 books, including 35 for children, since the 1950s.

But he said it seemed more children now were being read to, rather than reading books themselves.

T Llew Jones
I was good at writing and with words. I hope I don't sound too immodest
T Llew Jones

"I used get lots of letters from children who said they read my books, but now I get letters saying 'Miss' (teacher) had read the books to them," said Mr Jones.

"I don't think children read as much as they used to. Of the 3Rs, reading is the most important and it's not good enough that children can read unless they can read fluently."

The award-winning story-teller, who draws on local legends, characters and places, started writing books as a teacher.

Very popular

But he said his "gift" for writing started when he was a child.

"It was the best thing I could do at school. I was not good at mathematics, but I was good at writing and with words. I hope I don't sound too immodest," he said.

He described how he was later inspired by adventure stories by Penguin books.

Mr Jones said when his books were first published there were "very few" authors writing for children in Welsh.

Head of the children's book department at the Welsh Books Council, Menna Lloyd Williams, said Mr Jones' books were still very popular today.

"We will deliver 4,605 cards from schoolchildren from around Wales to his party on Tuesday. On the cards there are 6,267 greetings," she added.

An exhibition featuring Mr Jones' work has opened to coincide with his birthday at the Urdd camp in Llangrannog.

He has also received awards for his writing spanning five decades, while he won the chair at the National Eisteddfod in 1958 and again the following year.

In 1991, he picked up the Mary Vaughan Jones prize which is awarded for outstanding contribution to children's literature in Wales.




SEE ALSO:
20,000 prize for book winners
21 Jun 05 |  Wales


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