Dr Francesca Rhydderch honoured as Fellow

17 July 2015

Sir Emyr Jones Parry, Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, presents Francesca Rhydderch as Fellow
Sir Emyr Jones Parry, Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, presents Francesca Rhydderch as Fellow

Award-winning author, Dr Francesca Rhydderch, has been honoured as Fellow of Aberystwyth University.

Dr Rhydderch’s first novel, The Rice Paper Diaries, was longlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and won the Wales Book of the Year Fiction Prize 2014.  The same same year, she was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award.

A former editor of New Welsh Review, Dr Rhydderch obtained a PhD in English Literature from Aberystwyth University and is currently Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Swansea University.

Dr Francesca Rhydderch was presented as Fellow on Friday 17 July by Professor Matthew Francis from the Department of English and Creative Writing.

Presentation of Dr Francesca Rhydderch as Fellow

Canghellor, Is-Ganghellor, darpar raddedigion, gyfeillion.  Pleser o’r mwyaf yw cyflwyno Dr Francesca Rhydderch yn gymrawd Prifysgol Aberystwyth.

Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, prospective graduates and supporters.  It is an honour and a privilege to present Dr Francesca Rhydderch as a Fellow of Aberystwyth University.

Francesca Rhydderch took her degree in Modern Languages at Newnham College, Cambridge, and her PhD in English Literature at Aberystwyth, beginning a long association with this university, and is now Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Swansea University. I have had the privilege of working with her when she was teaching creative writing here, and saw at first hand what a sensitive teacher she was, always immersed in her students’ problems and successes. She made her mark on the literary scene as editor of the magazine New Welsh Review, in which capacity she published Wales’s most distinguished writers and nurtured the careers of some of our newest talents, including some from Aberystwyth University, where the magazine is still based. But Fran – and I cannot call her anything more formal, even on this ceremonial occasion: she is Fran to everyone – is above all a writer of fiction, and in 2013 she published her first novel, The Rice Paper Diaries, inspired by the experiences of her great aunt as a prisoner of war in Hong Kong during World War II. The book received great acclaim, was longlisted for the Authors' Club Best First Novel Award and won the Wales Book of the Year Fiction Prize 2014. Fran is also a fine practitioner of a genre with a great tradition in Wales, the short story, and was one of the founders of the Welsh Short Story Network. Among the many things her husband, our much-missed former colleague Professor Damian Walford Davies, brought to the marriage was his collection of stuffed birds. Some brides would have been freaked out. Fran’s response, more characteristically, was to write about them, and the resultant story ‘The Taxidermist’s Daughter’ was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award in 2014.  A generous supporter and encourager of the writing of others, and a longstanding friend of this university, Fran has emerged in recent years as one of Wales’s most talented and exciting literary voices.

Canghellor, mae’n bleser gen i gyflwyno Dr Francesca Rhydderch i chi yn Gymrawd. 

Chancellor, it is my absolute pleasure to present Dr Francesca Rhydderch to you as a Fellow of Aberystwyth University.

Aberystwyth University Honours 2015

Twelve individuals are being honoured by Aberystwyth University during the 2015 graduation ceremonies, which take place at the University’s Arts Centre from Tuesday 14 July until Friday 17 July.

Eight Honorary Fellowships will be presented to individuals who have, or have had a connection with Aberystwyth or Wales, and who have made an outstanding contribution to their chosen field.

Two Honorary Doctorate degrees will be presented to individuals who have been outstandingly successful in their field, or who have a long record of renowned research and publication.

Two Honorary Bachelor degrees will be presented to individuals who are members of Aberystwyth University staff without an entry-level degree in recognition of long-service, contribution and dedication to the Institution; and members of the local community who have made a significant contribution to Aberystwyth and the area.

Also being honoured are:

Honorary Fellowships:

•        Eurwen Richards, former President of the Society of Dairy Technology and first female Cheese Master in the UK.

•        Professor Robin Williams CBE, researcher in semiconductor physics, Fellow of the Royal Society and former Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University.

•        Professor Miguel Alario-Franco, researcher in solid state chemistry and former President of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Spain.

•        Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, and the Wales Office and an alumnus of Aberystwyth University.

•        Debbie Moon, BAFTA award-winning creator and writer of the television series WolfBlood, contributor to the Hinterland television series and an alumnus of Aberystwyth University.

•        Dr Lyn Evans, researcher in high energy physics and leader of the team that designed, built and commissioned the Large Hadron Collider.

•        Iolo Williams, wildlife television presenter of more than 20 series for the BBC and S4C including Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Winterwatch, and former RSPB Species Officer for Wales.

Honorary Doctorate Degrees:

•        Dylan Iorwerth, award-winning poet and author, radio and television presenter, founder and Directing Editor of Golwg Cyf and an alumnus of Aberystwyth University.

•        Professor Huw Cathan Davies OBE, Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society, former National Academy of Science Researcher at NASA Institute in Virginia and an alumnus of Aberystwyth University.

Honorary Bachelor Degrees:

•        Bryn Jones, co-ordinator of the Penparcau Community forum and founding member of local arts and healthcare group ‘HAUL’.

•        Rhian Phillips, former Head teacher of Plascrug Primary School and International Schools Learning ambassador for Wales.

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