Dr Hywel Griffiths wins the National Eisteddfod Chair

Dr Hywel Griffiths

Dr Hywel Griffiths

07 August 2015

Dr Hywel Griffiths, a lecturer at the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University has won the Chair at this year’s National Eisteddfod of Wales.

The Chair is presented for an ode written in strict metre and is one of the Eisteddfod’s most prestigious awards.

Hywel’s success at this year’s Eisteddfod follows his success at wining the Crown in 2008 when the National Eisteddfod was held in Cardiff. He has also won the Urdd National Eisteddfod Chair on two occasions.

The theme for this year’s competition was ‘Gwe’ (Web) and, according to Mererid Hopwood, also an Aberystwyth graduate and one of the adjudicators for the Chair this year, Hywel was “fully deserving of the Chair.”

“From the beginning, we realise that we are in the company of a bard who can see far and who listens attentively”, she said.

In his ode, Hywel discusses the Spanish Civil War and the conflict in Gaza. He starts on a ward in a Welsh hospital, where an old man on his death bed recalls the Spanish Civil War and the comradeship that drew so many Welsh people to fight against fascism. Online, he reaches Gaza and the most recent conflict and reminds the reader that the outcome of every war is death.

Hywel graduated in Geography and Mathematics at Aberystwyth University and is now a lecturer at the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences where he specialists in the geomorphology of rivers.

In congratulating Hywel, Dr Rhodri Llwyd Morgan, Pro Vice-Chancellor at Aberystwyth University said: “Everyone if very proud of Hywel’s success, having won both of the main poetry competitions. This year he was also awarded the Eilir Hedd Morgan Memorial Prize by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol for his achievements as a young scientist working through the medium of Welsh. We are very fortunate to have him as a colleague.”

Hywel’s success means that Aberystwyth University graduates have won three of the main competitions at the year’s National Eisteddfod.

On Monday, Manon Rhys, who graduated in Welsh from Aberystwyth, won the Crown for a collection of poems on the theme “Breuddwyd” (Dream), and on Tuesday, Mari Lisa won the Daniel Goffa Memorial Prize for her novel Veritas. Mari Lisa studied Welsh and Drama at Aberystwyth.