Remembering Nigel Jenkins 

The H’mm Foundation announces a new literary award to commemorate late Swansea poet Nigel Jenkins.

Nigel Jenkins was, in the words of rock singer Helen Love, ‘a fantastic writer and poet, a maverick, a punk rocker, somebody Swansea should be really proud of.’

Born in 1949 in Gorseinon and brought up on a farm on the former Kilvrough estate, Jenkins is forever associated with Gower peninsula, and the ugly, lovely town where he was director of the creative writing programme at Swansea University. 

The poet, editor, journalist, psychogeographer, broadcaster, writer of creative non-fiction and co-compiler of the Encyclopaedia of Wales died in 2014 after a short illness and his loss is still keenly felt by family, friends and many of his contemporaries on the Welsh literary scene, among whom he was revered as a generous teacher as well as a great writer.

Now a new Nigel Jenkins Literary Award has been announced by the H’mm Foundation, as has its inaugural winner Anthony Heald, a student at the Creative Writing MA programme, Swansea University.

Ali Anwar, founder of The H’mm Foundation said: ‘Wales is blessed with a wealth of truly inspirational writers and we hope this award becomes another source of inspiration to the new generation. We are looking forward to next year’s Remembering Nigel event.’

This year’s event was a ‘double launch’ in association with the Swansea Fringe Festival 2021 and Swansea University. Compered by Jon Gower, the well attended evening featured speakers, poetry readings, tributes and musical entertainment from traditional Welsh folk duo DnA and jazz pianist Eddie Gripper. 

Rhys Owain Williams, Swansea Fringe organiser, said: ‘Nigel Jenkins was one of the most influential literary figures that Wales has ever produced, and [his loss] is still felt keenly in his home city of Swansea and beyond.’

Anthony Heald, winner of the Nigel Jenkins Literary Award 2021 said: ‘Receiving this award established in Nigel Jenkins’ memory, at an evening celebrating his life and work, surrounded by people who knew and loved him, has made me feel even more of an imposter than I did when I heard I had been nominated to receive it from among so many excellent writers that I worked alongside on the Swansea University MA course that Nigel co-founded.’

Heald explained: ‘The piece of writing that I shared during the course that packed the biggest punch concerns my foster children. The need for confidentiality, together with their young age, means that theirs, in common with so many who are entangled in the social care and family court systems, are voices that go largely unheard.’ 

More details about the Nigel Jenkins Literary Award can be requested by emailing [email protected]

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