NLW treasures to appear in crowd-funded book

Readers who are curious about the treasures we have in our museum collections in Wales and interested in the Welsh language are being urged by the National Library of Wales and Tŷ Newydd Writers Centre, to support the publication of a new book, 26Treasures: THE BOOK, in time for St David’s Day.

The book, priced from just £10, will be the world’s first anthology of ‘sestudes’ – a new literary form of 62 words devised especially for the projects from which the book has arisen. It will include contributions from similar projects that took place at the V&A, the Ulster Museum and the National Museum of Scotland and features sestudes from leading poets and writers such as Gillian Clarke, the national poet of Wales; Andrew Motion and Alexander McCall Smith.

The ‘Wales’ section of the book features twenty six pieces of writing, 13 in Welsh and 13 in English, each inspired by a piece in the Library’s collection. Each sestude was translated into the other language, while keeping to the rule that the translation must also be exactly 62 words.

The Wales project was organised by writers collective 26, in collaboration with National Library of Wales, and Tŷ Newydd Writers’ Centre. Writers were paired at random with the objects – from a film of Lloyd George meeting Hitler to a self-portrait by Shani Rhys-James – and given six weeks to come up with their response.

The aim of the project was to tell the stories behind the objects and inspire visitors to the Library (or viewers of the collections online) to see the treasures in a new light.

The pieces of writing were displayed at last year’s National Eisteddfod as part of the Translators House Wales Translation Challenge, which is sponsored by Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru (The Association of Welsh Translators and Interpreters). The Bardic Staff was awarded to Hywel Meilyr Griffiths for his translation of Lin Sagovsky’s “Old banknotes”. It was a real feat of translation because Lin’s original piece – inspired by her randomly assigned object, Welsh banknotes from the 19th century – draws on the language of advertising slogans. 

The book features striking photographs of the objects and is being published through 'Unbound' the crowd-sourced funding website for books - and the deadline for people to commit to buying the book is, March 1, St David’s Day. 

If 26 Treasures receives enough funding via Unbound.co.uk, the book will become a reality, and those who pledged towards it will get their names printed in the back. Additional perks are available for those who pledge more generously, such as membership of 26, a tour with an author to see the featured treasures in one of the museums and a half-day creative writing workshop.


To buy the book, visit Unbound www.unbound.co.uk/books/26-treasures. To read the poems, their translations, and some of the stories behind their creation, visit 26 Treasures. www.26treasures.com.

For further information:Siôn Jobbins, NLW Press Office: 01970 632902 sion.jobbins@llgc.org.uk