Ten years ago, the Department of English was approached by the Royal Literary Fund with the proposal that a partnership be formed that would allow the RLF to place a Writing Fellow in the department whose responsibility would be to help develop the basic language and writing skills of students right across the University campus. This proposal was warmly embraced by the Department, so that Swansea became one of the half-dozen universities to pilot a scheme that has, by now, been extended to almost 100 HE institutions across the UK.
The first Fellow to be appointed under this new scheme was Sally Roberts Jones, who ensured it got off to an excellent start. Her groundbreaking efforts enabled Stevie Davies, the next Fellow, to consolidate and develop the scheme quite dramatically, so that it became acknowledged by the RLF as a model for all other partner HE to emulate. With the arrival of Lucy English and Roger Garfitt the scheme took on other dimensions and further increased its impact, so that when Sally Roberts Jones returned, in partnership with Menna Elfyn, the scheme seemed at times in danger of becoming overwhelmed by campus-wide demands. In autumn, 2009, Jo Mazelis will succeed the retiring Sally to ensure, in partnership with Menna, that this invaluable service continues to flourish.
To celebrate the RLF-Swansea University partnership, a special event, hosted by the Vice-Chancellor, was held in the university’s Council Room on April 23, and attended by some 30 invited guests. In welcoming everyone to the gathering, Professor Richard Davies paid very warm tribute to the work the RLF had done at Swansea over ten years, and emphasised how vitally important the service it had providing had become. In thanking everyone who had been involved in the management of the scheme, he paid particular tribute to Sally Roberts Jones, who was presented, by way of acknowledgement, with two handsome presents to mark her retirement after the best part of a decade’s association with the RLF in the Swansea area. The first was an early edition of a Winnie-the-Pooh book – the RLF scheme is underpinned money from the A. A. Milne estate . The second was a beautiful limited edition of The Book of Ruth, published by the internationally renowned small press, Gwasg Gregynog. Both gifts were presented to Sally by Steve Cook, the initiator of the RLF scheme who had managed it with such notable deftness throughout the first decade of its life