Bethan Gwanas with Bywyd Blodwen Jones cover

Awdures Bethan Gwanas: Creu Blodwen Jones / Author Bethan Gwanas: Creating Blodwen Jones

In Authors: How and Why I Wrote/Learners

Mae Bethan Gwanas wedi arloesi wrth ysgrifennu nofelau i ddysgwyr gyda’i chyfres ‘Blodwen Jones’. Maen nhw’n dal i fod yn boblogaidd ac maen nhw wedi helpu miloedd o ddysgwyr i deimlo’n gyfforddus wrth ddarllen, ac maen nhw wedi codi llawer o hwyl hefyd! Yma, mae’r awdures Elin Meek yn cyfweld â Bethan ynghylch creu Blodwen…

Bethan Gwanas has pioneered writing novels for learners with the series ‘Blodwen Jones’. They are still popular and they have helped thousands of learners feel comfortable with reading, and raised lots of laughter as well! Here, noted author Elin Meek interviews Bethan about creating Blodwen…

Mae’r tri llyfr Blodwen Jones wedi bod yn boblogaidd dros ben. Pam, rwyt ti’n meddwl?
Dw i’n meddwl mai nhw oedd y llyfrau cyntaf efo llais y dysgwr. Dyddiadur rhywun sy’n dysgu iaith dan nhw. Er ’mod i wedi dysgu Ffrangeg ac Almaeneg yn yr ysgol, roedd y profiad o ddysgu Sbaeneg fel oedolyn yn wahanol iawn. Am y tro cyntaf, ro’n i’n deall sut roedd oedolion yn teimlo mewn dosbarth. Ro’n i’n sylweddoli pa mor anodd ydy dysgu fel oedolyn, dysgu am ramadeg yr iaith ac ati. Mewn ffordd, ro’n i’n tynnu ar fy mhrofiadau fy hun.
The three Blodwen Jones books have been most popular. Why, do you think?
I think they were the first books which had the learner’s voice. They are the diary of a language learner. Although I had learnt French and German in school, the experience of learning Spanish as an adult was very different. For the first time, I understood how adults feel in a class. I realised how difficult learning as an adult is, learning about the language’s grammar and so on.
Mae’r llyfrau’n ddoniol iawn. Oedd hynny’n fwriadol?
Ro’n i’n gweld cyfle i gael hwyl, er enghraifft, mae Blodwen yn defnyddio’r geiriadur i chwilio am y gair dandruff yn Gymraeg ac yn gweld y gair cen, sydd hefyd yn enw dyn. Mae llawer o hiwmor yn codi wrth ddysgu iaith, ac ro’n i’n meddwl bod rhaid cynnwys hynny. Ro’n i’n gofyn i diwtoriaid am enghreifftiau o bethau doniol roedd pobl yn eu dweud yn y dosbarth. Wedyn, ro’n i’n eu cynnwys nhw yn y llyfrau.
The books are very amusing. Was that intentional?
I saw an opportunity to have fun, for instance, Blodwen uses the dictionary to look up the word dandruff in Welsh and sees the word cen, which is also a man’s name. A lot of humour arises when learning a language, and I thought that it had to be included. I used to ask tutors for examples of amusing things people said in class. Then, I used them in the books.
Wyt ti’n debyg i Blodwen Jones?
Ydw, yn y bôn, Blodwen ydy fi. Neu mae hi’n gymysgedd o fi, Phoebe o’r gyfres Friends, a Felicity Kendall yn The Good Life. Mae llawer o bethau sy’n digwydd i Blodwen wedi digwydd i fi.
Are you similar to Blodwen Jones?
Yes, in essence, Blodwen is me. Or she’s a mixture of me, Phoebe from the series Friends, and Felicity Kendall in The Good Life. Many things which happen to Blodwen have happened to me.
Sut cafodd Blodwen ei ‘geni’?
Mi ges i wahoddiad i fynd ar gwrs ysgrifennu i ganolfan Tŷ Newydd, Llanystumdwy. Cwrs i ysgrifennu ar gyfer dysgwyr oedd o. Cyn llyfrau Blodwen, doedd dim llawer iawn o lyfrau i ddysgwyr. Roedd rhaid i ddysgwyr droi at lyfrau plant hefyd. Mi gaeth y llyfr cyntaf, Bywyd Blodwen Jones ei gyhoeddi yn 1999. Dw i’n credu ei fod o wedi cael ei argraffu 8 neu 9 gwaith ers hynny. Yna daeth Blodwen Jones a’r Aderyn Prin yn 2001 a Tri Chynnig i Blodwen Jones yn 2003.
How was Blodwen ‘born’?
I was invited to go on a writing course to Tŷ Newydd centre, in Llanystumdwy. It was a course for writing for learners. Before the Blodwen books, there weren’t very many books for learners. Learners had to turn to children’s books as well. The first book, Bywyd Blodwen Jones, was published in 1999. I think it’s been reprinted 8 or 9 times since then. Then came Blodwen Jones a’r Aderyn Prin in 2001 and Tri Chynnig i Blodwen Jones in 2003.
Oes gobaith am bedwerydd llyfr Blodwen Jones?
Wel, mae’r wasg, Gomer, wedi sôn am bedwerydd llyfr, ond mae llawer o brosiectau eraill gen i ar y ddesg ar hyn o bryd. Dw i a Siân James, y gantores, wedi bod yn sôn am greu fersiwn sioe gerdd o Blodwen. Baswn i wrth fy modd taswn i’n gallu gweld Blodwen ar y llwyfan.
Any hope of a fourth Blodwen Jones book?
Well, the publishers, Gomer, have mentioned a fourth book, but I have many other projects on the desk at the moment. I and the singer Siân James have been talking about creating a musical version of Blodwen. I’d be delighted if I could see Blodwen on stage.
Oes gwaith arall i ddysgwyr ar y gweill gen ti?
Dw i newydd orffen nofel ysgafn ar lefel Sylfaen. Teitl: Y Llwybr Gwaed neu Y Traed Gwaed – dw i ddim yn siŵr eto! Mae hi am ddyn sy’n cerdded yn ei gwsg ac mae ’na ddarnau doniol (a gwaed) ynddi. Dw i’n diwtor ers sawl blwyddyn, felly mae hynny wedi bod yn help mawr.
Have you got other work for learners on the go?
I’ve just completed a light novel at Sylfaen level. The title is The Blood-covered Path or The Blood-covered Feet – I’m not sure yet! It’s about a man who sleepwalks and there are amusing bits (and blood) in it. I’ve been a tutor for many years, so that’s been a great help.
Beth yw’r ymateb mwyaf cofiadwy rwyt ti wedi’i gael i lyfrau Blodwen?
Ryw dro, ro’n i yn siop Awen Meirion, yn y Bala, a dywedodd Gwyn, y perchennog wrtha i fod rhywun yno oedd newydd orffen darllen Bywyd Blodwen Jones. Simon Thirsk oedd o, awdur Not Quite White, nofel oedd ar restr fer Gwobr Nofel Gyntaf Costa yn 2010. Roedd o’n dysgu Cymraeg, ac meddai wrtha i, “You make us feel clever”. A dw i’n credu mai dyna’r gyfrinach. Mae dysgwyr isio teimlo’n gyfforddus wrth ddarllen, dan nhw ddim isio chwilio am lawer o eiriau yn y geiriadur. Dw i’n ceisio gwneud yr un fath efo pob llyfr dw i’n ei ysgrifennu a dweud y gwir.
What is the most memorable response you’ve had to the Blodwen books?
I was once in the Welsh shop in Bala, Awen Meirion, and Gwyn, the owner, told me that there was someone there who had just finished reading Bywyd Blodwen Jones. It was Simon Thirsk, the author of Not Quite White, a novel shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award in 2010. He was learning Welsh, and he told me, “You make us feel clever”. And I think that’s the secret. Learners want to feel comfortable when they read, they don’t want to look for many words in the dictionary. I try to do the same with every book I write, to be honest.
Ond dydy ysgrifennu’n syml ddim yn hawdd, ydy o?
Nac ydy, siŵr iawn. Dw i’n credu mai Nathaniel Hawthorne ddwedodd yn Saesneg, “Easy reading is damned hard writing”. Felly, er mwyn i rywbeth fod yn hawdd ei ddarllen, mae isio gweithio’n galed wrth ysgrifennu.
But writing in a simple way isn’t easy, is it?
No, certainly not. I think it was Nathaniel Hawthorne who said, “Easy reading is damned hard writing”. Therefore, in order for something to be easy to read, one has to work hard when writing.
Diolch, Bethan, am weithio’n galed wrth ysgrifennu a rhoi cymaint o bleser i ddysgwyr- Elin MeekThank you, Bethan, for working hard when writing and giving Welsh learners so much pleasure- Elin Meek

Mae dysgwyr isio teimlo’n gyfforddus wrth ddarllen.

gwanas.wordpress.com / BethanGwanas

Yr awdures Bethan Gwanas

Bywyd Blodwen JonesBlodwen Jones a'r Aderyn PrinTri Chynnig i Blodwen Jones

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