During our first year we offered a programme of ’52 Things’ made with and for the city’s creative community to showcase the fantastic people and places in our city. You can find the full 52 here.

Dan Tyte is the managing director of Working Word PR and author of the novel Half Plus Seven. Dan has been a men’s columnist for the national newspaper of Wales, the Western Mail, and has written for national men’s magazines and literature magazines.

Please tell us a bit about your work.

I've worked in Public Relations since B.F. (Before Facebook) and have designed and delivered award-winning (who hasn’t?) campaigns for clients in just about every sector you can think of. I’m a director at Working Word, one of the biggest PR firms in Wales, and get to manage the reputations of some brilliant organisations. My debut novel, Half Plus Seven, was published in 2014 and is ‘a coming of age novel snorting with energy’ (if you believe the Daily Mail, and frankly, who does?). And I run a lit night, called Pyramid Scheme, with the writer Richard Owain Roberts. You should definitely come to the next one.

Why have you chosen to work in Cardiff and what inspires you about being here?

Cardiff chose me, I figure. It’s always been an immigrant city and I’ve got a Scandinavian wanderlust and Irish escapism to thank for being born here. My great-grandfather Thomas Vesterlund stowed away on a boat from Finland and ended up in the docks. My great-grandmother Amelia Brady made a similar journey from County Naven to Newtown. I left but came back (not on a boat) and it’s the spirit of those pioneers that inspires me today. I get to work with people from all over the world and, perhaps as importantly, all over Wales.

What challenges have you found working in Cardiff?

That it’s not London. And convincing people that they don’t need to work with people in London. Generally, all that takes is a chance to show what you can do, which is a pretty nice summation for succeeding in a creative life in general.

How successful has Cardiff been at making itself a creative capital city, particularly in your areas of work?

In PR, pretty well. There’s a lively scene and good, supportive community which gets the chance to do serious work thanks to devolution. And there’s one of the best MA courses in the country at Cardiff University bringing the next generation through. In literature, not so much.  Compare us to other capitals like Dublin or Edinburgh and we just don’t have the history or the break-out big, big names. Up for changing that, obviously.

What three things need to happen to make Cardiff a more creative city?

  • Putting cycling at the heart of the city’s transport plans. Cardiff is a beautiful (and mainly flat) city, but cycling here is annoying at best and dangerous at worst. I’d love to see the Council have the balls to adopt a Copenhagen style approach and redraw the road maps. It’s easier to think on two wheels than it is in traffic. You turn up where you need to go refreshed and ready-to-go, not downbeat and ready-to-rage.
  • The city to get behind the first (in a long time) Cardiff Book Festival. The organisers have a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to get the first one off the ground this October. It’s an obvious gap for a capital city and something we should have had years ago.  Reading’s a solitary act but at book festivals the word comes off the page and turns into talk and, hopefully, action. I can’t wait to see how it evolves and impacts on the city’s collective creativity.
  • An end to austerity politics and proper funding for grassroots projects. As a kid growing up in Splott, I had libraries to get lost in. Today’s kids need the same opportunities.

Describe your favourite creative place in Cardiff.

My dreams. If you ignore the fire-juggling elephants and can grab a pen before you forget the plot-line, there’s some killer stuff in there.

What new ideas/projects are you working on?

I’ve just finished the difficult second novel, a tale of lost love and WiFi signal, which you can expect to be enjoying on Eastern European city breaks in 2018. The third novel is underway and I’m expecting the Hollywood adaptation to win the 2021 Palm D’Or. 

What do you think Creative Cardiff should try to achieve?

Creative people always find a way of finding each other, but often it can be quite sector-specific, so bringing them together is a useful and achievable aim. Ensuring the creative industries have a voice when the big decisions are being made about the future of the city would be a noble ambition.

You can follow Dan on Twitter @dantyte.

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