The powerful rural stories of the semi-legendary people who lived in the ancient village of Tremeirchion and the unorthodox community of Sodom in the Clwydian Range of Denbighshire are told for the first time in On a Dark Night with Enough Wind (Y Lolfa). The author, Lilla Pennant – part English, part Welsh – tells her story which is connected to our rural past with its drama, comedies and tragedies.
“From my early childhood I was fascinated by the self-sufficiency and wisdom of the people who lived ‘on the mountain’ near my childhood home. I wanted to know their story. Over the years that I interviewed people and drafted this book I learned about a whole hidden way of life. I acquired a huge respect for the people of the hilltops, their courage, ingenuity and wit,” said Lilla Pennant.
The book is a snapshot of a traditional way of living, with the oral histories collected by the author in the 1980s, from the community in which she grew up. At the time, one particular family lived in a farmhouse that showed barely any trace of the twentieth century. Pennant tells the story of the people who lived in the Welsh hills, who were neither farmers, nor employees, but lived by their wits on dark winter nights with a steady wind.
“I didn’t intend to write this book. I set out to write about the rich history from this part of the Vale of Clwyd, but I am not a historian, and it was not going well. I started writing from the oral history that I had collected, and the book took off! Since writing this book in the 1980s, genetic research has found that descendants of the earliest surviving race in all the British Isles were to be found not in Scotland or Ireland, but in North Wales, or the mountainous world of North-West Wales to be precise,” said Lilla Pennant.
Reviewers have described On a Dark Night with Enough Wind as:
“Lilla Pennant has created an important piece of work documenting the stories of a life in Tremeirchion and Sodom by seeking out and listening to the oral stories of people living on the mountain and then committing the stories to paper for future generations to read.” Roy Hogben
“The book had me gripped from beginning to end. It is an interesting mix of a mystery story that turns into a elegy for a lost way of life. Above all I was moved by her obvious love for the people she writes about and her desire to make sure that their stories are not lost.” Jessica Starmer
Lilla Pennant grew up in Wales. She has worked as a freelance writer in London and New York. She has written two small books on remarkable civilian stories from both world wars. She has also worked in the field of family violence and published professional articles in this field. Lilla Pennant currently lives in the United States.
On a Dark Night with Enough Wind by Lilla Pennant (£7.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.