Ceri Shaw



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Category: New Titles

wales 100 words.jpg A new book published this week offers a glimpse into some special words and phrases that are unique to Wales. From well-known words such as  cwtsh hiraeth crachach  and  Jac Codi Baw  to lesser used words and phrases such as  paneidio ansparadigeaethus  and  pendramwnwgl   Wales in 100 Words  is an off-beat collection of words that are in some way unique, evocative and special. Some are ancient and derive from Early Welsh, and others like  dim gobaith caneri  draw on Wales’s rich cultural and social heritage and many like  popty-ping  and  co bach  are new-born inventive creations for the digital age.

According to Garmon Gruffudd from Y Lolfa, publishers of the book,

“We should celebrate the rich vein of ancient evocative words and phrases we have in Welsh and also use some of the inventive, often colloquial and slang words we have, rather than official unimaginative words, often slavishly translated from English. In the days of  cyfieitheg  (translateish) and Google translate I hope that this book will prove that a language is far more than just words and that some things just can’t be translated.”

Although aimed at tourists and Welsh learners  Wales in 100 Words  will also teach something new and bring a smile to the faces of people who have spoken Welsh all their lives. It is also another contribution to the never-ending discussions on the most loved words in the Welsh language.

The book includes humorous illustrations by Osian Roberts. Originally from Llanerchymedd in Anglesey, after graduating at the Manchester School of Art Osian now lives in Porth in the Rhondda valley.

Priced at £3.99, Wales in 100 Words (Y Lolfa) is available now in bookshops and  www.ylolfa.com  

The top 100 words in alphabetical order

Annwn, Ansparadigaethus, awen, bach, bara brith, beic berfa,bendigedig, blodyn pi pi’n gwely, bochdew, bolgi, braich hir, buwch goch gota, bwci bo, bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn, calennig, Cantre’r Gwaelod, cariad, cath i gythraul, cawl, ceiliog, cerdd dant, chwyldro, chwyrligwgan, co bach, clatsho bant, cnapan, codi sgwarnogod, crachach, cromlech, crwth, cwm plu, Cwm Sgwt, cwrwgl, cwtsh, Cymru, cynefin, cynghanedd, cythraul canu, daps, Dic Siôn Dafydd, dim gobaith caneri, dros ben llestri, dwylo blewog, echnos, eisteddfod, englyn, esgyrn eira, glo mân, gog, gorsedd, gwdihŵ, gwynt traed y meirw, hiraeth, hwncomwnco, hwntw, hwyl, iechyd da!, igam ogam, Jac Codi Baw, jiw jiw!, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwll llandysulioygogogoch, ling di long, laeth mwnci, llwy garu, llwyth dyn diog, llyncu mul, MOM, mabinogion, manymanymwnci, milltir sgwâr, noson lawen, OMB!, paneidio, pendramwnwgl, pendwmpian, pengwin, Penmaenmawr, pibgorn, pili-pala, plygain, popty ping, pryd o dafod, randibŵ, Senedd, shwmai?, sinach, Sioni bob ochr, Taffia, traed dan bwrdd, twll o le, twmpath dawns, tŷ bach, y lôn goch, y pethe, y werin, y wladfa,y mab darogan, ych a fi!, yma o hyd, ynys afallon     


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unnamed 1.jpg A new book published by Y Lolfa aims to transform the way people think about Welsh independence. Authors Jim Wingate and Jen Llywelyn share personal experiences and practical exercises in this compact book that aims to decolonise minds.    

The book,  20 Radical Steps to Welsh Independence: By first decolonising our minds , is a self-help guide, giving the reader various examples and actions to transform the way the reader thinks about Wales. Jim has worked in 21 independent countries and uses that experience to show how things need to change in Wales. Jim and Jen say: “There’s a well-researched process called ‘decolonisation’. Every independent country has to go through decolonisation. Every individual citizen has to go through decolonisation – for example, going from being a colonised, ‘passive spectator’ to ‘taking action’ as a decolonised person. Many of these attitudes and beliefs are unconscious. This book enables you to identify all 20 of them and to liberate yourself from them all.”  

The book gives true stories, from the drowning of Tryweryn to housing and planning developments for your local area, giving ideas on ‘What can  you  do?’ yourself, and what can work in practice. There are also inspiring examples from throughout the world, including messages from the lives of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. The book also suggests ways of dealing with incomers and tourists in Wales, and has useful facts and statistics about thriving independent nations much smaller than Wales.  

The authors and campaigners Jim Wingate and Jen Llywelyn both have Welsh-speaking forebears. They were born in Cheltenham, Gloucester, and moved back to Cymru in 1997. Jim is a storyteller. He travels to Bavaria regularly to work in schools with pupils and teachers. Jen is author and editor of many books on Welsh culture; she has learned Cymraeg, and has spoken/written on Welsh independence on radio, television, and in newspapers. After 20 years in Ceredigion, Jim and Jen now live in northern Pembrokeshire.

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unnamed.jpg The 24 th  of April sees the release of a new book  Charles and the Welsh Revolt: The Explosive Start to King Charles III’s Royal Career  by Arwel Vittle. Charles' Investiture in 1969 marked a turning point in Welsh history. Feelings ran high about the installation of an English Prince of Wales, and there was almost open warfare between the police and young Welsh protesters. Demos and protests, dramatic stunts from the quasi-paramilitary Free Wales Army, hunger strikes, rifts in the Welsh Establishment, secret police, agents provocateurs and a well-organised bombing campaign - this book asks what caused this extreme reaction, whether it was worth it, and whether if could all happen again.

Author  Vittle, who runs a translation company, said it was "interesting" to hear the first hand accounts of the activists and extremists at the heart of the protest movement.

“It was a tense time not only with the bombing campaign, but also Cymdeithas yr Iaith’s non-violent protests and large rallies and Plaid Cymru getting its first electoral successes. I wanted to look at what caused this extreme reaction around Charles’ Investiture, whether it was worth it, and whether it could all happen again.”

The father-of-three and author of popular histories said: "I thought it would be interesting to look at Charles' formative years in public life as Prince, which started with a bang as it were, because of the political atmosphere in Wales, which at the time was pretty febrile.

"With Charles becoming King and his coronation yet to take place, I wanted to write a popular history book which was a good read as well as informing.

"Speaking to many participants, it was good to hear first hand, what it was like to be part of that period - things that aren't documented in many other history books.

"Many hadn't spoken out about their experiences before - particularly around the secret police and surveillance - some people compared Gwynedd at the time to being like a police state like East Germany and (the then) Czechoslovakia - it was interesting to lift the lid on that."

Charles and the Welsh Revolt by Arwel Vittle is published by Y Lolfa, priced at £9.99, and is available in good bookshops.

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Gêm Fwrdd sy’n ail Fyw Rhyfel Glyndŵr Dros Annibyniaeth

Mae’r Lolfa newydd ryddhau gêm fwrdd newydd Gymraeg sy’n ail-fyw gwrthryfel Owain Glyndŵr rhwng 1400-1405. Mae bwrdd y gêm wedi ei seilio ar fap o Gymru’r cyfnod ac yn cynnwys lleoliadau’r cestyll a’r brwydrau. Mae’r holl ddarnau a’r cardiau wedi eu creu yn bwrpasol i roi naws ac ymdeimlad cryf o’r canol oesoedd ac i gynnig profiad i’r rhai sy'n chwarae. Dyma’r gêm Gymraeg wreiddiol gyntaf i gael ei chyhoeddi ers blynyddoedd maith

Mae ar werth yn awr yn y Siopau Llyfrau Cymraeg am £25 a  www.ylolfa.com  am £30 yn cynnwys cludiant.

Yn ôl Geraint Thomas dyfeisydd y gem...

“Mae’r gêm yn wledd i’r llygaid, yn syml i’w chwarae ond hefyd gyda digon o elfennau amrywiol i’w wneud yn gyffrous. Bydd hefyd yn rhoi cyfle i bobl ddysgu am wrthryfel Glyndŵr ac i ail-fyw’r hanes mewn modd hwyliog. Gobeithio y bydd yn tanio’r dychymyg ac yn ysgogi pobl i ddarllen rhagor am Owain Glyndŵr a hanes Cymru.”

A New Welsh Board Game to Relive Glyndŵr’s Independence Rebellion

Y Lolfa have just released a new Welsh board game which relives the rebellion of Welsh national hero Owain Glyndŵr. According to the publishers this is the first original Welsh board game for almost 50 years. The game board is based on a map of Wales at the turn of the 15 th  century with drawings of the disputed castles and battles. All the pieces and cards have been purposely created to give a strong feel of the Middle Ages and to offer a genuine experience to those who play

It is available in Welsh Book Shops for £25 and  www.ylolfa.com  for £30 (p&p inc)

(Welsh game with bilingual instructions)

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From the end of the First World War in November 1918 until the fall of the last Liberal-led government in October 1922, Margaret Lloyd George, wife of David Lloyd George, “the Man who Won the War”, pursued an unprecedented series of political campaigns between all compass points of England and Wales. It was unprecedented for a “First Lady” to campaign on the political hustings, except in their husband’s own constituency. By and large, it has never been repeated in this manner.

The Campaigns of Margaret Lloyd George ,  published on 24 th  October 2022 (almost a century to the day after Lloyd George’s departure from 10 Downing Street at the hands of a vote at the now-labelled “1922 Committee”), tells this unique story in the words of Margaret Lloyd George herself, and in the words of the press that followed her tours. Dr J. Graham Jones, Director Emeritus of the Welsh Political Archive at the National Library of Wales, writes in his Foreword, “ The authentic voice of Dame Margaret Lloyd George comes through loud and clear.”

The book draws on an unpublished treasure trove of speeches, notes and correspondence, in her hand and in the hand of her private secretary, the Rev. J. T. Rhys (grandfather of the book’s author, Richard Rhys O’Brien), and others. The political campaigning began with her whirlwind two weeks during the controversial December 1918 general election, on one Saturday travelling 95 miles across South Wales, seeing 20,000 people, addressing 10 meetings – four in the open air – speaking in English and Welsh-  in four different constituencies.

Over the next four years she campaigned in as many by-elections as was practicable. For example, in 1919 she addressed large crowds in Plymouth on the eve of the election of Nancy Astor, the first woman to take her seat in the House of Commons. In February 1921 her campaigning tipped the scales in favour of Lloyd George’s Liberal candidate against the Asquithian Liberal in the Cardiganshire by-election, an election that widened the rift in the Liberal Party. In July 1922 she swept through the South West, from Bristol to Redruth, returning to Downing Street to petition her husband on behalf of the Cornish tin miners.

This was a time of seismic shifts in British politics, as the Liberals feuded and as the Labour Party edged towards their eventual first government in 1924.

The time was right for her interventions: in 1918 women for the first time had gained the vote. Furthermore, her husband, as soon as the November 1918 Armistice was signed, was plunged into negotiating the peace, culminating in the controversial Versailles Treaty in July 1919. Thereon he was focused on rebuilding the country, build “homes for heroes” and dealing with increasing industrial strife as the economy slowly recovered. His wife took his message around the country.

Alongside her political activities Mrs Lloyd George continued her humanitarian campaigns, for education, for women’s rights, for temperance, for new hospitals for the war casualties, for pensions for the soldiers and sailors, all following on from her wartime campaigns for the troops, for which she was made a Dame in 1920. Known thereon as Dame Margaret, she nonetheless generally preferred the simpler ‘Mrs Lloyd George’.

Aside from the good fortune of inheriting such a valuable archive, Richard has been inspired to write this story to restore the public reputation of Margaret Lloyd George, so strong a century ago, which has been largely forgotten, many merely remembering a little Welsh woman who preferred to be at home in Cricieth, North Wales and who, it is often erroneously stated, took little interest in national politics. Perhaps for good reason, no spouse of a Prime Minister has conducted such open political campaigning since the pioneering Mrs Lloyd George, though some have worked hard in the background. In his introduction Richard writes:  “The role of a Prime Minister’s partner is undefined, in theory allowing each holder of the office to fashion it at will - but minefields as well as opportunities abound. Mrs Lloyd George seized the opportunities and avoided the minefields with great skill, and while she only too often exhausted herself, she never over-reached.”

After the fall of Lloyd George from power a century ago Mrs Lloyd George continued her humanitarian work, as well as helping both her son Gwilym and her daughter Megan (the first Welsh woman at Westminster) to join their father on the back benches of the House of Commons. She died on 20th January 1941, at home in Cricieth, after a fall and subsequent illness.

The book closes with the generous comment made in 1922 by an otherwise opposing Asquithian Liberal:  “Dame Margaret is so obviously what we may all desire to be, a real good woman doing her utmost to tread worthily the path in which the fates have placed her.”

The Campaigns of Margaret Lloyd George  by Richard Rhys O'Brien is published by  Y Lolfa , on the 24th October, price £14.99.

From Advance reviews:

“we can now understand rather better the remarkable work and words of this indefatigable woman whose influence has previously been underplayed.”  Angela V. John,  President of Llafur, the Welsh People’s History Society

“An important contribution to Welsh History as well as to the story of party politics in general after the First World War.”  Kenneth O. Morgan , House of Lords

… a meticulous and valuable contribution to our understanding of the admirable Margaret Lloyd George.”   Ffion Hague , Biographer of Margaret Lloyd George in  The Pain and the Privilege .

“Finally, a serious study of the life and work of this remarkable woman… bringing her bright, shrewd personality to light.”  Huw Edwards , journalist and broadcaster

At 7.30 pm Thursday 27th October, Richard will address the Friends of the Lloyd George Museum, Llanystumdwy, near Cricieth, on the story of this remarkable woman.

Richard is a former international economist, scenario planner and strategist, author of  Global Financial Integration: the End of Geography , (cited as “one of two iconic books on globalisation” by Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable ), editor of more than a dozen books, former council member of Chatham House (the Royal Institute of International Affairs), and currently a member of the Advisory Board of  The Annual Register  on World Events. In addition to releasing six albums of his own songs, his online study  www.TheDinnerPuzzle.com  focuses on Lady Margaret Rhondda and the pioneering women of the 1930s.

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The Nanteos Cup

Back in 2014 many were shocked when it was reported that the priceless religious artefact known as the Nanteos Cup had been stolen from its owner’s home in Herefordshire.

The Nanteos Cup is an ancient wooden bowl which for many years was kept at the Mid Wales mansion called Nanteos, whence the vessel derived its name. It is believed to have originated from the medieval Cistercian abbey of Strata Florida.

In 2015 the Cup was recovered by police and in 2016 it was given a new home in the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth where it remains on permanent display.

Many traditions and legends grew around the Cup including the belief that it had healing powers and was made from the wood of the True Cross or may even have been the Holy Grail used by Christ at the Last Supper and may have come from Glastonbury.

Now three authors have written the first dedicated, in-depth history of the Nanteos Cup, chronicling its history from medieval times to the present day. A treasure trove of previously unknown information has been uncovered which goes a long way to identifying, for the first time, the origins and history of the relic. The book examines the way in which the stories and practices around the Cup have evolved over the years and introduces the many colourful characters who have been drawn to the vessel.

The Nanteos Grail is written by John Matthews, Ian Pegler and Fred Stedman-Jones. John Matthews has been a writer for more than 40 years on myth, folklore and ancient traditions. He was awarded a BAFTA for his work as an historical advisor on the movie King Arthur (2004) and his book Pirates (Carlton/Athenaeum) was a number one New York Times bestseller for 22 weeks in 2005. Ian Pegler is a regular reader at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth and has researched Welsh history and legends for many years. Fred Stedman-Jones was chairman of the Pendragon Society and an acknowledged expert on the Nanteos Cup; he was the consultant behind the scenes for a number of documentaries on the Holy Grail which he researched for over 30 years.

The Nanteos Grail was published in March 2022 by Amberley and is widely available from online sellers.

The Nanteos Grail on Wikipedia

Buy 'The Nanteos Grail' here

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Dic Penderyn: The Man and the Martyr

By Ceri Shaw, 2022-07-26

Ddydd Sadwrn yma bydd y cofiant cyntaf llawn i Dic Penderyn yn cael ei lansio. Gellir prynu Dic Penderyn: The Man and the Martyr gan Sally Roberts Jones yn www.ylolfa.com  ac mewn siopau llyfrau am £9.99. Dilynwch y ddolen  yma  am wybodaeth lawn.

This Saturday the first full biography of Dic Penderyn will be launched. Dic Penderyn: The Man and the Martyr, by Sally Roberts Jones is available in bookshops and  www.ylolfa.com  for £9.99. Follow this  link  for more details.

Dic Penderyn: The Man and the Martyr  will be launched at 10:30am on Saturday, 30 th  July at Aberafan Library (1 st  Floor, Aberafan Shopping Centre, Port Talbot, SA13 1PB). The event is free but spaces are limited, so booking is required. Please contact the Library (01639 763490).

The free concert will be held at the Grand Hotel, Port Talbot, starting at 7pm on Saturday, 30 th  July. Excerpts from  Iniquity / Camwedd  and a performance by singer-songwriter Martyn Joseph. There will also be a book signing with Sally Roberts Jones. To ensure a seat, contact Eirwen Hopkins:  eirwenhopkins@aol.com  / 07873 985527.


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National Hero or Small-town Coward?

By Ceri Shaw, 2022-03-22

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Chapel and Rugby. The lodestars of Welsh cultural life in the twentieth century.  One proclaiming peace and love and the promise of everlasting paradise. The other a brutal  release of pent-up aggression.

What happens when the two come into conflict?

Last Match by debut novelist Martin Rhys answers that question in what early reviews label  ‘an authentic and compelling story’.

Colin Lewis looks set to become Wales’s next rugby superstar. International fame can only  be a matter of time.  But the time is 1939, and off the field, Colin is a different person. For a start, he is a pacifist,  and World War 2 looms large.

When he declares himself a conscientious objector, Colin plummets from local hero to social  pariah. A conchie who needs to be punished for his cowardice.  His girlfriend, Martha, understands the bravery it takes to stand up against the herd for  something you believe in. A warrior to the core, she won’t stand by and watch her man be  persecuted by the bullies. Even when the biggest bully is her own father.

But as the war runs on, and the casualties mount up, can even Martha withstand the pressure?  When the war ends, Colin yearns to get back to the rugby field, the only place he feels  comfortable.  But although the war has ended, cruelty and persecution have not. How much punishment  and humiliation can a proud man take?

Because a pacifist cannot fight back. Can he?

Available in paperback and e-book on Amazon.com .

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Mae'r Lolfa newydd ryddhau argraffiad newydd clawr meddal o Hands off Wales gan Dr Wyn Thomas. Mae'r gyfrol 450 tudalen ar werth mewn siopau llyfrau a  www.ylolfa.com  am £19.99 (yn cynnwys cludiant)

Y Lolfa have released a new paperback edition of Hands of Wales by Dr Wyn Thomas. The 450pp book is avialable in bookshops and  www.ylolfa.com  for £19.99 (p&p inc).

Destined to be the definitive historical analysis of the events leading up to Welsh devolution  - John Jenkins

An important book on an important topic in both Welsh and British history  - Dr Martin Johnes

The established history of the Tryweryn and Anti-Investiture Campaigns  - Dr John Davie


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"Partly as a small curtain-raiser for my coming book The Snow Leopard of Moscow & Other Stories  and partly in the context of what's happening in Ukraine, I've posted on my website some photos I took at Chekhov's house, with some thoughts thereon.

The book will be out  shortly, later this month, all being well. Updates on my site and on Facebook as things hopefully click into place. 

With best wishes,

Matthew G. Rees"

www.matthewgrees.com/events- contact

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