Gaabriel Becket


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Category: Book News

The Terry Davies Story cover The bestselling autobiography of the first superstars of rugby union, Terry Davies, has reached the shortlist of rugby book of the year at a prestigious awards.

Terry Davies - Wales’s First Superstar Fullback by Terry Davies with Geraint Thomas has reached the The Cross Sports Book Awards Rugby Book of the Year short list.

‘The Cross Sports Book Awards is the major annual promotion for sports writing and publishing leading to Father’s Day. The Awards will be filmed and aired on Sky Sports.

In his autobiography, Terry Davies reveals the truth about his life in rugby in the 1950s as well as the loss of his talented brother to leukaemia at a young age.

He also reveals all about what happened to that crossbar that was stolen from Twickenham in 1958.

The book tells of the remarkable life story of the Lions star, encompassing his childhood in Llanelli, learning rugby in Strade School, making his debut as a schoolboy for Swansea, entering the Royal Marines and winning his first cap before going on to become a household name

The boy from Bynea, who combined the good looks of a young Robert Redford with silky skills and tough as teak tackling, went on to wow crowds across the rugby playing world through his displays for Wales and the British and Irish Lions in 1959. The 2017 British and Irish Lions will embark on their tour to New Zealand in June.

From the highs of touring New Zealand and beating the All Blacks in their own back yard to the lows of a career-threatening shoulder injury, his rugby journey, which began as a nervous 17 year old one rainy day up in Ebbw Vale and ended with universal acclaim, is real Roy of the Rovers stuff .

‘Terry is a natural storyteller,’ said co-writer Geraint Thomas, ‘His book is packed with humour. He typifies the Welsh humour once so prevalent amongst the working class,’

‘His tale is both a social commentary and cultural account of Welsh life pre and post war as well as a priceless account of a bygone age of rugby union’ added Geraint.

‘As a young inspiring player he left a huge impression on me due to the way he stood out from the rest.’ added Sir Gareth Edwards, who wrote the introduction to the book.

The book is presented in memory of Terry’s brother Len, who was caped for Wales before Terry, but died in his twenties of leukaemia.

Geraint Thomas is a Swansea Valley based journalist, writer and playwright. After graduating from Cardiff University's School of Journalism he secured a position as a news reporter on the South Wales Evening Post where he is currently still employed. He also writes the occasional feature for Swansea Life magazine.

Category winners will be announced at a star-studded black tie dinner at – Nursery Pavilion, Lord’s Cricket Ground on 24th May at 6pm.

The winners of the awards will become the shortlist for the overall Sports Book of the Year 2017, voted by the public at .

The Terry Davies Story: Wales’s first superstar fullback by Geraint Thomas (£9.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

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This was the thing that brought us to Hay, an invitation to come to the New Welsh Writing Awards shortlist announcement ceremony, put on by the literary magazine, the New Welsh Review.  Below is their press release,with details on the event.  There are also links to read the stories and to vote for the winning story, any reader can vote -

Travel Writing Prize shortlist encompasses three continents

2016 New Welsh Review, New Welsh Writing Awards shortlist members 2016 New Welsh Writing Awards shortlist, Photo: Left to right, Mandy Sutter, Nathan Llywelyn Munday, John Harrison

New Welsh Review, in association with the University of South Wales and CADCentre, announced the shortlist for the New Welsh Writing Awards 2016: University of South Wales Prize for Travel Writing at an event at the Hay Festival on 1 June.

Two professional writers, John Harrison and Mandy Sutter and PhD student Nathan Llywelyn Munday are now in the running for the top prize, which will be announced at a ceremony at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff on 7 July 2016.

The Prize celebrates the best short form travel writing (5,000-30,000 words) from emerging and established writers based in the UK and Ireland plus those who have been educated in Wales. The judges are New Welsh Review editor Gwen Davies and award winning travel writer Rory MacLean.

First prize is £1,000 cash, e-publication by New Welsh Review on their New Welsh Rarebyte imprint in 2016 and a positive critique by leading literary agent Cathryn Summerhayes at WME. Second prize is a weeklong residential course in 2016 of the winner’s choice at Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre in Gwynedd, north Wales. Third prize is a weekend stay at Gladstone’s Library in Flintshire, north Wales. All three winners will also receive a one-year subscription to the magazine.

The shortlist comprises two books and a long-form essay in uplifting prose set in Europe, Africa and South America. In Mandy Sutter’s ‘Bush Meat: As My Mother Told Me’, a Nigerian domestic scene unfolds, where subtle and interdependent racial and class issues are seething under a tight lid. John Harrison’s book tracks the rise and fall of the pre-Columbian city of Tiwanaku in Bolivia, highest city in the ancient world and the hub of a trading empire stretching from Chile to Peru. And European creation myths are the theme in Nathan Llywelyn Munday’s map of the highs and lows of the grand narrative as he treks with his father through the Pyrenees.

The standard this year was once again so high that a further three, highly commended entries were awarded, which will all be published in extract form in the autumn edition of New Welsh Reader (112), New Welsh Review’s creative magazine, publishing on 1 September. Entrants will receive a standard fee of £170 for publication. These highly commended pieces, two long-form essays and a prose book, range from a Trans-Siberian train voyage, through explorations of home, exile and return in Ghana and Liberia, and a love story to underground springs of Mayan culture in tourist-riven Yucatan.


John Harrison (London, England) The Rains of Titikaka

Nathan Llywelyn Munday (Cardiff, Wales) Seven Days: A Pyrenean Trek

Mandy Sutter (Ilkley, England)            Bush Meat: As My Mother Told Me

Highly commended

Hannah Garrard (Norwich, England) No Situation is Permanent

Julie Owen Moylan (Cardiff, Wales) Anxiety and Wet Wipes on Train Number Four

Karen Philips (Pembrokeshire, Wales)           Stranger Shores

Shortlist Showcase with Interviews, Readings and Animation, produced by Emily Roberts in partnership with Aberystwyth University: (this will go live at 4pm on 1 June).

Last year’s winner, Eluned Gramich, whose essay Woman Who Brings the Rain: A Memoir of Hokkaido, Japan has just been shortlisted for the Wales Book of the Year 2016: The Open University in Wales Creative Non-Fiction Award. Her essay is available as a Kindle ebook (£2.99) and in print in shops throughout Wales and via (£7.99).

New Welsh Review also announced the Best Travel Book Poll shortlist at the event. The shortlist of three titles was voted for by the public from an original longlist of 20 titles selected by co-judges Gwen Davies and Rory MacLean with nominations from the students of the University of South Wales and librarians across Wales.

Losing Israel by Jasmine Donahaye (Seren)

Wildwood: A Journey through Trees by Roger Deakin (Penguin)

A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor (John Murray)

The public will now be able to vote for the winner, which will be revealed on 7 July. For more information visit    #newwelshawards

For images, more details on the Prize, Travel Book Poll and for interview requests please contact Megan Farr on or 07912149249

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So, Ceri and I are selfishly enjoying ourselves very much at the Hay Literary Festival and I wanted to share the festival's press release, so people who haven't heard of it or don't know much about it can find out more, below.  We found that, in addition to the regular festival, they've also put on two more events collectively called "How the Light Gets In," a music event (in its second year) and a philosophy event(in its eighth year). So far we've walked all over, got to talk to Owen Sheers and Chris Keil and Alan Bilton, made it to a few events and bought some books and we saw Tony Robinson ( Black Adder and Time Team ) standing there thinking about what he was going to do next and we (ok, I) mightily refrained from racing over like an idiot squealing "Baldrick!! Baldrick!!!!!" and ruining his day.

Without further ado, Hay's press release:

Imagining the world at Hay Festival 2016

In a year of literary landmarks (Shakespeare, Cervantes, Brontë and Dahl), and on the eve of the EU referendum and US election, Hay Festival 2016 (26 May–5 June) brings Nobel Prize winners, novelists, scientists, global leaders, historians, musicians and comedians together in discussions and celebrations across more than 600 events in Hay-on-Wye, Wales.

The programme, announced today and available in full at , is diverse, pertinent and illuminating, featuring global leaders, thinkers, established talent and rising stars from across disciplines.

Hay Festival Director, Peter Florence, said:

“These are the writers and thinkers and entertainers who thrill us this year. These are the women and men who inform the debate about Europe, who are adventuring in new technologies, and who are broadening our minds; and here are the lovers of language who cheer the celebrations of William Shakespeare, the greatest writer who ever lived – the playwright who understood most about the human heart.”

From stage and screen, Oscar winner Sam Mendes will discuss his film-making; Russell T Davies talks about his latest project alongside actress Maxine Peake , who also appears with Paapa Essiedu to discuss Hamlet; legendary screenwriter Andrew Davies talks about his adaptation of War and Peace ; Jojo Moyes previews the new film adaptation of Me Before You ; the stars of Poldark appear; and actor Brian Blessed , travel legend Michael Palin , and music superstar Tom Jones discuss their careers. Plus Letters Live returns with a cast comprised of Olivia Colman , Tom Hollander , Louise Brealey , Toby Jones , Mark Strong and Kelvin Jones .

William Shakespeare is celebrated across the festival site with events starring leading figures from books, stage and screen. Simon Schama, James Shapiro, Germaine Greer, Gillian Clarke and others discuss his impact, while Howard Jacobson, Jeanette Winterson, and Tracy Chevalier discuss their recent retellings. See #TalkingaboutShakespeare for details of more than 80 events.

The festival’s own commemoration, a special project linked to the 400th anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes, will be unveiled in a special event strand – Lunatics, Lovers and Poets – led by Salman Rushdie , Kamila Shamsie , Valeria Luiselli and Juan Gabriel Vásquez . Outside the festival site, Hay Festival: Talking About Shakespeare is a digital platform sharing ideas on Shakespeare in this anniversary year, with a wider audience.

Three weeks before the 23 June EU referendum, the festival places a magnifying glass on the main issues, with discussions led by former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown ; former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis ; former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King ; and former advisor to David Cameron, Steve Hilton . As ever, the festival also incorporates a wider global affairs strand, with the US election, Russian resurgence, and the Middle East looming large, led by panellists including: Nobel Literature Laureate Svetlana Alexievich , former deputy head of NATO Richard Shirreff , former head of the CIA and NSA Michael V Hayden , and Iranian human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi .

From radiation to ribosomes, a range of prize-winning scientists offers a look at the frontiers of our discovery. Nobel Prize-winning chemist, Venki Ramakrishnan , gives the Royal Society Lecture, on unravelling the ribosome; science writer Kat Arney talks about the language of genes; Hannah Crichtlow explores the depths of the human brain; and Professor Timothy J Jorgensen gives the story of radiation. The first female winner of The Royal Society’s book prize, Gaia Vince , charts our new geological age: the Athropocene; and Marcus du Sautoy discusses the limits of what we can know, in the John Maddox Lecture.

Stars from book and screen celebrate the great outdoors, including Kate Humble , Monty Don and Chris Packham , while the past is revisited in talks from Tom Holland , Max Hastings , Jonathan Dimbleby , Philippe Sands and many more. Meanwhile, business leaders including BP CEO John Browne and household name Emma Bridgewater appear alongside a host of big thinkers including philosopher AC Grayling , mental health campaigner Ruby Wax , journalist Caitlin Moran and Everyday Sexism founder Laura Bates .

The backbone of the festival remains a rich picking of discussions around the best new fiction from established names and rising stars, including Salman Rushdie ( Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights ), Edna O’Brien ( The Little Red Chairs ), Fay Weldon ( Before the War ), James Runcie ( Sidney Chambers and The Dangers of Temptation ), Joanne Harris ( Different Class ), Rose Tremain ( The Gustav Sonata ), Graham Swift ( Mothering Sunday ), Harry Parker ( Anatomy of a Soldier ), Melvyn Bragg ( Now is the Time ), Thomas Keneally ( Napolean’s Last Island ), Valeria Luiselli ( The Story of My Teeth ), Peter Carey ( Amnesia: A Novel ), Tahmima Anam ( The Bones of Grace ), Mark Haddon ( The Pier Falls ), Jonathan Coe ( Number 11 ), Marina Lewycka ( The Lubetkin Legacy ), James Runcie ( The Grantchester Mysteries ), S J Parris ( Conspiracies ) plus BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner, who launches his debut novel Blood and Sand ; and Alain de Botton offers his first novel in 20 years ( The Course of Love ).

A series of unique pairings will also draw crowds, including Irvine Welsh ( The Blade Artist ) in conversation with 2015 Man Booker winner Marlon James ( A Brief History of Seven Killings ), and David Mitchell ( The Bone Clocks ) in conversation with Sjon ( Moonstone, The Boy Who Never Was ).

To balance the serious discussions, a rich strand of comedy and music will once again fill festival tents, with internationally acclaimed comedians taking the stage, including Sarah Millican , Marcus Brigstocke , Dara Ó Briain , Sara Pascoe , Isy Suttie , and the Olivier Award-winning improvised musical Showstoppers , plus music headlined by American singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega ; English singer-songwriters Billy Bragg and Laura Marling ; Scottish superstar K T Tunstall ; Indie rockers Turin Brakes ; and Sengalese sensation Baaba Maal . In a grand finale to our 29th festival, the Welsh legends Bryn Terfel and Rebecca Evans give a concert of solos and duets by Purcell, Mozart, Obradors, Clara Schumann, Finzi, Quilter and Meirion Williams.

A newly named children’s programme – HAYDAYS – offers a range of activities and events for families and young adults led by some of the biggest names in children’s writing including Julia Donaldson , Jacqueline Wilson , Malorie Blackman , Chris Riddell , Michael Morpurgo , Cressida Cowell , and CBBC’s Sam and Mark , plus YA superstars Frances Hardinge , Holly Smale , Juno Dawson , Patrick Ness , and vlogging sensation Caspar Lee , who will discuss the power of social media and his unexpected life at the heart of it.

Meanwhile, the festival opens with two days of free programming for primary and secondary students, funded by the Hay Educational Trust and the Welsh Government, while the new education hub Hay Compass hosts a series of new initiatives including Hay Levels Live – a chance for A Level students to grill the experts on topics from Maths to Shakespeare.

Beyond the main stages is a whole host of activities for all ages to discover and enjoy, from the best local food and drink, creative workshops and artists’ exhibitions, to a blockbuster programme of free BBC events and the opportunity to explore the stunning countryside surrounding the festival site.

For the full line-up, and to book tickets, visit or call the box office on 01497 822 629.

Keep up to date with Hay Festival’s news by signing up to the newsletter here or follow them on Twitter: @HayFestival and Facebook: HayFestival .  

Hay Festival brings writers and readers together to inspire, examine and entertain at its festivals around the world. Nobel Prize-winners and novelists, scientists and politicians, historians and musicians talk with audiences in a dynamic exchange of ideas. Hay Festival’s global conversation shares the latest thinking in the arts and sciences with curious audiences live, in print and digitally.  Hay Festival also runs wide programmes of education work supporting coming generations of writers and culturally hungry audiences of all ages. Join us to imagine the world. 

Acclaimed author, actor and writer Stephen Fry is President of the organisation; Peter Florence is Director; and Caroline Michel , CEO of leading literary and talent agency Peters Fraser and Dunlop, is Chair of the festival board.

Established around a kitchen table in 1987, the organisation now reaches a global audience of thousands every year and continues to grow and innovate, building partnerships and initiatives alongside some of the leading bodies in arts and the media, including global partners the BBC, ACW, TATA, British Council and LSE; friends of Hay Festival the Daily Telegraph, Visit Wales, Baillie Gifford, Oxfam, and Good Energy; and international partners Wales Arts International, AC/E, Embassy of Chile, Embassy of Colombia, and the Embassy of Mexico.

Hay Festival Wales takes place from 26 May–5 June 2016 in the beautiful setting of the Wye Valley. In May 2017, Hay Festival will celebrate its 30th anniversary.

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In January this year, a  well-known publishing company in Wales decided to challenge the UK Government’s decision to include the Union Jack on new driving licenses by producing Red Dragon stickers to be placed in their place.


Now, Y Lolfa publishers and printers have confirmed that over 3,000 stickers have been sold and have since been reprinted.


‘We recieved a very positive response to our campaign since its launch’ said Fflur Arwel, Y Lolfa’s head of marketing. ‘There has been a very great demand for the stickers. Its clear people very strongly about this and do not feel represented by the Union Flag – nor that their Welsh nationality is being respected.’


‘The people of Wales have chosen their own flag over the Union Flag.’ she added.


Those who wish to have the red dragon of Wales on their driver’s license can purchase the stickers produced by Y Lolfa.


The pack of six red dragon stickers is priced £2 and are available from all good bookshops and Y Lolfa website

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