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READ THE WINNING ENTRY HERE - RICE PAPER DREAMS



Hi Krystal and many thanks for agreeing to this interview. Care to tell us a little about your winning entry 'Rice Paper Dreams' (link) in this year's WCE Short Story Competition?

Krystal: Rice Paper Dreams at its heart is a story about a young girl reuniting with her father. It looks into expectations and unfulfilled dreams, as well as the complicated nature of family relationships, and how they change over time.

How did you come up with the idea for the story?

Krystal: Almost a third character in itself is the setting–the Kyoto Railway Museum. My sister has always been fascinated by trains, so this past summer when we visited Kyoto, we had to make a stop at the museum. It was raining that day, on a Monday, so there were very few visitors when we arrived. It was only the true train fanatics and diehards perusing the exhibits. I remember seeing a little boy with his father, and what struck me was the way the father so excitedly explained to the boy how the gears operated in the trains. It was clear that he loved his son, that his dreams for him were big. I remember wondering how his son would grow up; would he take on those expectations, would he stray apart from them? Would he grow to understand his father, to resent him? And how would the father perceive the past–these trips to the museum? Family relationships are a tricky thing–there are so many unspoken rules, unsaid truths. In the same way, Mariko believes she has changed, believes she can control her new shiny image, but inevitably, the façade cracks. Her father too, tries his best, but new things–and old things–come to light in one simple conversation. I love the juxtaposition of the irreverent, ancient trains with the young, earnest father-daughter duo. The way people, so volatile, change every day, while trains move around us, speeding by yet ever constant. To me, that feels equal parts ironic and wonderful.

Your work is influenced by your 'experience growing up as a second-generation immigrant in America'. This is a theme that will resonate with many of our readers. How important do you think it is to examine your ancestry and stay in touch with your roots?

Krystal: How else could I answer this question? It is important to examine ancestry and stay in touch with one’s roots, but of course this looks different for every individual. Even as someone who has only seen a small sample of the Asian diaspora, I know no two experiences look the same. So who am I to press my story onto another, to claim that the way I search for “my roots” is the way another reader will find theirs? All I can say is that stories hold power: the stories my family pass on to me are the stories I will hold on to for the years to come–to understand them by, to remember them by.

What initially attracted you to writing short stories?

Krystal: Often, I find small snippets in everyday life that intrigue me, and the ones that I come back to time and time again are often the ones worth writing. I like the idea of documenting a stray thought in time or space, without devoting a huge effort to it as in novel writing. In novels, writers are ambitious–incorporating sweeping plotlines or world-changing theories and ideas. Short stories in contrast, are simply about capturing essence. A feeling, a character, or a moment in time, like an insect frozen in amber.

As a side note, I think short stories are one of the best ways to improve craft. Their constraints in size are what allow you to play around with form or genre. I would say that while I write novels for others–to entertain, to question–my short stories are primarily for myself, in an educational sense. I write to develop voice and style, learning about what works, and what does not.

One of my favorite authors, Haruki Murakami, once said that he finds writing novels a challenge, writing short stories a joy. The way I interpret that, in order to write novels, you have to fall in love with your characters, fleshing them out into three-dimensional, fully realized beings. If writing novels is like moving in, then writing short stories is more like dating. You meet these people for the first time, and you stay on their good side. They intrigue you, entertain you. They’re worth a quick snapshot, but you don't have to get into fights over the deep stuff. In this manner, I agree with Murakami in that a good balance of novels and short stories is helpful for almost any writer.

Do you have a regular process in creating a story or does it vary from piece to piece? Do you plan your stories or do ideas crowd out and you pick one to finish?

Krystal: As a student, my life and routine change constantly, likewise, the ways I arrive at new ideas also change constantly. When I was traveling in Japan this summer, every day felt like sensory overload: so many new sights, new sounds, new people to learn from. That kind of lifestyle isn’t sustainable, but for short periods of time it’s really quite invigorating, especially for creators. I found the framework and scheme for “Rice Paper Dreams” after visiting the Kyoto Railway Museum, but the initial idea was actually first sparked by a solitary image found a few days earlier: a lonely umbrella, forgotten by its companion. I was riding the bus back to Sasazuka, a residential district in Tokyo, when I saw the umbrella, jolting along with every bump on the road. For some reason it struck me as very sad, that umbrella, and the image stayed with me until Mariko’s story aligned with it, and then the two merged. Little images like that, which could mean nothing one day and then everything the next, are often the catalyst for small and big projects alike.

As for the novel I’m currently querying, the idea came from a dream, or at least, the moment before sleeping or waking–I’m can’t remember which. Sometimes the ideas are from dreams, from faces, from memories, and sometimes they’re from less romantic sources. Sometimes it’s because you hear something on the news, and it just makes you so angry. What can you do? You’re only a powerless girl with a pen. So you pick it up, and hope to make someone else feel something. Above all else, I hope to make others feel, question.

What's next for Krystal Song? Are you considering any publications?

Krystal: I am; nothing official as of yet, but hopefully I’ll have more news in the future.

Any final message for the members and readers of AmeriCymru?

Krystal: Keep writing! If you enjoy writing your story, chances are, someone out there will enjoy reading. J

Posted in: Writing | 0 comments



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AmeriCymru spoke to Wales' most prolific story writer - Rhys Hughes, about his recent novel Cloud Farming In Wales. We are also pleased to include a short excerpt from the book. Rhys Hughes' vision of 'Welsh hell' can be found below.

Excerpt from 'Cloud Farming In Wales' - Welsh Hell

Buy Cloud Farming here

Rhys Hughes bibliography




INTERVIEW





AmeriCymru: Hi Rhys and many thanks for agreeing to this interview. Care to introduce your recent book Cloud Farming in Wales for our readers?

Rhys:  Thank you for the opportunity to answer questions about my book! Cloud Farming in Wales is a novel but not a typical kind of novel. It came together very easily and was completed within a month. Sometimes my writing flows and then it’s best to let it have its way, to let it keep going and not worry about the direction the story might be heading in, or what final form the book is going to take. That’s how I wrote this book, as if it really wanted to be written, as if the words couldn’t wait to appear on the page, as if the novel was writing itself, and the process was smooth and certainly enjoyable. I love it when that happens, because writing usually isn’t like that. More often it takes a lot of hard work and doubts and stress. My book is about Wales, life in Wales and the aspects of Wales that are unique to that country, that make it different and a little odd, although nowhere in the world is so unique that it defies all understanding to outsiders, because ultimately more things connect us deeply than separate us. The Wales of my book is a genuine place but it is presented here in mythic terms, or rather in terms that are whimsically fantastic. Yet I wanted the Wales of the book to feel the same as Wales really feels to me, on at least some level or levels, and that includes in humorous ways, satirical ways and wistful ways, so I wanted it to be like a fantasy realm in which strange things can occur, but only if they have a true Welsh resonance.

AmeriCymru: There is a connection, perhaps obvious from the title, with Trout Fishing in America. Care to elaborate?

Rhys:  My book was absolutely inspired by Richard Brautigan and in fact I decided I wanted to try doing for Wales something similar to what he did for America in that amazing novel of his. I came to Brautigan late. I wish I had discovered him a lot sooner. I was aware of his name for a long time, but I didn’t really know anything about him. I had an idea he might be a little like Vonnegut, who is one of my favourite authors, and eventually I decided to try his work. The first Brautigan novel I picked up was Sombrero Fallout and I totally loved it! Yes, it was like Vonnegut in some ways but it was also highly distinctive and idiosyncratic. It is an absurdist farce that spirals out of control, but it tells two stories at the same time and one of those stories is a framing device in which the absurd things that occur are plausible. The other story that is framed by that one is a version of America in which the absurd things that occur are extreme, implausible and hilariously exaggerated, yet they make serious points about the country and also about human beings in general. The novel is deceptive because it seems simple, yet it has a structure that is really interesting. I immediately began seeking out other Brautigan books with the idea of reading them all. In Watermelon Sugar has the best opening of any novel I have read and A Confederate General from Big Sur has the best ending. I am currently reading The Tokyo-Montana Express, which is neither a novel nor a collection of short stories but something else, a series of observations on an impossible railway journey across the Pacific Ocean, and it resembles in many ways his most famous book, Trout Fishing in America, which has no plot, almost no characters and breaks all the rules of fiction from its very first page. After reading that book I knew that I wanted to write a book of my own that took impetus from it and that adapted some of its methods or outlooks and applied them to Wales. I mention all this in the book itself, because one of the book’s many themes is the circumstance of its own composition. I believe my book is unlike any other Welsh novel, yet I also believe it is very Welsh, that it is essentially Welsh, even though it came to be created because of the inspiring example of an American writer from the flower power era.

AmeriCymru: “I wanted to write a novel that was me saying stuff about things rather than having to invent believable characters and a plot with measured incidents and resolutions.” What stuff? What things?

Rhys:  For many years, like most other writers, I have written stories the ordinary way, with characters whose actions serve to embody a plot that contains the ideas that make the fiction work. But I have also been interested in other ways of writing. For me it was a great pleasure and in fact a relief to be able to present the ideas in a more raw format, in an unconditioned state, to let the ideas be the real characters and to let the way they interact with each other generate the momentum of the story. So I didn’t outline a plot before starting work, and I didn’t have a set of protagonists in my mind to put in the story. I just began writing down ideas, thoughts, observations, and these started to work themselves into routines, and these routines connected themselves together over time into larger routines that became little chapters. There turned out to be quite a surprising unity of purpose and effect in the end result, I guess because all the time I was writing I was aware of Wales as a gravitational focus, so even the wildest flights of fancy are in orbit rather than flying off in different directions. One of the single most important motifs in the book that is used to create this focus is that of the falling rain, the endless rains of Wales, and the consequences of eternal rainfall are followed logically into comedic absurdity. Wales thus becomes an Atlantis that never sank but is just as damp. The truth is that it rains a lot in Wales, it rains so much that it does sometimes seem we are living underwater, that maybe Welsh people should evolve gills in order to breathe better. I know there are countries in the world with heavier rainfall, but Wales is certainly in the top ten. Richard Brautigan spent a lot of time in the rain when he lived in the northwest of the USA, tramping through dripping forests on interminable quests for nothing, and I really can identify with that. There comes a point when waiting for nice weather in order to go hiking and camping just proves to be too frustrating and one has to go out anyway and hang the moist consequences! I have been camping in heavy rain many times, sometimes with a tent full of holes and a few times without even a tent, just a tarpaulin that glowed bright green when the lightning flashes started. Hiking and camping in the rain is very Brautiganesque. It is also like being at sea in some ways. Very odd and very Welsh. Not just odd and not just Welsh, of course, but for sure it’s a situation conducive to creating thoughts and those thoughts will percolate and ferment in the mind, for months or years, and when they are written down they will flow out, pour out, cascade.

AmeriCymru: What inspired your masterful depiction of Welsh hell? Why does Dylan Thomas figure so prominently in it?

Rhys:  The depiction of hell in my book is a specifically Welsh hell, but it’s one that can also be understood as hellish by people who aren’t Welsh. We know that hell is a place of torments but torments require a means to make them work, apparatus in other words, so a Welsh hell will need Welsh apparatus, and by this I mean things that are typical of the country but have been taken to an extreme, that are applied eternally, infinitely and hopelessly to the damned soul. Rain is always going to be a part of that, and the damp house interiors that are an inevitable result of high rainfall and poor insulation. A Welsh hell is going to be a series of mouldy rooms haunted by demons and ghosts that are never dry. Not even the wit of these entities will be dry. Dylan Thomas is the fallen angel who rules such a hell, because all of Welshness was compressed into him while he was alive, and now he is part of the underworld and his disembodied head floats drunkenly through the passages and rooms and terrifies the poor Welsh souls who have ended up there. I guess our ideas of hell comes from things in the world that we don’t like when we imagine those things magnified and multiplied in power and duration until they become unbearable.

AmeriCymru: You have said that you plan to write 1000 stories. When we interviewed you back in 2009 you had written 472. Does the goal still stand, and if so how close are you to achieving it. What will you do when you have?

Rhys:  Yes, the goal still stands. I have been working on this story cycle far too long to give up on it. In the last ten years I have been very productive and now my total of stories stands at 889, so I feel I am approaching the final lap. I won’t be surprised, however, if I fall before reaching the finishing line, because it’s very Welsh to almost succeed in something grand but fail at the last moment. That’s one of the most typically Welsh outcomes in an endeavour. We are heroic failures! But it’s better to be heroic in any way than to be unheroic, so I’m not really dissatisfied. When I began my project to write exactly 1000 stories, I never actually expected to get anywhere near that total, to be honest, and I probably would have settled for half that number. But in the past decade I have worked very hard at writing and the ideas just kept coming to me and my output accelerated. I hope to reach a total of 900 by the end of this year. After that I will probably slow down as I will also be concentrating on writing non-fiction. This is also the answer to what I will do when I’ve finished my last story. I will switch to non-fiction and start writing essays and articles. In fact I began last year to take my non-fiction much more seriously and I am hoping that my first book of essays will be out in the next year or two. I am in negotiations with a publisher at the moment. The techniques of non-fiction have been creeping into my fiction in the past few years or so. In fact, a lot of Cloud Farming in Wales was written as if it was non-fiction, even though it’s about absurd and whimsical things.

AmeriCymru: Where can readers go to buy Cloud Farming in Wales online?

Rhys:  It is available at Amazon and other online bookshops, but it can also be ordered from the publisher directly. Snuggly Books are a really interesting publisher and they have been putting out some great books. They tried to get my novel sold in City Lights, the bookshop in San Francisco that has a strong connection with Richard Brautigan but City Lights weren’t especially interested, which I think is a shame. But that’s the way the business is. One should never expect too much. http://www.snugglybooks.co.uk/cloud-farming-in-wales/

AmeriCymru: What’s next for Rhys Hughes? Any new publications in the pipeline?

Rhys:  I am working on several new projects simultaneously, because that’s what I do, and I have already mentioned my first non-fiction book, which I want to be called Logic and the Monsters, but whether it will ever be published or not is impossible for me to say with any degree of certainty at this stage.I have a weird Western due out very soon, also by an American publisher, and it’s a book that I had a lot of fun writing. It is called The Honeymoon Gorillas and it’s not a normal Western at all, it’s not even a normal weird Western. When I started writing it I thought I was just writing one or two short stories but those stories turned into the chapters of a novel, so I just went with the flow. The day I finished writing it, I went into the main library in my city and there was a one-off exhibition about apes. It was a bizarre coincidence and I hope a good omen.

AmeriCymru: Any final message for the members and readers of AmeriCymru?

Rhys:  Just that I am delighted by your interest in Wales, which I often feel is the forgotten one of the Celtic brood, maybe because it doesn’t end in the word ‘land’ like Ireland and Scotland do. It makes us sound less of a country and more like a sea creature. It is heartening to know there are so many people around the world, and especially in the USA, who have knowledge of Wales and Welsh culture. This is great in fact and I thank you for your time and your attention.




SHORT EXCERPT FROM CLOUD FARMING IN WALES  - WELSH HELL



Hell is a basement flat with endless rooms, all mouldy, connected by dim and depressing corridors, also mouldy. Many of the light bulbs don’t work and have never worked; and those that do are of a very low wattage. The carpets are worn and filthy, the windows are grimy and nothing can ever be seen through them, the wallpaper is bubbling and peeling. This is Hell for Welsh people; the hells intended for people of other lands are possibly quite different. Sometimes a torrent of diabolical rainwater washes along these corridors and carries away any soul caught in it to distant regions of the infinite flat that are nearly identical. Just because the interior of this flat is covered with a ceiling doesn’t mean it doesn’t rain indoors. The clouds drift up and down the corridors just the same as the damned souls do. This is a Welsh Hell for sure. There are rooms full of nothing but damp coal; others bulging with rotten chips, pies green with decay, beer that tastes of socks. Occasionally a room may be bearable for a few hours or even days, but always something will come along to spoil the reprieve. Beds will suddenly explode like bombs, their mattress springs scattering like spores.

A few walls are adorned with framed pictures of grim scenes in other parts of the flat or photographs of dead sheep in the rain. There is also the occasional badly painted mural. These murals depict the same few themes over and over again. Muddy puddles reflecting dismal skies, drowned pit ponies, rotting school children, evicted tenants squatting in the rain, junkie muggers beating old women, hunched people shambling along in queues that are closed circles, cars deliberately driving through flooded potholes and splashing pedestrians on pavements.

...............................

Anyway . . . to return to the basement flat that is Hell for the Welsh, I should add that the murals sometimes detach themselves from the walls and float down the corridors, following rain or preceding it, the blurred face of Dylan opening and closing its mouth as it attempts to swallow the clouds in the hope they are the foamy heads of beers. Any souls in those corridors at the time will be gulped down too and excreted from the back of his head much later. He doesn’t care. Fiddly Buttons has just arrived in Hell together with his nemesis Doodah Zips.

They clutch each other for comfort, then push each other away, drawn and repelled in equal measure. Suddenly at the end of a warped corridor that turns a sharp right angle like a snapped arm, comes a head around the corner. It is a drifting mural of Dylan and these new arrivals are unlucky enough to encounter it during their first minutes of damnation. Fiddly and Doodah shriek and run, but they trip over each other and nearer looms the drunkard’s gaping mouth as they sprawl and try to get up. Mushrooms on the carpet snap off under their frantic fingers. The paint of the mural has run in the rain. Dylan’s curly hair is now so smeared that it resembles the helmet of a knight. How ironic! “Do not go gentle into that knight!” Fiddly and Doodah warn each other. Maybe now they are in Hell they will become friends; the truth is that they always had a love-hate relationship. The Welsh Hell is an appalling place. Every 100 years the landlord calls around to pick up the rent from every cursed soul trapped there.



jerry-hunter.jpgAmeriCymru spoke to Jerry Hunter about his new novel Dark Territory.

'Jerry Hunter
was born in Cincinnati, USA and is now is a Professor of Welsh and Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Bangor, and lives with his family in North Wales.
He is best known as a Welsh-language author and has won prestigious literary awards including Welsh Book of the Year for his academic work Llwch Cenhedloedd, and the National Eisteddfod Prose Medal for his first novel, Gwenddydd.'


BUY 'DARK TERRITORY' HERE      READ CHAPTER 1 HERE




dark territory.jpgAmeriCymru: Hi Jerry and many thanks for agreeing to this interview. Care to introduce your new novel 'Dark Territory' for our readers?

Jerry: The novel combines mystery and adventure with meditations on the dangers of religious extremism. It also moves from Wales to England, Ireland and North America.

The main character, Rhisiart Dafydd, is a Welshman who becomes a Roundhead and fights in Oliver Cromwell’s army during the Civil Wars of the seventeenth century. A series of events leads to a transformation in his world view (perhaps best characterized as disillusionment). After the wars, he decides to accept a mission offered by the colonel under whom he had served and sail across the sea to search for a lost community of Welsh Puritans in the forests of North America.

While the story is anchored in the ‘present’ of Rhisiart’s mysterious mission, the novel also moves back in order to provide glimpses of the key events in his life which helped make him the man he is (or the various men he has been during various times in his life). The work aims to provide a sympathetic portrait of a convert who becomes willing to kill for his religion, before moving on to examine ways in which such an individual might question the extremism characterizing his own violent career.

While there was a very small – if very active – community of Welsh Puritans who sided with Parliament during the wars, the vast majority of Welsh people remained conservative in their religion and politics during the seventeenth century and thus supported the Royalist cause. The novel also provides ways of thinking about different kinds of identity – specifically, the way in which religious and political beliefs intersect with national identity in forming one’s world view. As a young man, Rhisiart is committed to the Parliamentarian cause, yet he is also painfully aware of the fact that most of this fellow Welshmen who have gone to war are fighting on the other side.

It’s important to note that I wrote the novel in Welsh (published as Y Fro Dywyll). Patrick K. Ford translated it into English. Thus, in a very real way, he is as responsible for Dark Territory as I am!

AmeriCymru: The action in your book revolves around an atrocity committed by parliamentary forces after the battle of Naseby in 1645. Would you say that the events recounted in your book have largely been overlooked by historians? If so, why?

Jerry: Several dark chapters in human history contribute to the ‘darkness’ through which Rhisiart Dafydd travels in this story. Some of these historical experiences are much better known – for example, the bloody actions of Cromwell’s army in Ireland and the Native American genocide. The atrocity to which you refer – the massacre of the people whom I call ‘the Women of Naseby’ in the novel – is not very well known. Indeed, I have been surprised by the extent to which Welsh historians have ignored it. (I think that this can be explained, but that would probably develop into a long article in itself and thus best left for another time!) It was common for women to follow their men to battle at the time; these were not ‘camp followers’ in the derogatory sense of the phrase today, but often wives and daughters who followed their husbands and fathers to war in order to help cook and care for them. They formed their own mobile society. As there were many Welsh Royalist soldiers serving at Naseby, there was also a considerable number of Welsh women in the camp near the battlefield. This is already enough of a ‘spoiler’; it’s probably best to not say anymore now before readers engage with the novel!

AmeriCymru: You have said:-‘With this novel I also wanted to cross-examine the ideological foundations of “American Exceptionalism". For centuries politicians in the USA have referred to the nation as a “shining light” for the rest of the world to follow. Through the prism of fiction, this work examines the dark realities at the foundations of those beliefs.’ How, in your opinion, do these events in 1645 relate to the doctrine of 'American Exceptionalism'?

Jerry: My fictional community of Welsh Puritans in North America is a distorted mirror used to examine the ideology of English Puritans who colonized ‘New England.’ Since the seventeenth century, Matthew 4:14-15 has inflected a great deal of American writing and tempered American thinking (‘You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.’) I wanted the metaphors used by those claiming to bring ‘light’ to ‘dark’ places, much as Joseph Conrad does in Heart of Darkness. The events of 1645 contribute to Rhisiart’s own interior journey, forcing him to re-examine how he defines ‘light’/’darkness’, ‘good’/’evil’, etc.

AmeriCymru: You will be talking about the book at a few events in the United States. We have the so far announced dates listed on this page (see below). Will you be adding further dates to those already announced? Are there any details about your forthcoming appearances that you would like to especially highlight?

Jerry: I’d love to talk about the book at other events in other parts of the United States, and hopefully some more dates will be added in the near future.

One special thing about some of the ones planned for the New England area is that the translator, Patrick K. Ford, will be taking part as well. He is a fantastic literary scholar as well as a great translator of both Irish and Welsh literature, and it’ll be well worth hearing what he has to say as well.


AmeriCymru: What's next for Jerry Hunter? Any new titles in the pipeline?

Jerry: I have another historical novel in press at the moment. The working title is Ynys Fadog, and it traces the entire history of a Welsh-American community in Gallia County, Ohio, from 1818 to 1937. I am also co-authoring a book with Dylan Foster Evans on the history of Welsh Literature from the beginning to the year 1740.

AmeriCymru: Any final message for the readers and members of AmeriCymru?

Jerry: Given the interest in Welsh-American links which brings people to AmeriCymru, it’s worth stressing the unique process which brought Dark Territory into being. This is a novel written in Welsh by an American and then translated into English by another American. That is surely a first in the history of Welsh-American cultural interactions!

I was extremely honored when Patrick K. Ford told me that he was translating the novel. His translation of the Mabinogi is somewhat of a classic, having been in print for over 40 years. He is a very generous translator, and he kindly included me in the process, trying out different drafts on me and talking over various aspects of the work in great detail. His engagement with the novel forced me to see my own work in new ways, and I’ll be eternally grateful to him for that.



Jerry Hunter, Author of Dark Territory - U.S. Events




Porter Square Books in Cambridge Mass


Friday, May 25, 2018 - 7:00pm

Also featuring translator Pat Ford, former chair of Celtic Languages and Literatures department at Harvard.



Portsmouth Athenaeum in Portsmouth NH


Sunday, May 27th 2018 - Time TBD

Sponsored by RiverRun Bookstore



Joseph Beth Bookstore in Cincinnatti


Thursday July 26th - 7PM



Alexandria, VA - NAFOW


August 30–September 2, 2018



Harvard Coop Bookstore, Cambridge MA


Friday, October 5, - 7:00 p.m

Jerry will be participating in the Harvard Celtic Colloquium



parallel.cymru logo horizontal.png



Designing over coffee square.jpgAmeriCymru: Hi Neil and many thanks for agreeing to this interview. Care to introduce your online magazine Parallel.cymru for our readers?

Neil: Shw mae Ceri! Great to be here on AmeriCymru- gwych i fod yma ar AmeriCymru. I'd be delighted to share with your readers more about parallel.cymru. Parallel.cymru is a digital magazine that presents articles about Wales and Welsh life in a unique format- each article is bilingual, with side by side Welsh and English (in parallel) . There are many Welsh-language magazines and books, but only a proportion of Welsh speakers feel comfortable reading them. The parallel.cymru presentation makes reading Welsh accessible to all- even for those who don't speak Welsh!

I publish first-person perspective articles by people who are doing things that in some way relate to Wales. Lots of authors have contributed about how and why they wrote their books; there are many articles about the history and development of Wales and the Welsh language; scientists have explained their subject in an accessible way; Welsh learners have shared their experiences; I've also put resources such as grammar and pronunciation guides on it. Unlike traditional magazines I don't take content off, so there's heaps more to explore.

Some of the highlights for a North American audience include:

Diplomat Shelley Hughes: What the Welsh Government office in North America does

Duolingo: Welsh for English Speakers course celebrates 1 million users

New York state's Michelle Fecio: Resources for International learners

Aberystwyth's Nicky Roberts: Learning Welsh with Say Something in Welsh

The History & Development of the Welsh language

For those of you who are fluent in Welsh, the magazine will give you unique and interesting content to read; for those who are learning Welsh, it is the best way to improve your reading skills while based outside of Wales, and for those who aren't familiar with the language, the English adaptations will allow you to enjoy discovering more about Welsh life and culture.

I forgot two things- all content is, and will remain, free for all to read; and it is available on any web browser, on any device, anywhere in the world.

AmeriCymru: What is the philosophy behind the site? What is its mission statement?

Neil: As an active Welsh learner, I found that making the step up from learner-specific materials to fully-fluent books and magazines to be difficult. When you have a limited vocabulary, constantly looking words up in dictionaries takes the enjoyment out of reading. Through speaking to many other users of the Welsh language, I realised that people experience the language on a spectrum of abilities; there isn't a black/white fluent/non-fluent division. However, it is not just learners who have a need for accessible content; many first language speakers don't use the language enough to read regularly, and also thousands of people all over the world aren't catered for by existing Welsh media. The digital aspect of the magazine and accessible presentation solves all of those problems.

The aim is to help everyone, whatever their ability, to enjoy reading in Welsh. The magazine contains good quality, interesting and unique content, and someone with a PhD in Welsh literature can read the same article as someone learning through AmeriCymru.

AmeriCymru: What resources do you provide for beginning Welsh learners?

Neil: Articles are arranged by the level of language. So they are grouped into the registers Simple, Informal, Formal and Literary, plus a section of items that are of specific interest to learners. This means that a relatively new learner can read a Simple article and not have to look at the English often. Welsh is traditionally written using an older form; spoken Welsh has evolved over the centuries and has a simpler and lighter approach. However not many publications reproduce spoken Welsh on the page or the screen; the Simple and Informal sections do this, so that people can read those without having to have learnt formal Welsh.

I've got a series of articles and news items that are in Simple Welsh only- without English- but with tooltips (i.e. hover over a word) to get the translation. I'm very pleased to host a grammar guide by Mark Stonelake . Mark has prepared Welsh for Adults courses in the Swansea Bay area for 20 years, and is an expert on the subject. He has also taught many courses in North America itself. I've presented his grammar work in bite-sized, themed sections that are sequenced in the order that they are taught. They have also been translated so that proficient leaners can read the Welsh version; there is also a search box to make it easy to find the item you want to learn or recap. This is not a course in itself, but it is a great supplementary resource to an existing learning method.

A volunteer, Huw Rowlands (no relation), also narrates many articles; those are denoted by the microphone symbol in the menu. This allows people to listen to the article and match how it is spoken to how it is written. This is particularly useful to people who don't have a lot of opportunity to hear the language, such as the enthusiastic AmeriCymru learners.

Swansea Castle square.jpgAmeriCymru: How might intermediate and advanced learners use the site?

Neil: For those with more confidence in the language the challenge is to read the Welsh and only check the English if there is a word or meaning that you don't understand. It is tempting to read the English and glance at the Welsh, as that feels much easier than taking longer to process and decipher the Welsh. However, being resolved that you will stick to the Welsh as much as possible will allow the content to be a learning resource instead of just a relaxing item to read. Most articles also have a PDF version to download at the bottom of each item, so people can print them off and write on them, share electronically, or use in a classroom setting.

There is a range of resources suitable for confident learners, such an overview of novels and books for learners , an online dictionary and pronunciation guide , themed glossaries and a weekly collection of Welsh-related weblinks.

AmeriCymru: For the general reader what aspects of Welsh life and culture are explored on Parallel.cymru?

Neil: Life itself is random and irregular, and parallel.cymru content reflects that. While common themes are grouped under menus with other, each article represents what one person or group is doing with the language. In the last week of April I published an article about an 85-year old skydiver , a new Welsh-language meditation app , an update from the Chief Executive of the National Eisteddfod (100 days to go until Cardiff Bay in August!), a 110-question quiz by Cymdeithas yr Iaith (the Welsh Language Society), a sports column about a rugby game  and an article reflecting on Swansea's contribution and losses in World War One .

AmeriCymru: How would readers go about preparing an article for the site? What is the selection process? What are the criteria?

Neil: One of the unique aspects of parallel.cymru is its emphasis on first-person perspective content, and this opens the content, style of writing, subject matter and access to being published to a much wider range of people than a traditional magazine can offer. There is a range of publishing options; most people write something from scratch; some may adapt other writings or create a concise presentation of their work; others will create a Welsh version of an item they have published in an English-language publication such as The Conversation .

Some people have interesting things to write about, but don't have the confidence to prepare a full article in Welsh; in that case I suggest they write what they can in Welsh to set out their voice and complete the English side, and I will organise a volunteer to complete the Welsh side. All articles are proofread prior to publication, so people don't need to be concerned about using perfect grammar.

The first step would be to drop me an email on parallel.cymru@gmail.com and say what you had an interest in writing about. The next step would be to consider what register of the language you'd feel comfortable writing in: Simple, Informal, Formal or Literary. I'd also suggest considering what do you want the reader to know or do after reading it- what are the key take-aways?

As this is an online-only publication, I don't have target publication dates or set word counts; this means that contributors can enjoy the process of writing, and whether that takes a week or 3 months is OK with me.

When receiving the article, I'd also like images to use and web links to your digital properties. I'll then format the article and organise proof reading, prepare an introductory paragraph and header image and then send a private link to you to look over. Once the article is signed off it will go live with a unique URL for you to share with your network!

You know, I don't have a particular selection criteria. While high-profile individuals and well-known organisations have contributed, all articles get the same home-page space. Learners who have never written in Welsh before have had an article published next to people with 100,000 Twitter followers. People who wouldn't normally have an outlet to share their work/experience/stories with the world have been read more than people who have published books and appear on TV/radio regularly, because what they have written about is unique and not available anywhere else.

So if you have ideas about preparing an item or writing a quiz, there's no reason to be shy- get in touch!

AmeriCymru: What's next for Parallel.cymru? How do you see the site developing?

Neil: As I'm working full time and operating parallel.cymru in my spare time, I have a limited amount of time available to work on the site. My main aims over 2018 are to continue sourcing unique content and to make the magazine more well-known. I've been working with the National Centre for Learning Welsh , the Conversation and the Welsh Books Council  recently, so I'll be enhancing those and seeking more partnerships. I've recently started putting quizzes on the site , and would like to do more inventive things where language and technology intersect. I could use a couple more volunteers to help with translation and ensuring high standards of Welsh language. From a content point of view, I'd like to establish regular columns on subjects such as sports, cookery, healthy & beauty, travel etc (but no politics). I've lined up going to lots of events to promote the site such as Welsh for Adults courses, Cardiff's Tafwyl  and the National Eisteddfod in Cardiff Bay. I'm working on an iOS app at the moment and I've registered the venture as a non-for-profit company. The long term goal is to develop commercial partnerships that allow me to devote more time to the site.

AmeriCymru: Any final message for the readers and members of AmeriCymru?

Neil: The number of people in North America with an interest in Welsh life, language and culture is large, and the enthusiasm for this small and damp, yet beautiful and charming part of world is remarkable. On behalf of everyone in Wales, thank you for your time and interest in us; and particular thanks to those who are learning the language through AmeriCymru or other methods. If you are learning Welsh, don't get worried about mutations and other grammar complexities; just use the language as much as you can, and if you ever get a chance to pop over here and visit, go for it!

Please enjoy reading parallel.cymru, and if you have suggestions or ideas for contributions, do get in touch with me on parallel.cymru@gmail.com.


pilgrimage_wales.jpgOne woman walked around Wales in a bid to visit and celebrate some of the country’s holiest sites.

In 2015 Anne Hayward spent three months as a pilgrim, travelling on foot to visit some of Wales’ holiest sites and carrying everything she needed to camp along the route. Her main objectives were four ancient places of pilgrimage – Holywell, Bardsey Island, St David’s and Llantwit Major – but she also visited numerous churches and other places of interest along the way.

Her reflections, insights and experiences will be published this week by Y Lolfa.

In A Pilgrimage Around Wales she gives some of the history of those ancient places of pilgrimage and reflects on the spiritual experience of being a modern-day pilgrim.

‘I was very fortunate – ‘blessed’ is a more apt word, perhaps – to have been able to take time out of ordinary life in the spring and summer of 2015 to go on a pilgrimage around Wales. This book is a fruit of that pilgrimage,’ explained Anne.

‘Being on foot, and carrying quite a heavy pack for a small(ish) woman, was both liberating and constraining,’ said Anne, ‘What became increasingly clear during those three months was that my research prior to my walk had left me unprepared for the sheer joy of quietly discovering new places and the enormous sense of achievement that I felt each day. Often what was most overwhelming was the beauty of the ordinariness of many of my days.’

In the book, she also meditates upon the significant conversations she found herself sharing with the strangers she met along her path.

‘The subtitle of this book is In Search of a Significant Conversation, and its contents cause us to appreciate the conversations, random or otherwise, which peppered the author’s pilgrimage around Wales,’ said the Most Reverend John D E Davies, Bishop of Swansea & Brecon and the Archbishop of Wales. ‘Unspoken or spoken, those conversations bring the places to life, and illuminate the faith which motivated the journey.’

‘“Camping here is my gift to you,” said one campsite owner to Anne on her tremendous pilgrimage, and this book is a real gift to us, with Anne’s thoughts reminding us of the vast riches we have in Wales in so many ways’ added the Revd Canon Ian Rees, Rector of Central Swansea.

Anne Hayward read History at Oxford University and went on to become a secondary school teacher. Over the last few years, she has walked thousands of miles to places of pilgrimage in Wales, Ireland, Brittany and England. She is a Reader in the Church in Wales and is involved as a licensed Lay Minister in her local church and the wider area. She lives in the Brecon Beacons, and has written articles for various local magazines and newspapers.

A Pilgrimage Around Wales will be launched at 6.30pm on Monday 26 March at Book-ish in Crickhowell.

A Pilgrimage Around Wales by Anne Hayward (£8.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

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AmeriCymru spoke to author Meredith Efken about a recent piece she published in Nation Cymru in response to an earlier editorial. This interview discusses nationalism in a Welsh context amongst other topics. Meredith is an author, blogger, Welsh language learner and founder member of the Texas Welsh Society. Her website can be found here:- Meredith Rose Books

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AmeriCymru: Hi Meredith and many thanks for agreeing to this interview. To begin with can you tell us a little about your Welsh roots?

Meredith: I am... (counts on fingers) 5th generation Welsh-American. My great-great grandfather was a coal miner from the Aberdare area in Glamorgan, and he and my great-great grandma came to America in the 1870’s I believe, and ended up in What Cheer, Iowa, which was a coal mining town with a substantial Welsh immigrant population.

Being Welsh was always something my mom’s side of the family was quite proud of. My mom gave me a Welsh first name and always told me how much she loved the Welsh culture of music. She was a piano teacher, and I play piano and sing, so I guess I got a good dose of Welsh genes! She also said that the few times she had heard spoken Welsh, she loved it and thought it was so beautiful. So I always wanted to learn it, from the time I was little. It seems the language died out in our family pretty quick after arriving in America, though, so now that I’m a Dysgwr Cymraeg, it’s the first Welsh being spoken in our family in maybe a century!

AmeriCymru: You wrote an article for Nation Cymru in response to a recent editorial which appeared on the site. It seems almost redundant to ask, but, why do you think that it is important for the global Welsh to see Wales celebrate its history and heritage?

Meredith: Well, in terms of the opinion article I was replying to, Welsh history should be important for the global Welsh because that’s the point of divergence for many of us. I’m here, I exist here, in America, because of events that happened in Welsh history. So when people like the man who wrote the opinion I replied to says that celebrating and studying Welsh history is looking backwards and is unproductive, it’s a kind of erasure of all of us who are here because of that history.

And beyond that, something I didn’t really bring up in that article is the fact that at least here in America, white people tend to think that being white IS being American. Everybody else gets a hyphenated heritage. Chinese-American. Mexican-American, African-American, etc. So non-white people get categorized twice—first by their skin color, and then by their cultural heritage. A 5th generation Asian person is still considered Asian-American, while a 5th generation white person like me is just “American.”

Some scholars think that some of this racial bias could be challenged by getting white Americans to become more aware of their own cultural heritage and how different the various regions in Europe are. Instead of us finding our ethnic identity in the color of our skin, which can contribute to racism and ultimately even white supremacy, the idea is that we rediscover the mix of diverse cultures that both bring us together and set us apart as distinct.

I’m German, English, Walloon Belgian, and Welsh, and probably a smattering of other cultures I haven’t traced back yet. Some of my ancestors rode in on the Mayflower and signed the Mayflower Compact. Others didn’t arrive here until the early 20th century. How did that mix of cultures shape my family and its history? What impact has it had on who I am?

What does it mean to have both English and Welsh heritage, given the often-contentious history between the two countries? How do I feel about my German heritage in light of two world wars? And why is it that I feel so much more connection to my Welsh great-grandma, but not as much to my Walloon great-grandpa who married her? Is it because of my mother’s pride in our Welsh heritage combined with not really knowing as much about what it meant to be a Walloon? My great-grandpa was killed as a young father in an accident. Perhaps if he had lived, he could have passed down more about Belgian culture to my grandma and my mother. What does all this say about how cultural identity is formed—or lost?

And how does all of this affect who I am as an American? I’m not saying that pondering these kind of questions will fix racism in America. If only it were that easy. But I do think that when we start exploring the mix of cultures in our backgrounds, it may be able to help us stop thinking in terms of a skin tone equating “American.”

To bring that back around to Welsh heritage in particular, there are a lot of people with Welsh heritage who either don’t even know it or have no idea what it means. So to move away from a skin-tone based identity, we need to know and understand how diverse these European cultures that we come from really are. That’s not so hard with a dominant culture such as German or English. But it’s easy to overlook lesser-known cultures such as Welsh or Walloon. Global Welsh need to be able to connect with Welsh culture and history in order to better understand how they have impacted our own unique families and personal identity.

AmeriCymru: It seems to me, after reading the editorial that the author makes some valid points but his distinction between 'forward' and 'backward' looking nationalisms is tenuous to say the least. Is it possible to celebrate your nation's heritage without reference to its culture or its past?

Meredith: I think the answer to that is in the word “heritage” itself: Something that is handed down--from the past. How can you celebrate something that was handed down to you from the past without referencing that past? It’s nonsensical.

Honestly, I think we see the problems of that with American culture and history. There’s a lot that we celebrate as Americans without really understanding where it came from, or we celebrate it with a warped understanding of how it came to be. I’m thinking about things like how we’ve mythologized Thanksgiving (and a bunch of other holidays), or how we say we value “boot strap independence” without understanding the vital role community life played (and still plays) in our very survival as a nation. Losing our understanding of our past makes us less empathetic and honestly less efficient, less just, less healthy as a society.

One of my high school history teachers had that quote across the top of the chalkboard all year: “Those who don’t learn from the past are destined to repeat it.” That’s always resonated with me. I think we have to look backwards, not just to avoid repeating mistakes, but also to gain perspective, context, and a bit of wisdom. Otherwise, I don’t know how we move forward in a way that is just and productive for as many of our fellow humans as possible.

AmeriCymru: Nationalist movements which exist solely to celebrate their history and heritage are easily distinguishable from others whose main goal is to foment hatred of 'foreign' cultures. Would you agree?

Meredith: Definitely. However, I think that healthy nationalist movements can go deeper than just “celebration” which implies happy, positive emotions. Shouldn’t the goal really be to have as full an understanding of that culture as possible?

A focus solely on celebration forces us to gloss over or ignore the darker moments and the failures and downfalls of that culture—things we should mourn and wrestle with, instead of celebrate. If we forget those dark moments, we risk creating a culture of pride and a belief in our own superiority and infallibility. And that will lead to harmful nationalism or ethnocentrism.

And going in the other direction, there are points in a culture’s past where great harm was done to us. Or maybe the damage is currently being done. Oppression, injustice, inequality—these leave impacts on a culture for centuries. And they create emotions that we have to wrestle with, emotions that are often not socially acceptable. How do you express anger about the pain caused by systemic injustice or exploitation in a way that won’t be taken as hatred toward the oppressor? How do you make sure you don’t allow your justifiable anger to morph into something destructive?

When we only allow celebration of culture, we force people to ignore those darker emotions and not deal with them constructively. Wounds will only fester and rot that way.

So I would suggest that a truly nationalist movement needs to be as honest a movement as possible—allowing for celebration as well as mourning, pride as well as humility, joy as well as anger. It needs to be firmly committed to exploring the complexity of that national experience in a way that promotes healing and greater justice instead of hatred or a sense of superiority.

The only way to do that is as full and honest an understanding and appreciation for that culture’s history as possible.

AmeriCymru: You are currently learning Welsh. How are things progressing? What can you tell us about your experience so far?

Meredith: I’m studying Welsh through the Americymraeg course here that John Good teaches. I started with the very first term back in May of 2013, just 3 months after my mother died. The timing on that was total coincidence, but I definitely feel like my language study is a tribute to her.

I’m in the Intermediate level, and I love my classmates and my teacher so much. A lot of times, I feel like I’m not progressing as fast as I wish I was. Most of that is due to me not studying as much as I need to. I think a lot of adult learners—of anything—struggle with that because of the demands on our time and the fact that our brains are not going to absorb language with the ease of a young child.

But then there’s little things that remind me of how much I really have learned and how far I’ve come. Like when I can understand most of a tweet in Welsh or respond in Welsh on a FB comment without looking any words up. Or when I’m able to hold a 30 minute conversation, no matter how halting, with my study buddy, Susan. Those moments are exhilarating!

I listen to Radio Cymru on a radio app on my phone. The speed is too fast for me to keep up with, but I can tell when they’re giving the weather report, and I know when it’s sunny in Wrexham. And sometimes there are words that I know that I know, but I can’t recall fast enough. But still—five years ago, I wouldn’t have known any words at all!

So I think for me at least, the key to learning Welsh is to be as consistent as possible and take opportunities to practice and push myself, but also be kind to myself and focus more on how far I’ve come instead of how much I should be doing.

I really want to do a long language intensive in Wales. I think an immersion experience would be amazing. But I am incredibly, profoundly grateful for our Welsh course—it’s helping me fulfill a lifelong dream, and I love every minute of it.

AmeriCymru: You are also a writer. Care to tell us a little about your 'Empire Alchemy' (link) series?

Meredith: Gladly! I’ve been a published novelist since 2005, and I write mostly fantasy these days—both for adults and young adults. Currently, I’m working on book 4 of a steampunk fantasy series set in an alternate Victorian world where everyone is obsessed with the theater. My characters are young theater apprentices who end up using their art to confront an increasingly unjust empire and fan the flames of a revolution. I was inspired by the “Velvet Revolution” of the Czech Republic where theaters were instrumental to that non-violent change of power, and the series explores the tension between a desire for justice and a commitment to non-violence.

My protagonist’s love interest is Welsh and speaks Welsh (I call it Cymric in this world). It’s not the focus of this story, but where I can, I enjoy working tributes to Wales in any of my books.

I’m also working on a non-fantasy pastiche of a very well-known series, and I’ve made my version of the narrator Welsh. I’m being a bit coy about this because I’m not ready to announce it yet, but I’m having an absolute blast and can’t wait to go public with it.

Link: My amazon author page: amazon.com/author/meredithrose

AmeriCymru: Together with Susan Floyd you have founded the Texas Welsh Society.  I know your first meetup was on the 11th. How did it go? What are the society's goals or mission?

Meredith: I met Susan a little over a year ago when I discovered she is also an Americymraeg student and lives in Austin. We’ve become great friends, and we try to get together once a week to practice speaking Welsh and just encourage each other with our studies.

We noticed that there didn’t seem to be a lot for active Welsh culture groups in Texas, so this year we decided to form a Welsh society.

We want the Texas Welsh Society to be an advocate for Welsh culture and serve as a point of connection for people with an interest in Wales. TWS is non-political and focused on building connections and friendships as well as providing resources and learning opportunities. We like the idea of reaching out beyond Texas as well to find ways to support and be allies for the people of Wales.

We just had our first meetup on the 11th, and we plan to hold monthly meetups the 2nd Sunday of each month. Once we build some consistency there, we hope to expand to other events and projects. We have a ton of ideas, and we hope that as our group grows, we’ll have lots going on.

AmeriCymru: Any final message for the readers and members of AmeriCymru?

Meredith: Just that I’m so very grateful to be a part of the the global Welsh community, and I think it’s a pretty special group of people. Cymru am byth!


philip_jones_griffiths.jpgA decade after the death of one of the world’s best journalist photographers, the Welshman Philip Jones Griffiths, the first ever biography detailing his life and work has been published in Welsh. The volume Philip Jones Griffiths – Ei Fywyd a’i Luniau (His Life and Photography) by Ioan Roberts, is published this week by Y Lolfa and contains fifty impressive photographs by Philip himself, from Wales to Vietnam and many other countries.

Philip Jones Griffiths is remembered mainly for his photographs of the Vietnam war – photographs that contributed to changing the attitude of the American people towards the war. During his career he visited 140 countries, many of them that were at the heart of the horrors of war and suffering. But Philip would refuse to be labeled as a war photographer. It was not war in itself that spurred his interest, but to find the root of why that war was taking place, and the effect it had on the lives of innocent people.

In Vietnam he believed that the US forces tried to push their own values ​​on the old local civilization, which reminded him of the cultural and linguistic conflicts he had experienced during his childhood near the Rhuddlan border. The reason for him to be so successful in his work in Vietnam was that his apprenticeship for that country had begun during his childhood in Wales, he said. This volume also tells new and humourous stories about that childhood.

His objective through his work, he said, was ‘to spread light on the dark shadows of the world’.

‘I had decided that I would be the one to find out what the truth was,’ he said, ‘Taking real-life photographs of real people, that's my ambition.’

After leaving St Asaph Grammar School, Philip studied at the School of Pharmacy at the University of Liverpool before working as a pharmacist with the Boots company in London. He began to take photographs in his spare time for papers like the Observer and the Sunday Times, before becoming a full-time photographer. He went to live in New York after becoming president of the famous Magnum photography agency, a post he held for five years, longer than anyone else.

In his tribute, another Magnum photographer, Stuart Franklin, said ‘He gave to photojournalism its moral soul’.

The hardback volume contains fifty of Philip’s photographs, some portraying the horrors from the battlefield, others portraying an industrial Wales that has long since gone. Philip Jones Griffiths’s photos, like Philip himself, are a mixture if the sorrowful and the light-hearted.

The author and journalist Ioan Roberts from Pwllheli first came to know Philip Jones Griffiths in 1996 through his work in the world of television, and both were in occasional contact until Philip’s death in 2008.

‘Crucial to his work was his humility, his love for people and his intuitive sympathy with the weak. That came from his Welshness and his Welsh upbringing,’ said Ioan, ‘Through shining a new light on his backstory, I hope this volume will make the shining career of Philip Jones Griffiths easier to understand’.

‘Philip had strong convictions, he was a giant of a man physically and in terms of his presence, but yet friendly and witty.’

His work has attracted praise from some famous figures in world of photo-journalism including one of the founders of Magnum, Henri Cartier-Bresson, who said, ‘no-one since Goya has portrayed war as Philip Jones Griffiths did.’

And Australian photographer, journalist and director John Pilger said,

‘He was the greatest photographer and one of the finest journalists of my lifetime, and a humanitarian to match. His photographs of ordinary people, from his beloved Wales to Vietnam and the shadows of Cambodia, make you realise who the true heroes are. He was one of them.’

In the words of Marian Delyth, who contributed to the foreword of the volume,

‘It would be a matter of pride for Philip to see that it is in the Welsh language that his first biography is being published. Its now been ten years since we lost him. One part of Philip’s wishes were fulfilled – that his work was kept in Wales.’

‘It is now our responsibility to ensure that those images can continue to influence contemporary opinion in every period as they did with the Vietnam war’ she added.

An evening to launch the volume will take place at Rhuddlan Library in Denbighshire at 7pm on Monday, March 19 in the company of the Rev. Elfed ap Nefydd Roberts, author Ioan Roberts and Dai Thomas of the Rhuddlan Local History Society. The evening is organised by Denbighshire Libraries and sponsored by Rhuddlan Town Council.

Philip Jones Griffiths – Ei Fywyd a’i Luniau by Ioan Roberts (£19.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

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Adjudication from Mike Jenkins

''Rice Paper Dreams' by Krystal Song and 'Happy Birthday Marcy Lamport' by Caroline Jensen were both exceptional. I really liked both Song's stories and all of Jensen's......a real talent. I'll have to go for Krystal Song, but it's close and Caroline deserves a special mention for so many great stories.

The winner of the 2017 competition is Krystal Song.


Mike Jenkins


Read the winning entries here:- Krystal Song 2017 WCE Online Story Competition Winner



Congratulations/Llongyfarchiadau to this year's winner Krystal Song

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