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Category: Book News


walesina100places.jpg

Y Lolfa has published a new edition of its bestselling guide book to the must see places in Wales.

Wales in 100 Places is the updated version of Wales 100 places to see before you die which won the Welsh Book of the Year prize and was adapted to a popular television series on S4C. The publishing of the new version of the acclaimed volume follows the death of author and historian John Davies in 2015.

Wales in 100 Places combines words and pictures from two leading authorities in their fields; the late historian John Davies shares his remarkable depth of knowledge of the history of Wales; the photographer Marian Delyth travelled the length of the country in all weathers to create the magical atmosphere of the hundred places observed.

From Anglesey to Monmouthshire, from Pembrokeshire to Flintshire, these are a hundred places that we should visit in our lifetime.

‘During my travels, I came to realize how fortunate we are in Wales. Our country contains an astonishing range of examples of the fruits of human efforts’ said John Davies during the first publication, ‘Citizens of the larger nations of Europe cannot hope in the span of a single lifetime to visit all the highlights of their country’s heritage. But Welsh residents and visitors to Wales can, by the time they reach three score years and ten, visit, appreciate and love all its glories.’

‘The constantly changing light on the varied landscape of such a small country, and the wealth of histories and characters within our wonderful communities never cease to excite me’ added Marian Delyth, ‘I hope that the photographs in some small way reflect those particular qualities.’

John Davies (1938 - 2015) was a native of the Rhondda and was a presenter of the popular History Hunters TV series. In 2015 Y Lolfa published his autobiography A Life in History, translated from Welsh by Jon Gower. He received the Glyndŵr Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts in in Wales in 2015 and was described as “one of the most influential Welshmen of our era” by Prof Richard Wyn Jones.

Marian Delyth is a freelance graphic designer and photographer working from her studio near Aberystwyth. She has worked primarily for the publishing industry in Wales and has won many awards incuding the Tir na n-Og prize for best children's book on two occasions. She has worked on many collaborations with writers and poets and now devotes most of her life to her photographic work and shares her enthusiasm and knowledge in workshops and lectures. A prominent campaigner in the promotion of Art in Wales, she was a founder member of Ffotogallery and Gweled. She has exhibited her work in Wales and internationally.

Wales in 100 Places by John Davies and Marian Delyth (£19.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

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rarebit and rioja.jpg

Dylan & Llinos Rowlands



A Welsh cookbook by two local Welsh entrepreneurs has won a prestigious French cookbook award.

Rarebit and Rioja: Recipes and wine tales from Wales by Dylan and Llinos Rowlands of Gwin Dylanwad Wine, Dolgellau, has been declared the national British winner in its category, Best Food and Wine at the 2017 Gourmand Awards. The Welsh food and wine book stems from the two entrepreneurs’ 30 years experience in the trade.

The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards were founded in 1995 by Edouard Cointreau. Every year, they honour the best food and wine books, printed or digital, as well as food and cookery television programmes. Books from over two hundred countries participate in these prestigious awards, the only international competition of the sector.

This most recent success for Dylan and Llinos Rowlands follows previous accolades from renowned wine guru Hugh Johnson – who praised the wine shop and cafe-bar as a ‘Great little wine merchant in Dolgellau’ and wine writer Nevill Bletch who commended the bar as ‘one of the best places you can drink real quality at a reasonable price’.

Rarebit and Rioja is much more than just a recipe book with its entertaining and sometimes touching tales of journeys of discovery in the wine world from Spain to Armenia. It contains recipes, with some of the best Welsh ingredients from Canapés and Tapas, to Main Courses and Desserts which are accompanied by wine recommendations. The book is very much a wine book too and discusses how to make the most of tasting wine; what makes a good wine and the characteristics of various grapes. It ends with menu suggestions for special meals as well as a list of Welsh producers.

Dylan is a regular guest on S4C daytime magazine show Prynhawn Da as their wine expert and Llinos writes regular articles on food and wine. They host tastings in their beautifully renovated 16th century building in Dolgellau, which now includes upstairs tasting rooms where customers can relax and enjoy the wide variety of wines from the cellar shop that Dylan has travelled far and wide to source – from Italy and France to Moldova, in addition to the quality wines Welsh vineyards are now producing.

Commenting on the book upon its release in 2016, BBC Radio 1 DJ, Huw Stephens said: ‘As this success story grows, so too does its physical home, marking a new era for this proud Welsh institution. This book is a celebration of the story so far, and of the future and all that it holds.’

The annual Gourmand Awards ceremony will be held in Yantai, China during the 27th and 28th of May 2017 where Dylan and Llinos will be competing in their winning category against winners from other countries for the Best in the World.

Dylan and Llinos said, ‘Winning the British category of this prestigious award is very exciting. The feedback we have had about the book has been so positive, people really love the combination.’

‘We’re already visiting producers in Bordeaux and Rioja in February and March so we don’t think we can manage China in May for the awards but the prospect of now competing for the world’s best food and wine book is thrilling!’ they added.

Rarebit and Rioja – Recipes and Wine Tales from Wales by Dylan and Llinos Rowlands (£14.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

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Family-friendly Recipes From a Welsh Cook


By AmeriCymru, 2016-11-18

A year’s worth of delicious recipes…



alunthebear.jpgThe cook Lisa Fearn will be launching her first recipe book Blas / Taste at Aberglasney Gardens on Wednesday, 23 November.

Blas / Taste contains over 90 delicious family-friendly recipes and is presented bilingually. The book also includes suggestions for activities to keep the children busy, creating home-made gifts, quick ideas and making the most of ingredients from the garden.

Lisa Fearn is a Carmarthen girl and a mother of five. She established a gardening and cookery school called The Pumpkin Patch in Allt y Gog Farm in Felin-wen, Carmarthenshire. By now, she has taught thousands of children to grow and cook their own food (she's taught a few parents too).

Lisa is a columnist with the Carmarthen Journal and a regular on Radio Wales and Radio Cymru. She is also a cook on the Prynhawn Da programme on S4C. Above all, Lisa has a great interest in the social power of food.

Lisa says “I love the outdoors, gardening and cooking. So, when our youngest reached school age, I took stock of what I knew and The Pumpkin Patch became a reality – a children’s cookery and gardening school teaching them how to grow and cook their own food. Within months the school was fully booked, and I started sharing our family-friendly recipes with people.

“Blas • Taste is full of our favourite ‘go to’ recipes at Allt y Gog Farm. They are the recipes that I hope my children will use when they leave home – Mum’s favourites. No fuss; easy meals and snacks that flavour the seasons and the year’s celebrations with the family. So invite everybody round to taste!”

Blas/Taste is a perfect gift this Christmas and is now available from your local bookshop or directly from Gomer Press on ww.gomer.co.uk / 01559 363092.

Lisa Fearn will launch the book at Aberglasney Gardens on Wednesday, 23 November at 7pm.

Lisa will also be signing copies of the book at:

Peppercorn, Llandeilo on Friday, 18 November, 1.30pm

The Royal Welsh Winter Fair, Llanelwedd, 28 November, 11am on the Siop Inc stand and midday on the Merlin’s Hill stand

Aberglasney Winter Fair, 2 December 2pm & 4 December, 2pm

The National Library of Wales, 8 December at 5pm.

Bibliographic details

Blas / Taste, Lisa Fearn, Photographs by Aled Llywelyn

ISBN 9781785621741, hardback, 248 pages

£14.99, Published by Gomer Press






...



Blwyddyn gron o ryseitiau blasus…




Bydd y cogydd Lisa Fearn yn lansio ei chyfrol goginio gyntaf, Blas / Taste yng ngerddi Aberglasney nos Fercher, 23 Tachwedd.

Mae Blas / Taste yn cynnwys dros 90 o ryseitiau dwyieithog sy’n tynnu dŵr i’r dannedd. Yn ogystal mae’n cynnwys awgrymiadau

am weithgareddau i gadw’r plant yn brysur, creu anrhegion cartref, syniadau sydyn yn y gegin a gwneud y mwyaf o’r cynnyrch sy’n ffres o’r ardd.

Merch o Gaerfyrddin yw Lisa Fearn ac mae’n fam i bump o blant. Sefydlodd ysgol arddio a choginio boblogaidd i blant, sef The

Pumpkin Patch ar Fferm Allt y Gog yn Felin-wen, Sir Gaerfyrddin.

Erbyn hyn, mae hi wedi dysgu miloedd o blant i dyfu a choginio eu bwyd eu hunain (ac wedi dysgu ambell riant hefyd!).

Mae Lisa’n golofnydd gyda’r Carmarthen Journal. Mae hi’n westai cyson ar Radio Cymru a Radio Wales, ac yn gogydd ar raglen Prynhawn Da, S4C, hefyd. Uwchlaw popeth, mae gan Lisa ddiddordeb mawr ym mhŵer cymdeithasol bwyd.

Meddai Lisa “Rwy’n dwlu ar y byd tu fas ac ar arddio a choginio. Felly, pan ddechreuodd y cyw melyn ola yn yr ysgol, cymerais stoc o’r hyn roeddwn i’n gyfarwydd ag e. Ac felly y daeth The Pumpkin Patch i fodolaeth – ysgol goginio a garddio i blant, yn eu dysgu sut i dyfu a choginio’u bwyd eu hunain. O fewn misoedd, roedd yr ysgol yn llawn, a dechreuais rannu ein ryseitiau teulu-gyfeillgar â phobl eraill.”

“Mae Blas / Taste yn llawn o’n hoff ryseitiau ni yn Fferm Allt y Gog. Dyma’r ryseitiau rwy’n gobeithio y bydd fy mhlant yn eu defnyddio pan fyddan nhw’n gadael y nyth – ffefrynnau Mam.”

“Dim ffws - prydau a byrbrydau hawdd sy’n rhoi blas ar bob dim yn ei dymor ac yn ddathliad o flwyddyn gron gyda’r teulu a ffrindiau. Rhowch wahoddiad i bawb ddod draw i gael blas ar bethau!”

Mae Blas / Taste yn anrheg Nadolig delfrydol ac ar gael yn eich siop lyfrau leol am £14.99 neu’n

uniongyrchol oddi wrth wasg Gomer ar www.gomer.co.uk / 01559 363092.

Bydd Lisa Fearn yn lansio’r gyfrol yng ngerddi Aberglasney nos Fercher, 23 Tachwedd am 7 o’r gloch.

Bydd hi hefyd yn llofnodi copïau o’r llyfr yn:

Siop Peppercorn, Llandeilo, 18 Tachwedd am 1.30 o’r gloch

Y Ffair Aeaf, Llanelwedd, 28 Tachwedd, 11 o'r gloch ar stondin Siop Inc a 12 ar stondin Bryn Myrddin

Ffair Aeaf Aberglasney, 2 Rhagfyr, 2 o’r gloch a 4 Rhagfyr, 2 o’r gloch

Y Llyfrgell Genedlaethol, 8 Rhagfyr am 5 o’r gloch.

Manylion llyfryddol

Blas / Taste, Lisa Fearn, Ffotograffau Aled Llywelyn

ISBN 9781785621741, clawr caled, 248 tudalen,

£14.99, Gwasg Gomer

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Y LOLFA FOUNDER PUBLISHES PRIVATE DIARIES


By AmeriCymru, 2016-11-08

alunthebear.jpgRobat Gruffudd, the founder of Y Lolfa publishers and co-founder of Lol magazine, reveals all in private diaries written over the last fifty years that are published for the first time ever this week.

Lolian is a collection of ‘eccentric and too honest’ diaries that Robat Gruffudd kept since the sixties. It contains a mixture of humours ancedotes, provoking comments and memories about the twists and turns working in the pubilshing industry and meetings with authors and beyond in Wales and in bars on the continent. As a language campaigner since his early years, Robat goes into detail about his work with Cymdeithas yr Iaith, Cymuned, Dyfodol i'r Iaith – and a campaign where he refused to speak English. Also discussed are the Trefechan bridge protest and the campaign to establish a daily Welsh newspaper, Y Byd.

The diaries include response to events and an ‘unofficial’ yet original portrait of life in Wales over the last fifty years.

His Jewish and German background is also illustrated – as well as the prosecution suffered by his family in Germany, which was the basis of the successful book written by his brother Heini, A Haven from Hitler, which won Book of the Year (as Yr Erlid).

‘There are funny stories about plenty of people here and that’s what I’m afraid of! What will they say when they see their names in print? But the diary form asks for complete honesty,’ says Robat, ‘If you’re not honest then what’s the point? Although I may leave the country for a month or two after publication!’

But Robat Gruffudd says he never intended to publish the book originally.

‘These are personal diaries that I kept for my own amusement’ he explains, ‘I never intended for anyone else to see them. Unfortunatley, I gave in and this is the result’.

The diaries are published before the 50th anniversary of Y Lolfa which will be celebrated next year. The book delves into the publishing world but Robat emphasises that this is not an autobiography nor the history of Y Lolfa per se.

‘We will be celebrating Y Lolfa’s birthday soon. Watch this space for news of a big party and a range of other events!’ says Robat.

The book is launched officially on Friday the 25th of November at 8pm at the Llew Du (Black Lion) in Talybont. The academic Simon Brooks will be in conversation with the author followed by live music from Tecwyn Ifan.

‘I will be gone after the event!’ says Robat, ‘before people get a chance to read the book!’

Lolian by Robat Gruffudd (£9.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

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alunthebear.jpgWelsh football fans have come together to celebrate the success of the Welsh football team at the Euros in a new book that is published this week.

Merci Cymru is a collection of essays and articles to celebrate and remember the Wales football team’s success this year. The book was written by fans, commentators and some of the game’s biggest names including Dylan Ebenezer, the former player and academic Laura McAllister and poets Aled Gwyn and Rhys Iorwerth.

The book depicts the buzz in the games, on the streets, in the fanzones, on the couch and in the pubs and offers a very vivid impression of a very special time in the history of Welsh football.

The volume was edited by the author and jouranlist Tim Hartley and includes contributions from Tim himself as well as his son Rhys who also plays for the supporters’ team.

‘This book is a record. A record of events that some of us never imagined we would experience in our lifetime.’ said Tim Hartley, ‘But the fact remains, the Wales football team played in the finals of an international tournament.’

‘It is thanks to the effort of a small group of footballers from a small nation – and in the eyes of many people before this feat – an insignificant nation. They say ‘its only a game’ – but no. They also say that the journey itself and not the arrival is what matters in life. Not this time’ added Tim.

The book will be launched in a special event to celebrate the Wales team’s success at Chapter centre in Cardiff at 7pm on the 11th of November before the game against Serbia.

Merci Cymru (£7.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

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5 Welsh Crime Writers


By Ceri Shaw, 2016-09-20

Back to Welsh Literature page >


With Autumn closing in what better way pass the time than with a good book? For aficianados of crime fiction a good murder story is the ideal for whiling away the dark evening hours.  Check out our selection of Welsh crime writers from Canada, the USA, Europe and Wales itself. Happy reading! :)


Andrew Peters


Andrew Peters in blue suit

AmeriCymru spoke to Welsh crime fiction writer and roving guitarist Andrew Peters:-

"I was born in beautiful Barry on June 21st many years ago. That''s the longest day of the year ("Bloody felt like it too" Mrs GE Peters) so I have always yearned for the sun. After looking for it in vain in the UK, I toured the world as a guitarist and finally settled in Spain in 2004."

Read our Interview with Peter here

..



Stephen Puleston


...

AmeriCymru: Hi Stephen and many thanks for agreeing to this interview. What was the first thing you wrote and what attracted you to crime fiction writing?

Stephen: My first thing attempt at writing seriously was a general fiction novel. And my second novel was a political thriller based in London and Wales in the pre-devolution era. Luckily neither ever generated any interest from agents or publishers.

Read our Interview with Stephen here

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Delphine Richards


Delphine Richards

...

The Seedy Side Of Life In Rural Wales

''A friend is a good egg, even if they are slightly cracked - blessed are the cracked for they shall let in the light''

Read our Interview with Delphine here...

...

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Rhys Bowen



Rhys Bowen is the award winning writer of the Constable Evans mysteries set in the Snowdonia Mountains of Wales. Apart from the Constable Evans series, Rhys has written many other novels and children's books, including many best-selling titles. She has also written some historical sagas and TV tie-ins. She currently resides in California and spends her winters in Arizona. AmeriCymru spoke to her about her work and future plans.

Read our Interview with Rhys here

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Cathy Ace


Welsh crime writer Cathy Ace

...

Cathy Ace was born and raised in Swansea, South Wales, worked for decades in marketing communications, and migrated to Canada in 2000. Bestselling author Ace is the 2015 winner of the Bony Blithe Award for Best Canadian Light Mystery (for The Corpse with the Platinum Hair). AmeriCymru spoke to Cathy about her life and writing.

Read our Interview with Cathy here

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Travel writer John Harrison among longlist of nine for the New Welsh Writing Awards 2016: University of South Wales Prize for Travel Writing

New Welsh Review, in association with the University of South Wales and CADCentre, is delighted to announce the longlist of nine travel nonfiction essays for the New Welsh Writing Awards 2016: University of South Wales Prize for Travel Writing. Both new and established writers based in Wales, England and Ireland are in the running for the top prize including the award-winning travel writer John Harrison.

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.

Gwen Davies, editor of New Welsh Review said: ‘This prize has gone from strength to strength in its second year with an increased number of entries and an excellent standard of writing. Branching out from our previous theme of nature, this year’s longlist of travel nonfiction sees a move towards the political.’

Virginia Astley (Dorchester, England) Keeping the River

Evan Costigan (Kildare, Ireland) West Under a Blue Sky

Hannah Garrard (Norwich, England) No Situation is Permanent

John Harrison (London, England) The Rains of Titikaka

Gerald Hewitson (Holyhead, Wales) Oh my America

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

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

Karen Phillips (Pembrokeshire, Wales) Stranger Shores

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

Davies continues: ‘Such essays follow the progress of a pioneering school from its refugee-camp origins in Ghana; a Nigerian domestic scene where subtle and interdependent racial and class issues are seething under a tight lid; the rise and fall of the pre-Columbian city of Tiwanaku in Bolivia and the underground (and underwater) currents of Mayan culture in the Yucatan, Mexico. In gentler pastures, meanwhile, language, geography, history, culture, religion and philosophy are given room to reflect in pieces that champion the humble Thames-side lock-keeper, the etiquette of the Trans-Siberian station pitstop; silence and spirituality on a Pennsylvanian Quaker residency, and the highs and lows of the grand narrative on trek through the Pyrenees.’

For more information about the long listed writers please visit the website here: http://www.newwelshwritingawards.com/longlist-1/

The shortlist will be announced at an event at Hay Festival on 1 June 2016 (3-4pm) and the winner at a ceremony at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff on 7 July 2016 (6-8pm).

First prize is £1,000 cash, e-publication by New Welsh Review on their New Welsh Rarebyte imprint in 2016, a positive critique by leading literary agent Cathryn Summerhayes at WME, as well as lunch with her in London. 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. In addition New Welsh Review will consider the highly commended and shortlisted nominees for publication in a forthcoming edition of its creative magazine New Welsh Reader with an associated standard fee.

New Welsh Review have today also launched their Best Travel Book Poll inviting readers around the world to vote for their favourite all time travel book in the English language. A longlist of 20 titles have been selected by co-judges Gwen Davies and Rory MacLean with nominations from the students of the University of South Wales and librarians across Wales. The public can now vote for the shortlist and winner which will be revealed on 1 June and 7 July respectively.

For more information visit http://www.newwelshwritingawards.com/best-travel-book-poll/

www.newwelshwritingawards.com

#newwelshawards

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There are just two weeks left to enter the New Welsh Writing Awards 2016: University of South Wales Prize for Travel Writing. The prize celebrates the best short form travel writing from writers based in the UK and Ireland and those based worldwide who have been educated in Wales. The word length is 5,000-30,000 and the closing date is midnight 3 April. Entry is free.

First Prize:

  
•  £1,000 cash, e-publication by New Welsh Review on their New Welsh Rarebyte imprint in 2016
•  a positive critique over lunch with leading literary agent Cathryn Summerhayes at WME

Second Prize:

•  a weeklong residential course in 2016 of the winner’s choice at Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre

Third prize:


•  a weekend stay at Gladstone’s Library

All three winners will also receive a one-year subscription to New Welsh Review. In addition New Welsh Review will consider the highly commended and shortlisted nominees for publication in a forthcoming edition of its creative magazine New Welsh Reader with an associated standard fee.

Find out more at http://www.newwelshwritingawards.com/ and you can watch our call for entries video here: https://vimeo.com/152185256
In addition to the writing prize, New Welsh Review is giving readers a chance to nominate their favourite travel books in their Best Travel Book Poll.

Find out more here: http://www.newwelshwritingawards.com/best-travel-book-poll/

To nominate your favourite travel book email us at marketing@newwelshreview, tweet us @NewWelshReview using the hashtag #NewWelshAwards or add a comment on Facebook.com/NewWelshReview. Deadline for nominations is midnight 3 April 2016.

We will reveal the longlist on 20 April and will be inviting the public to vote for the shortlist and winner which will be revealed on 1 June and 7 July respectively.

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New Welsh Review - Wales Foremost Literary Magazine



New Welsh Review was founded in 1988 as the successor to The Welsh Review (1939-1948), Dock Leaves and The Anglo Welsh Review (1949-1987) and is Wales’s foremost literary magazine in English, offering a vital outlet for the very best new fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry, a forum for critical debate, and a rigorous and engaged reviewing culture. New Welsh Review Ltd is supported through core funding by the Welsh Books Council and hosted by Aberystwyth University Department of English and Creative Writing. The magazine’s creative content was rebranded as New Welsh Reader in May 2015, with reviews moving entirely online.

AmeriCymru spoke to New Welsh Review/Reader editor, Gwen Davies about the re branding and the magazines future direction.



 



Gwen DaviesAmeriCymru: Hi Gwen, and many thanks for agreeing to this interview. What is the New Welsh Review? How would you describe its mission statement?

Gwen: New Welsh Review, is a literary and cultural magazine working across Wales with eleven publication dates in different formats including print, app, epub and online, through the media of text, photography, video, audio, graphic poetry and animation. This national magazine with international readership and horizons has contributors including Terry Eagleton, Michael Longley, Patricia Duncker, Stevie Smith, Jem Poster, Richard Gwyn, Rory MacLean and Tessa Hadley. Our USPs are that we publish newcomers alongside established writers, are highly professional, develop the work of students and emerging writers, and that we pay contributors. We rebranded in May 2015 to publish creative work and literary essays in the New Welsh Reader (print, app and epub formats), and to publish reviews and comment in the New Welsh Review (online only).

AmeriCymru: Where can American readers go to read more or subscribe?

https://www.newwelshreview.com/

https://www.newwelshreview.com/newsub.php

AmeriCymru: With regard to the recent name change / re branding...what is new in Welsh Reader? Has there been a change of focus?

Gwen: The emphasis, noted above, of creative work in New Welsh Reader, has been appreciated by readers who perhaps aren't so interested in reviews or like to get their reviews more quickly online. Our readers tell us that highlighting our creative work – poetry, creative nonfiction, short stories, novel previews, illustration, photography, graphic books and longer literary essays – in this way gives this type of work more status and room for contemplation, which print, in particular, favours. Publishing eight online supplements of reviews and comment allows us to respond more quickly to new books and topical issues without worrying about the production process. These supplements are published under the old umbrella, New Welsh Review. This move, of course, also saves money in a climate of public funding cuts.

AmeriCymru: What, for you are the highlights of the latest edition of New Welsh Reader?

Gwen: As it happens, am American contributor, Peter E Murphy www.murphywriting.com, whose essay is a fictionalised family memoir about  his family's connections to Wales. His father and grandfather, longshoremen Eddie and Teddy Murphy, were billeted together in Newport and Belgium during the Normandy landings. Teddy was a nasty piece of work and Eddie was a tall-tale-teller of the first order. Other highlights in our autumn edition are former British serving officer Daniel Jones' story about an Afghanistan posting, and newcomer Crystal Jeans' dirty urban story about how a mother's sexual fantasy of Bukowski propels her to seduce the local alcoholic tramp: 'I lean over to my knicker drawer and pull out a condom. Bukowski wouldn't use a condom. Or he would, but right at the end he'd yank it off, sink his d*** back in and say, "You can have my seed and like it, you w****.' But you can take something too far.'

AmeriCymru: What can you tell us about the New Welsh Writing Awards program. Are there any upcoming publication plans? What will be the theme for next year?

Gwen: To elaborate on the rebranding you mentioned above. We rebranded around the term 'New Welsh' since that encapsulates all our work, and we have further sub-brands of the New Welsh Writing Awards which this year ran under the banner of writing for nature and the environment and was sponsored by WWF Cymru with further support from CADCentre (a software company working with early school leavers) and writing centres Ty Newydd and Gladstone's Library in north Wales.

The Awards' USP is that it celebrates essays or books of at least 10,000 words and part of the prize is publication in Kindle ebook form. Our fourth brand is New Welsh Rarebyte which is our new ebook imprint and publishes the winner of our writing award, this year (publishing on 15 October) 26-year old Eluned Gramich's Woman Who Brings the Rain, A Memoir of Hokkaido, Japan. It's available for pre-order internationally here as a Kindle ebook via Amazon. We are currently seeking sponsors to run next year's Awards, either from commerce or from education as we are looking into the possibility of combining work on the Awards with a university placement programme that would give experience to students, either with a literature background or in business or marketing, to work on a large event such as running a prize and ceremony. We hope that we will get enough funding next year to run an extra category, so that would be nature and the environment as before plus memoir. The prize should interest expats with a Welsh connection as our Terms & Conditions welcome international entries by people who were born in Wales or educated here.


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

Gwen: The publishing climate for journalism is very hard as we are hit five times over by the change in reading patterns caused by the internet, ie people accessing free stuff; writers having become willing to publish their work for free, thus undermining their own value and that of  curated publications who see payment as part of the professional service they offer; the democratisation of the internet which, despite its many positive points does undermine the old hierarchy of choice and curation which publishers offer; the feedback and sense of community offered to writers by social media which used to be provided by magazines and authors' societies, and, finally, the current British austerity climate which has led to public funding cuts in the arts as elsewhere. We really do feel, in respect of our current mix of subscriber-exclusive and free-to-view content, that we are sucking it and seeing. We don't know how things will develop, how much will people pay to read in future in a world in which originally only very few of the big newspapers opted for the paywall model.

At New Welsh Review, however, we have been working creatively to track down alternative funding sources. Mainly this has been with the institution in which we are physically housed, our host and sponsor Aberystwyth University, to create a student work placement scheme producing a multimedia programme that provides us with audio and visual features, clips, reviews, interviews and creative showcases that exercise the students' skills in research, presentation, camerawork, editing, performed reading, animation, graphics, getting on with authors and working as a team as well as being responsive to an editor's demands and real-time deadlines. This relationship gives us a home and allows us to pay and develop the skills of a greater range of contributor. For the university, it ticks their employability boxes. To AmeriCymru I would humbly ask: does anyone want to sponsor an exciting Awards scheme and/or work with us to replicate our student placement model over the pond? Last year, during the Dylan Thomas centenary, many Americans learned of or visited the many beautiful west Wales locations associated with the poet. In Aberystwyth we are just down the coast from Laugharne and New Quay. If you would like to sponsor or develop any of the ideas outlined above to further strengthen the links of Wales and the US, and to put our mutual traditions of great writing on both our maps, contact me at editor[at]newwelshreview.com.


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 War theme for autumn edition of New Welsh Reader




New Welsh Review was founded in 1988 as the successor to The Welsh Review (1939-1948), Dock Leaves and The Anglo Welsh Review (1949-1987) and is Wales’s foremost literary magazine in English, offering a vital outlet for the very best new fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry, a forum for critical debate, and a rigorous and engaged reviewing culture. New Welsh Review Ltd is supported through core funding by the Welsh Books Council and hosted by Aberystwyth University Department of English and Creative Writing. The magazine’s creative content was rebranded as New Welsh Reader in May 2015, with reviews moving entirely online.


 


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BOOKS BY JO MAZELIS        JO MAZELIS INTERVIEW

Mechanics by Jo MazelisAn excerpt from ''Mechanics'' - an original short story by Jo Mazelis, appearing in eto 3 due for publication, early March 2017.



Charlotte had the advantage of a free right hand, while Georgina had to either struggle with her left hand, or use her right, but first she had to wriggle to free it from the press of her sister’s body which ruined the effect of their unusual appearance. This was how their mother had instructed them to do everyday things; as if they were a single entity with only two arms, but four legs and two heads. They had also been trained to speak as one, saying in perfect chorus, ‘Hello, how do you do? I do believe that the weather is improving, don’t you think?’ In order to make these seemingly spontaneous and simultaneous speeches they had rehearsed multiple variations along with a series of subtle gestures that communicated which phrase should be uttered. It was Georgina who usually took the lead in these transactions with the world, but Charlotte could at times be singular in transmitting different choices that made for bizarre conversation. For example, only days before the leader of the local town’s council chamber had asked the girls if they enjoyed the rolling hills and lush pastures of that part of Wales, Georgiana twirling a finger through a glossy ringlet, signalled that they should say, ‘Why, thank you kind sir, everything has pleased us greatly!’ But Charlotte had petulantly (as much as sneezing can be petulant) sneezed three times, which was the code for, ‘Our dear mother wept bitterly over it and cannot be consoled!’ Georgina sensing the comedy in this answer took a deep breath before they spoke the words in unison together. The council leader was taken aback, ‘Is she an invalid?’ he asked. To which the girls replied, somewhat mysteriously, ‘It is said there are two ways to milk a cow.’ After that they took their leave with haste as both were stifling a great fit of the giggles as the poor man tried on such a variety of expressions in quick succession in his confusion and grew redder and redder in the face until they thought he might suffer an apoplexy.

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PENfro-Book-Fair

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PENfro Book Festival

Thursday 12th - Sunday 15th September, Rhosygilwen

The PENfro Book Festival is an annual event celebrating the quality and diversity of writing in Wales today, recognising the contribution of local publishers and booksellers, and encouraging more people to enjoy the wealth of books Wales offers....Read More

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AmeriCymru:  Hi Derek and many thanks for agreeing to be interviewed by AmeriCymru. Care to tell us a little about the history and background of the Penfro Festival?

Derek:  This is the third year of the PENfro Book Festival. It was the brainchild of local author Brian John, who was Chair for the first two years. The intention then, as now, is to celebrate writing in Wales today, providing a platform for writers and encouraging the public to appreciate and enjoy the wealth of wonderful writing in the country. It was never designed to compete with the likes of the Hay Festival, but rather to have a smaller, more intimate feel: warm, welcoming and very friendly – very much in the spirit of Pembrokeshire!

For the first couple of years the festival was held over two days, but this year it has been extended to have two evening performances in addition. A programme of writers’ workshops was introduced in 2012 and this is now an integral part of the festival.

AmeriCymru:  Who will beSamantha Wynne Rhydderch appearing at this years event? What are the main attractions?

Derek: This year the festival begins with a concert on Thursday 12th September – Hungarian Dance: the Concert of the Novel.  Having played to rave reviews, the concert features Jesscia Duchen reading extracts from her bestselling novel accompanied by the music which inspired it. It promises to be a unique experience and one not to be missed.

Friday evening is a poetry evening hosted by local poetry group, the Cellar Bards – together with three other groups, Red Heron, the PENfro Poets and Haiku and Hipflasks.  The winners of the first PENfro Poetry competition will also be announced by guest judge Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch, and the evening features a performance by poet Tim Wells.

During the day on Saturday, there are a number of Writers’ Workshops covering subjects including ‘getting started’; poetry; using new media; biography; freelance journalism and screenwriting.

We also have a couple of events for children held at Small World theatre in Cardigan. Award-winning storyteller, Daniel Morden will be telling tales from the Odyssey and there is a special Children’s Circus workshop at lunchtime with a performance in the afternoon.

We are enormously proud to have for our Saturday evening event not only the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, but the National Poet of Wales, Gillian Clarke! This is a tremendous coup for the festival and will I’m sure ensure PENfro a place on the literary map.

Sunday is a full day of events starting in the morning with Peter Lord discussing his new book, Relationships with Pictures, describing, using fifteen pictures, the evolution of his own sense of self.

That’s followed by Jim Perrin and Mark Charlton.  Jim is best known as a rock climber and prize winning travel writer, but he has debut book of short stories A Snow Goose about to be published.  He will be in conversation with Mark Charlton author of Counting Steps.

Swansea born Amy Dillwyn was a remarkable woman and novelist.  Considered to be an eccentric with unorthodox and iconoclastic views, she published six novels, as well as being a regular, though anonymous, reviewer for the Spectator. And she’s the subject of an event with Dr Kirsti Bohata who discusses Dillwyn  and her classic novel, Jill in conversation with Janet Thomas.

Then there’s a Welsh language event with Grahame Davies in conversation with Ceri Wyn on Alcemi Dŵr – The Alchemy Of Water – an illustrated book about Welsh lakes, rivers, shorelines and waterfalls, featuring the poems of Grahame Davies and Tony Curtis and the photographs of Mari Owen and Carl Ryan.

Daniel Morden makes a reappearance with his Dark Tales from the Woods, for which he won the Tir na n-Og Award . His latest publication is Tree of Leaf and Flame, published by Pont Books in 2012 which also won the Tir na n-Og Award. His stories are broadcast regularly on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Choice TV.

Then, at lunchtime, we have three local authors talking about their books in our Meet the Authors spot: Liz Whittaker''s book The Bardic Monk tells the tale of how Henry II of England, in thrall to tales of King Arthur, travels to a remote corner of Wales to meet with a shrouded monk of no name.  Pembrokeshire, often referred to as ''Gwlad yr Hud'' (the Enchanted Land), is home to a rich and diverse collection of tales; and in Pembrokeshire Folk Tales Christine Willison has gathered many of these tales together in an enchanting book. Glen Peter''s latest novel The Lucknow Ransom again features beautiful widow Joan D''Silva with a cast of colourful characters inspired by Glen''s youth in the dwindling Anglo-Indian community.

After lunch there’s a choice of events. In ‘What Makes a Good Read’,New York Times best-selling author  Paula Brackston, Francesca Rhydderch and Katherine Stansfield discuss their latest books in conversation with Richard Davies. While author/illustrator Jackie Morris will talk about and read from the latest book that she has written and illustrated called Song of the Golden Hare.

Finally, wrapping up the day, we have The Pembrokeshire Murders –the story of Operation Ottawa, the cold case detection of John Cooper for two Pembrokeshire double killings – with Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Wilkins and ITV News reporter Jonathan Hill.

And Lucy Gannpn  - one of the UK''s leading TV screenwriters talks about her career and writing for television with Susanna Capon. Lucy''s credits include the new series of Frankie, Soldier Soldier, Branwell, Lewis and the award winning The Best of Men.

All day on Sunday, we also have our trade fair with up to 30 stalls – booksellers, publishers, authors and others offering an enormous variety of books and other related items. A great place to browse where you’re sure to find something of interest.  While next door, in the Orangery, you can have a snack, a cup of tea or coffee, or a full lunch.

Rhosygilwen-house-and-statueRhosygilwen house and statue



AmeriCymru:  Can you tell us something about the venue?

Derek:  The festival is held in the spacious grounds of Rhosygilwen – a beautiful stone built mansion built in Gothic style with magnificent gardens.  Many of the events are held in the house’s large Conservatory with others in the lovely spacious octagonal summerhouse.  The major events and the trade fair are held in the superb Oak Hall with its exquisite hammer beam roof and wonderful light.

AmeriCymru:  What are your plans for the future of the Festival? How do you see it developing in years to come?

Derek:  The festival I think has now started to establish itself well as part of the Welsh literary scene, but I hope that we appeal to the man and woman in the street just as much. I certainly don’t want the festival to be in any way elitist, but to add to the enormous joy which people can get from books – and books of all types and in all forms. Celebratory and fun, that’s what it should be!  We are already planning for next year and the former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has agreed to speak and read poetry in our Saturday evening slot.  So it’s all really very exciting.

AmeriCymru:  Where can readers go to purchase tickets for the event?

Derek:  Tickets for each event can be bought on the day or evening concerned, but some such as the Saturday evening event are selling fast, so best to book now!  They can be bought on line on the website: penfrobookfestival.org.uk.  There is a Festival Pass available for the Sunday too, which gives entry to all events all day for just £10.  Beat that for great value!

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This year is the 50th anniversary of the start of Dusty Springfield’s solo career. The iconic singer, who for millions was the definitive pop diva, launched her first solo hit record ‘I Only Want to Be With You’ in 1963. Celebrating this fact is a new play by Derek Webb called ‘Call Me Dusty’.

With Jessica Sandry in the title role, the play attempts to disentangle myth and facts, and begin to understand the very complex character who was Dusty Springfield. She was born Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien – a shy, chubby, Catholic convent girl. Her mother was Irish, her father an accountant, she was brought up in West London and from a child was in love with the cinema and music: longing to be an actress like June Haver or a singer like Peggy Lee.

In 1960 she became part of the very successful trio called The Springfields with her brother Tom and his friend Tim Field and together they were the first British group to succeed in a big way in America.

But by 1963 she had decided to go solo and the legend that was Dusty Springfield was truly born. Many times voted Best Female Singer, Dusty Springfield achieved enormous worldwide fame. Loving soul music, she was largely responsible for bringing Motown to the attention of a UK audience. A perfectionist who refused to compromise in the pursuit of the ultimate pop record, Dusty Springfield effectively was the producer on many of her recordings. And, while shy privately, she was often outspoken publicly. In 1964 she was one of the first to stand up against apartheid in South Africa and a few years later, she was to famously declare herself gay – something few would have dared to do at the time.

Despite the fame and success, however, Dusty’s personal life was full of drama and tragedy. Not only did she find her sexuality at odds with her Catholicism, but drugs and alcohol took their toll, and increasingly she began to self-harm.

'Call Me Dusty' explores the dichotomy of the quiet, shy private person and her alter ego with her extravagant black mascara and backcombed hair; while at the same time celebrating the music which still ranks amongst the best of its kind. Not for nothing is Dusty Springfield heralded as the finest white soul singer ever.

Jessica Sandry, who plays Dusty, is in the new series of Stella with Ruth Jones on Sky TV and her numerous stage appearances have included portraying another singing legend, Doris Day, in the acclaimed show Being Doris Day which toured nationally. Playing her manager Vic Billings and other characters is James Scannell whose stage credits include Romeo & Juliet, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Hamlet, A Christmas Carol, Romeo & Juliet, and Of Mice and Men. And playing Dusty’s secretary Pat Rhodes and other characters is Jayne Stillman, whose credits include Varya in The Cherry Orchard, Miss Ronberry in The Corn is Green and Emilia in Othello.

The play covers the time from when she first decided to reinvent herself as Dusty Springfield to a period in the early 1970s when she had seen the meteoric rise in her career begin to falter and decided to move to the US. Dusty herself in fact tried several times to reinvent herself, and achieved a reawakening in her fortunes and discovered a brand new fan base in the late 1980s when the Pet Shop Boys asked her to sing on the No 1 hit ‘What Have I Done to Deserve This?’. Dusty Springfield died of breast cancer in 1999 just short of her 60th birthday.

Call Me Dusty is produced by Ignition and plays at the Swansea Grand on September 11th and 12th before touring to Ammanford, Abertillery, Monmouth, Cwmbran, Barry, Newport, Cardigan, Milford Haven, Worcester and Llanelli.

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Pint-sized Plays Get Bigger Each Year


By AmeriCymru, 2013-07-29

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twins-stuart-crafton

The Pembrokeshire based, Pint-sized Plays competition is gearing up for its 2013 performances.   Once again, the number of entries in the competition exceeded previous years, with many more coming in from Australia, New Zealand and the US as well as Wales and the rest of the UK. 

The six winners and four runners up are now in rehearsal ready to be performed as part of the Tenby Festival.  Six pubs in Tenby will be hosting the plays over two nights,  Monday September 23rd and Tuesday September 24th. 

It is hoped that selected plays will also be performed in other pubs in the county too. And then, as in previous years, all ten plays will compete at 4U in Fishguard at the Pint-sized Plays Script Slam on September 28th, where the audience get to vote for their favourite script and there’s a ‘Pint Pot’ awarded to the winner and a half-pint for the runner up as well as prizes for the best performances.

This year there will be an additional ‘theatre’ performance at the Small World Theatre in Cardigan on October 5th.  Called Pint-sized World, this will feature all ten plays in one show with a bar and cabaret style seating.

Pint-sized Plays have begun publishing the plays too. The first volume, which has 20 plays from the first four years, has just been published and are available for other theatre companies to perform as well as being ideal for drama schools and colleges to use. Already some of the plays have been taken up.  One play, ‘In-Sex’, was performed at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival by a Brighton theatre company and a further six plays were performed by an Oxford company. Performances aren’t limited to the UK either. A successful New Zealand version of Pint-sized Plays began earlier in the year and plans another festival for 2014. Pembrokeshire-born Pint-sized Plays it seems just keep on growing! More information: info@pintsizedplays.org.uk



'' Twins'' by Stuart Crafton. The Winning Script in the 2012 Pint-sized Plays competition


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September sees the third annual PENfro Book Festival held at Rhosygilwen and this year it will run over four days, with two evenings of events before the weekend starts.

The festival begins with a special evening of music and spoken word on Thursday September 12th. ''Hungarian Dances: the concert of the novel'' promises to be an uplifting and memorable experience with author Jessica Duchen reading extracts from her international bestselling novel, accompanied by award-winning musicians David Le Page and Anthony Hewitt playing the Hungarian and Gypsy-influenced violin music that inspired it.  The concert featured to great acclaim on Radio 3’s ‘In Tune’.

Friday evening has local poets ‘The Cellar Bards’ and other local poetry groups joined by performance poet Tim Wells and the winners of the PENfro poetry competition together with the guest judge Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch.

There’s more poetry on Saturday evening with the Poet Laureate herself, Carol Ann Duffy together with the National Poet of Wales, Gillian Clarke, reading from their work. This is a real coup for the festival and will it is hoped really put PENfro on the literary map.

Gillian Clarke on Wikipedia  

During the day, once again there will be special workshops for writers, covering everything form screenwriting to poetry, writing biography to using new media, which are sure to be as enjoyable as they are stimulating. PENfro Chairman, Derek Webb, is pleased at the expanding nature of the festival.  “We’re aiming to have a good mix of events to attract everyone with any interest in books and to celebrate the amazing wealth and diversity of writing in Wales today.  Above all though we hope that PENfro will be seen as a fun festival with the warmth and welcome that we are so good at in Pembrokeshire.”

Sunday is the big day when there is a book fair with a wide variety of bookshops and other traders in Rhosygilwen’s magnificent Oak Hall together with readings, book launches, discussions and other events starting at 10.30 am.  Among the many diverse events are rock climber and prize winning travel writer Jim Perrin’s debut book of short stories, a discussion on the remarkable 19th century woman and novelist Amy Dillwyn, and Peter Lord on his new book 'Relationships with Pictures' which describes, using fifteen pictures, the evolution of his own sense of self.

There’s a Welsh language event with Grahame Davies talking about 'Alcemi Dwr/The Alchemy Of Water'– an illustrated book about Welsh lakes, rivers, shorelines and waterfalls. And there’s a good deal for children too.  World famous storyteller Daniel Morden will be telling tales from his award-winning book, 'Dark Tales from the Woods'. Throughout the day there’s a mystery game that children with their families can join in – searching for an elusive stolen ivory statue – with prizes for those who find it and catch the thief!

There will also be plenty of opportunities to meet local authors and hear about their books.  One such author is popular writer and illustrator Jackie Morris who has a new book out called 'Song of the Golden Hare'And, at the other end of the spectrum, Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Wilkins and ITV News reporter Steve Wilkins, will talk about their book 'The Pembrokeshire Murders' – the story of Operation Ottawa, the cold case detection of John Cooper for two double killings.

So what makes a good read? That’s the subject of a discussion between authors Paula Brackston, Francesca Rhydderch and Katherine Stansfield who will discuss their latest books in conversation with Richard Davies. And to wrap up the day, one of the UK''s leading TV screenwriters, Lucy Gannon will talk about her career and writing for television including the new series of Frankie, Soldier Soldier, Branwell, Lewis and the award winning The Best of Men.

The PENfro Book Festival 2013 is at Rhosygilwen, Cilgerran, Pembrokeshire from Thursday September 12th until Sunday September 15th.

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