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Category: Books


It's January Sale Time!!



Not ready to take a Welsh language course yet? Why not learn some Welsh at your own pace with our selection of Welsh language course books. 10% off till the end of January!

We also have books on Welsh recipes, songs, hymns, history and more. Click the pic below or HERE to browse our titles.

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!



welsh books.jpg

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Welsh Flag Day? - May 28th


By AmeriCymru, 2016-03-09


The Mimosa in the 1860's. Wikimedia Commons



In an important new book, published by Y Lolfa, author Sion T. Jobbins calls for the 28th May to be commemorated annually in Wales as 'Flag Day'. He explains the reasoning behind this suggestion in the following succinct paragraph:

"There is no designated Flag Day for the Red Dragon. The author would propose 28 May, which was the day the flag was hoisted on board the Mimosa ship on its voyage to Patagonia in 1865. This was the first known and dated occasion when the flag was flown by Welsh people as a symbol of Welsh national identity."

The book is a treasure trove of information about the Ddraig Goch from the earliest times to the present day. For instance did you know that:


  • The Ddraig Goch flag in its present form was only officially adopted as the flag of Wales in 1959?
  • The Red Dragon was originally the banner of the Roman legionary cohorts. Their name for it was the draco coccinus. Both terms entered the Welsh vocabulary as loan words (somewhat adapted) from the Latin?

There is much more detail about the Flag's 2000 year history and at slightly less than 100 pages this book is the most informative and entertaining on its subject matter that you are likely to find. Of course the departure of the Mimosa from Liverpool Dock in 1865 is in itself an historic occasion worth celebrating. The voyage led to the founding of Wales first and only colony in the America's. For more on the voyage of the Mimosa see the links below. To purchase the book go here:- The Red Dragon - The Story of the Welsh Flag

And remember to commemorate Flag Day on May 28th!



From the Wikipedia :- "The idea of a Welsh colony in South America was put forward by Professor Michael D. Jones, a Welsh nationalist non-conformist preacher based in Bala who had called for a new "little Wales beyond Wales". He spent some years in the United States, where he observed that Welsh immigrants assimilated very quickly compared with other peoples and often lost much of their Welsh identity. He proposed setting up a Welsh-speaking colony away from the influence of English. He recruited settlers and provided financing. Australia, New Zealand and even Palestine were considered, but Patagonia was chosen for its isolation and the Argentines' apparently generous offer of 100 square miles (260 km²) of land along the Chubut River in exchange for settling the still-unconquered land of Patagonia for Argentina."



The Mimosa :- "The Mimosa was a clipper ship best known for carrying the first Welsh emigrants to South America in 1865.

Mimosa sailed from Liverpool, England on May 28, 1865 to Patagonia, South America with a group of about 153 passengers with Captain George Pepperell and a crew of 18. Thomas Greene, an Irishman from Kildare, had been appointed as ship's surgeon. They landed on July 28, 1865 and named their landing site Porth Madryn. They were met by Edwyn Cynrig Roberts and Lewis Jones who had already arrived in Patagonia in June 1865 to prepare for the arrival of the main body of settlers.

Their aim was to establish a Welsh colony which would preserve the Welsh language and culture. The proposed site for the colony was in the Chubut River valley. On September 15, 1865 the first town in the Chubut colony was named Rawson, and the settlers went on to build the settlements at Gaiman and Trelew.

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"This gripping story is the eagerly awaited sequel to his bestselling novel The Head of Gonzo Davies and sees ex-international No. 8 Gonzo grafting, inspiring and reviving his local club and village. But his rugby world is about to change once again, as dramatically indeed as his personal life. Taking in New Zealand, Dubai and Paris along the way, Gonzo Davies Caught in Possession is a thriller where camaraderie and brutality are constant companions."

BUY 'GONZO DAVIES: CAUGHT IN POSSESSION' HERE

 

 

 





 



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The beautiful Nanteos Mansion , now a sumptuous five star hotel, is said to be one of the most haunted houses in the whole of Wales. New novel  The Shadow of Nanteos portrays the life of the Elizabeth Powell, the famous Ladi Wen or Grey Lady of Nanteos.

It is said that she has been seen stalking the long, first floor corridor; in the hallway and bending over the bed of a terrified maid. But, it is on the stairs that the most vivid sightings have taken place. Not only has she been seen there but, according to Ghost Hunters International who filmed at the Georgian house in 2008, she has even been recorded begging for help.

Jane Blank’s book explores the life of this mysterious figure, who lived at Nanteos in the 1750s and who is said to roam the property searching for her lost jewels. Waterstones Wales Book of the Month and long listed for the Historical Novel Society Awards, 2015, Robert Peston called it ‘A wonderful Gothic evocation of Wild Wales’. In the words of critic Emma Corfield Waters on Radio Wales ‘It is a fascinating book; perfect for this time of year’.

Exclusive signed copies are available in selected branches of Waterstones and the novel can be ordered from many sites online to arrive in time for Christmas.  

Jane Blank will be at Abergavenny Library Christmas party at 6.30 pm, Friday the 11th of December. There she will be reading from the novel, answering questions and signing copies. Wine and mince pies will be available and profits will go to Abergaveny library.


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'Perfect Architect' by Jayne Joso


By AmeriCymru, 2015-12-02




BUY PERFECT ARCHITECT HERE

READ OUR INTERVIEW WITH JAYNE JOSO HERE

 




" A work of stunning originality and deftness of prose, in which Jayne Joso explores with delicate skill and rare empathy what becomes of the broken hearted. " Cathi Unsworth, author



A love letter to architecture, this novel is set in the dazzling and eccentric world of the star architect. After the death of her architect husband Charles and the discovery of intimate correspondence with another woman, Gaia Ore is about to learn some harsh but rewarding lessons on the nature of erotic and artistic obsession. A competition emerges to design her perfect home, and the private world of international architects is opened up. Flowing between Spain, Italy, the US and the UK, four world class architects – Charles’ former adversaries – take up the challenge. But will they truly understand what is required of them? Accustomed as they are to large scale projects such as skyscrapers, bridges, museums and galleries, will the request for a modest dwelling ultimately get the better of them?



Using written correspondence as a tool for the plot as well as a key to shifts in register and intimacy, this novel celebrates the old-fashioned postal service, exploring the age-old affinity of letters to romance. The international settings and glamour associated with the world of star architects  – their passion, vision, their ideas and their egos – are set in counterpoint to the warm and funny local story of mailman Tom and his low-flashpoint, fleshy wife Cara. Jayne Joso is herself and journalist and ghost writer on architecture, as well as having lived in Kenya, China and Japan; this is the background to the novel’s central concern with uncovering the dream home. Joso says,



The desire to feel comfortable, at ease and at home, is something I think I have always been curious about. I love asking: what does it mean to find the right place? What makes one building your ideal dwelling and another just a house? We moved around a lot when I was little, so I was used to spending time figuring out how best to organise my things...  It’s what we all do, and discovering the best use of the space you’re in and how best to accommodate yourself and who you live with is really quite an adventure. My travels, too, and the sheer excitement of seeing very different kinds of architecture and ways of living close up, of viewing space and how to inhabit it – all of these experiences in various ways have fed my passion for architecture, and have enriched Perfect Architect.”



This is UK-based Jayne Joso’s second novel. Her first, Soothing Music for Stray Cats, was heralded by the TLS as one of the “great London novels”, was described by author Joe Moran as the “debut of a distinctive voice in contemporary British fiction”, and by Natalie Haynes on BBC Six Music’s Cerys Matthews show as “the must-have novel for Christmas 2010”. It was also shortlisted for the People’s Book Prize 2010. Having written for various architecture publications, Joso now draws on her passion for the discipline in what may be coined as “Grand Designs meets I am Love. Perfect Architect is already attracting the attention of architecture magazines, and is a joyous and life-affirming read filled with warmth and humour, houses... and a hand-carved penguin!


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The artwork of students from Coleg Sir Gâr will be displayed in the Penrallt Bookshop in Machynlleth to celebrate the launch of a book for readers aged 9-12, Top Dog, by first-time author Emma Rea.  Pont Books gave students on the Digital Illustration B.A. course at Coleg Sir Gâr, Carmarthen a challenge – to design a cover which would capture something of the novel’s friendships and quarrels, the bikes and countryside, a young dog and a mysterious newcomer.  The project was so successful that Liam Cole’s design, of a boy holding up a puppy at the end of a summer’s day, was chosen by Pont Books editor, Cathryn Gwynn, and author Emma Rea as the final cover.  At the very start of the process, Liam Cole said “I’m totally excited by this work, because illustrating children’s books is what I really want to do in the future.”

Emma Rea said ‘It was wonderful to see such accomplished representations of my story. I liked several of them very much – but I thought Liam’s captured the spirit of the story.’ Emma lived near Machynlleth for five years; her two boys went to Llanidloes Primary School and her daughter was born in Dolgellau. ‘Mid-Wales is an exciting place for young children, with its rivers, hills and woodlands. I think a certain amount of freedom encourages initiative in children and I hoped to portray this in my story. Watching them make bowls from clay found in the river, and creating bike tracks around trees inspired me to write a story in which excitement is found in the real world, in what children can make and do by themselves.’

 

Top Dog , published by Pont Books will be launched at Penrallt Bookshop, Machynlleth at 6pm on the 28 th of May. The book tells the story of Dylan, who has high hopes of building a challenging and exciting bike track around his father’s fields. When a new boy, Floyd, arrives in the village Dylan’s plans start to go awry. As Floyd encroaches further and further into Dylan’s life, Dylan begins to notice the new boy’s strange behaviour and sets out to investigate.

Cathryn Gwynn of Pont Books said “We are very pleased to work in co-operation with Coleg Sir Gâr in offering new and talented students an opportunity to develop creative ideas and skills linked to children’s books. Pont is also delighted to welcome Emma Rea as one of its new summer authors of 2014. Read Top Dog and enjoy!”

Diane Bailey of Penrallt Bookshop said ‘With Pen'rallt Gallery Bookshop's third birthday this month, we begin a 'new year' with a focus on good writing for young readers in both Welsh and English; Emma's book, TOP DOG, published by Pont Books, an imprint of Gomer, set in the locality and packed with excitement, provides a perfect curtain raiser. If we're to enjoy quality book cover art, new artists must be supported and encouraged, so we're thrilled to have the opportunity to display the work of these accomplished student designers.'

 

Top Dog will be available from all good bookshops and online retailers.


For more information, please visit www.gomer.co.uk

 


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Celebrating the golden era of Welsh rugby


By AmeriCymru, 2015-11-26


Still disappointed with the result on Saturday? Not to worry, we have the perfect antidote to cheer you up – in the form of 1970s rugby…

When we talk about rugby in the 1970s, what we actually mean is Welsh rugby in the 1970s.

Published by Gomer Press,  Welsh Rugby in the 1970s by Carolyn Hitt has a fabulous retro annual feel to it and takes us headlong back to a glorious decade of rugby.

The 1970s was a decade of stark contrasts in Wales. While six Triple Crowns and three Grands Slams made for a fantastic decade on the rugby field, it was also a difficult time in Wales economically, politically and culturally.

Carolyn Hitt describes it perfectly, ‘It was the best of times. It was the worst of times… As so many certainties of life in the industrialised valley communities were unravelling, success on the field of play remained as a constant and reassuring thread…’

It was, of course, a decade which made international superstars of Gareth Edwards, Barry John, Gerald Davies, Phil Bennett, Mervyn Davies and JPR. It was the decade which gave us the Pontypool front row – and Max Boyce, of course.

The book is unashamedly a nostalgia-fest and like those much loved annuals of the 1970s, it features all the best bits about Grand Slams and Groggs, Lions and Barbarians, tours and scores and will appeal to those who are able to say ‘I was there’ (and those who wish they were!)

Carolyn Hitt, Western Mail columnist, author and broadcaster, grew up in the 1970s and when she was asked in primary school to ‘draw a picture which means Wales to you’, she drew Mervyn Davies!

 

Welsh Rugby in the 1970s will be launched at the Kuku Bar, Park Plaza, Cardiff on Thursday, 22 nd of October, 7pm.

 

Welsh Rugby in the 1970s is published by Gomer Press and is available from all good bookshops and online retailers

 

For more information, please visit www.gomer.co.uk

 



About Carolyn Hitt

Former Welsh Feature Writer of the Year, Carolyn Hitt has been a regular columnist for the Western Mail since 1992. She has also written and presented television and radio series on the arts, popular culture, consumer issues, history and sport for BBC Radio 4, BBC Wales and ITV Wales.

In 2001 she became the first woman to win the Welsh Sports Journalist of the Year prize and went on to win the award for the whole of the UK in the British regional press awards. In 2011 she became the first woman to win the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame Journalist of the Year Award. In 2012 she published her first book – Wales Play In Red – covering Welsh rugby in the noughties.

As a television and radio producer she has worked with some of Wales’s most well-known personalities and is a co-founder of the award-winning television and radio independent production company Parasol Media Ltd.

In November, Carolyn – who is an Ambassador for Velindre Cancer Centre - will be joining Rhod Gilbert and a 50-strong team on their Patagonia Trek to raise money for this charity.

 

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  Pirate adventure published to celebrate author’s centenary




This month marks the centenary of Wales’ most popular Welsh-language writer for children. T. Llew Jones, born in 1915 near Llandysul in West Wales, wrote swashbuckling adventure books for young readers, many inspired by real life characters such as pirates Black Bart, Captain Henry Morgan and highwayman, Twm Siôn Cati.

To celebrate the centenary of his birth in October 2015, Pont Books, the English language children’s books imprint of T. Llew Jones’ publishers, Gomer Press, are publishing Captain Morgan and the Pirate Treasure , a new translation of the author’s best-selling adventure, Trysor y Môr-ladron

Loved by generations of Welsh children, the novel was inspired by notorious 17th Century buccaneer, Sir Henry Morgan, who made a fortune robbing Spanish galleons in the Caribbean before becoming Governor of Jamaica.

Translated and adapted from the Welsh by writer and broadcaster, Catrin Gerallt, Captain Morgan and the Pirate Treasure is a fast- moving adventure featuring murder, mayhem and fights to the death on the high seas. The novel has become a Welsh language classic, telling the story of young serving boy, Ieuan, who follows local landowner Sir Henry Morgan to the Caribbean. Together with a group of hard-bitten but loyal pirates, they embark on a perilous voyage to recover Captain Morgan’s stolen treasure;

 

He moved the blade closer to Ieuan’s eyes.

‘Are you going to answer me?’ 

Suddenly, the knife was at Ieuan’s chest and he closed his eyes, waiting for the death blow…

 

Despite being popular with generations of Welsh children, few of Jones’ novels have been translated into English. The new translation of Captain Morgan and the Pirate Treasure gives English speakers a chance to enter the captivating world of this master storyteller.

Jones’ novels of piracy, lost treasure and gipsy caravans were huge successes in the 1960s and 70s and are consistently ranked among the most popular Welsh language books for children. His young fans were, and still are, legion. A lifelong teacher and headteacher, he was always delighted to meet his readers and to share his tips for storytelling. He treasured children’s correspondence and towards the end of his life, was particularly amused by a letter from a young reader saying that his novels were far better than those of JK Rowling.

Captain Morgan and the Pirate Treasure is available from all good bookshops and online retailers.

For more information, please visit www.gomer.co.uk  



About T. Llew Jones:

Before becoming a full-time writer, T. Llew Jones (1915-2009) was a primary school teacher in Ceredigion for 35 years, first at Tregroes Primary School and then at Ysgol Coedybryn near Llandysul where he became headmaster. He first came to prominence as a poet, winning the chair at the National Eisteddfod in 1958 and then again in 1959. He continued to write poetry for adults and children but was best known as a writer of adventure and detective stories for children. He published over 50 books in total for adults and children and some were also adapted for television and shown all over the world. In 1991 he was awarded the Mary Vaughan Jones Award, given for outstanding contributions to children's literature in Wales and in March 2005, aged nearly 90, he won the chair in Cymdeithas Ceredigion's annual Eisteddfod.



About Catrin Gerallt:

Author and broadcaster. Catrin was Assistant Editor for Current Affairs at BBC Wales and Executive Producer of "One Show" on BBC 1.  She has published short stories in both Welsh and English, in print and for Radios 3, 4 and BBC World Service.

She lives in Cardiff and now works as a writer and Independent Producer and has produced a series of special features on Welsh writers including an adaptation of Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” starring actor Matthew Rhys and a feature on Dannie Abse’s novel, “Ash on a Young Man’s Sleeve” read by Richard Harrington.

She is currently working on a feature on T. Llew Jones for BBC Radio Wales (to be broadcast Weds, Oct 14th) where Hinterland actress, Hannah Daniel, reads from translations of Jones’ dramatic tales of mystery and adventure.

Catrin is also working on her first novel.


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  Internationally renowned Welsh pony and cob expert launches his long-awaited autobiography




From the Horse’s Mouth: Dr Wynne’s Diaries will be launched at the Welsh Pony and Cob Society Pavilion at the Royal Welsh Show on Tuesday, 21st of July from 2pm.

One of the best-known names and respected figures in the world of Welsh ponies and cobs will launch his autobiography at the Royal Welsh Show this year. Co-owner of Ceulan Stud, breeding and showing these beautiful animals is in Dr Wynne Davies’ blood. In his long-awaited autobiography – From the Horse’s Mouth: Dr Wynne’s Diaries – he offers a fascinating portrait of several generations of his family and their connection to ponies and cobs, as well as his life story, which is inextricably linked to the horses.

From Dr Wynne’s early life at Ceulan Stores, Tal-y-bont, to teaching in the Rhondda and the eventual relocation of Ceulan Stud, we follow every step in the life of a man so committed to his field that he was awarded the MBE in 1995 for long-standing dedication to Welsh ponies and cobs. 

The book includes over a hundred photographs of Dr Wynne’s family, friends, ponies and cobs. Photos include wonderful moments from the family album, handlers, participants and notable successes at various shows, international travel and a rich collection of Ceulan’s stock.

In her foreword to the book, The Hon Dame Mrs Shân Legge-Bourke says, “When I read Dr Wynne’s first book, I realised that there was very little mentioned as to how or why he got so involved with the Welsh Pony. I am delighted that this interesting and amusing diary has come to fruition, which reveals so much of his life, passion, interest and success over the years.”

Ceulan has a proud tradition of breeding show-winning Welsh ponies and cobs and their success has been on an international scale as many have been sold to breeders all over the world. The legacy continues with the next generation as Dr Wynne’s son, David, has joined his father at Ceulan. 

A native of Ceredigion, Dr Wynne Davies has been a member of the Welsh Pony and Cob Society since 1948 and has worked as their publicity officer since 1978. He is a prominent and familiar figure at the Royal Welsh Show, having been the Grand Parade commentator since 1976 and Main Ring commentator since 1980. A prolific and enthusiastic author, he is a recognized authority on Welsh Ponies and Cobs and has written many books on the subject.

From the Horse’s Mouth: Dr Wynne’s Diaries will be available from all good bookshops and online retailers.

For more information, please visit www.gomer.co.uk



About Dr Wynne Davies  

By profession, Dr Wynne Davies was Head of the Chemistry section at the South Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education, which became the University of Wales Institute Cardiff.

He has been a member of the Welsh Pony and Cob Society since 1948, a member of Council, was President of the Society in 1984 and Publicity Officer since 1978. He was elected Honorary Life Vice-President in 1991 for his 37 years of service on Council and received the M.B.E. at Buckingham Palace in October 1995 for his services to Wales and to the Welsh Pony and Cob Society.

Dr Wynne Davies has been Grand Parade commentator at the Royal Welsh Show since 1976 and Main Ring commentator since 1980, he has contributed articles and Show reports to various UK and overseas magazines since 1952 and reported the Royal Welsh Show for Horse and Hound every year between 1954 and 2012. He has written many publications on the Welsh breeds, including The Welsh Cob (J.A. Allen, 1998), The Welsh Mountain Pony (J.A. Allen, 1993), An Introduction to Welsh Ponies and Cobs (Whittet Books, 1993), Welsh Ponies and Cobs (J. A. Allen, 1980) and Welsh Ponies and Cobs: Ceredigion Champions (Gomer, 2010).




Royal Welsh Agricultural Show Ground, Llanelwedd




From the wikipedia:- Royal Welsh Show "The Royal Welsh Show (Welsh: Sioe Frenhinol Cymru) is the biggest agricultural show in Europe. It is organised by the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, which was formed in 1904, and takes place in July of each year, at Llanelwedd, near Builth Wells, in Powys, Mid Wales. The first show was held in Aberystwyth in 1904, and its success led to the development of the permanent showground at Llanelwedd, first used in 1963."



For the first time S4C will stream the Royal Welsh Show in the USA and internationally. Click here or on the image below for more details.



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