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Category: New Titles

unnamed.jpg The powerful rural stories of the semi-legendary people who lived in the ancient village of Tremeirchion and the unorthodox community of Sodom in the Clwydian Range of Denbighshire are told for the first time in  On a Dark Night with Enough Wind  (Y Lolfa). The author, Lilla Pennant – part English, part Welsh – tells her story which is connected to our rural past with its drama, comedies and tragedies.  

“From my early childhood I was fascinated by the self-sufficiency and wisdom of the people who lived ‘on the mountain’ near my childhood home. I wanted to know their story. Over the years that I interviewed people and drafted this book I learned about a whole hidden way of life. I acquired a huge respect for the people of the hilltops, their courage, ingenuity and wit,” said Lilla Pennant.  

The book is a snapshot of a traditional way of living, with the oral histories collected by the author in the 1980s, from the community in which she grew up. At the time, one particular family lived in a farmhouse that showed barely any trace of the twentieth century. Pennant tells the story of the people who lived in the Welsh hills, who were neither farmers, nor employees, but lived by their wits on dark winter nights with a steady wind.  

“I didn’t intend to write this book. I set out to write about the rich history from this part of the Vale of Clwyd, but I am not a historian, and it was not going well. I started writing from the oral history that I had collected, and the book took off! Since writing this book in the 1980s, genetic research has found that descendants of the earliest surviving race in all the British Isles were to be found not in Scotland or Ireland, but in North Wales, or the mountainous world of North-West Wales to be precise,” said Lilla Pennant.  

Reviewers have described  On a Dark Night with Enough Wind  as:  

“Lilla Pennant has created an important piece of work documenting the stories of a life in Tremeirchion and Sodom by seeking out and listening to the oral stories of people living on the mountain and then committing the stories to paper for future generations to read.” Roy Hogben  

“The book had me gripped from beginning to end. It is an interesting mix of a mystery story that turns into a elegy for a lost way of life. Above all I was moved by her obvious love for the people she writes about and her desire to make sure that their stories are not lost.” Jessica Starmer  

Lilla Pennant grew up in Wales. She has worked as a freelance writer in London and New York. She has written two small books on remarkable civilian stories from both world wars. She has also worked in the field of family violence and published professional articles in this field.  Lilla Pennant currently lives in the United States.  

On a Dark Night with Enough Wind  by Lilla Pennant (£7.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

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AmeriCymru is pleased to announce the availability of a small number of first edition hardback copies of 'John Jenkins: The Reluctant Revolutionary?' by Dr Wyn Thomas. The hardback first edition is now out of print. Originally priced at $34.00 this important & historic biography can be yours for only $23.99 including shipping and handling (offer applies in U.S. only). New, unread and unmarked but slightly damaged with bumped corners. 

"The mastermind of a Welsh bombing campaign in the 1960s claims that the terrorist group he led could have killed Prince Charles during his Investiture as Prince of Wales fifty years ago."


unnamed.jpg The mastermind of a Welsh bombing campaign in the 1960s claims that the terrorist group he led could have killed Prince Charles during his Investiture as Prince of Wales fifty years ago. 

John Barnard Jenkins plotted a long and audacious bombing campaign with the Welsh nationalist group  Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru  (the ‘Movement to Defend Wales’ – generally known as MAC) that caused damage to water pipes and government buildings throughout Wales from 1963 to 1969. In a new biography of Jenkins, he claims that they could have killed Prince Charles in 1969. He says in the book, published exactly fifty years since the Investiture, “We could have killed him... For one thing, I was a sergeant in the British Army’s Dental Corps, and was on duty in Caernarfon that day. I could have carried a rifle and I could have shot him there and then if I wanted. Furthermore, if I’d said ‘Right, I want a couple of people   who are prepared to do something and not come back from it’, I know at least two who would have come forward and volunteered. I’m talking about a suicide operation.” 

During the period leading up to the investiture many targets were bombed, with one device killing two of the bombers themselves in Abergele. Another bomb injured a child, though Jenkins insists their intention had been only to attack infrastructure and not to injure anyone. 

The campaign was undertaken in the belief that the political voice of Wales was being ignored. There had been mass protest in Wales earlier in the decade about the plan to evict the Welsh-speaking community of the Tryweryn Valleyso as to turn it into a reservoir to supply water to England. Despite the fact that not one Welsh MP voted in support of the Bill, it was passed in Parliament and the project was allowed to go ahead. In 1966, a huge spoil tip collapsed onto the village primary school in Aberfan, killing 124 people, most of them children. Although the National Coal Board had been warned of the danger beforehand and was found responsible for the disaster by the ensuing inquiry, it was not prosecuted or   fined. John Jenkins says that both incidents influenced MAC’s campaign. 

John Jenkins: The Reluctant Revolutionary?  by historian Dr Wyn Thomas reveals the international interest in the Welsh bombing campaign, with offers of help coming from Libya and Communist East Germany. John Jenkins also discusses how his campaign influenced the IRA, with their cell system based on the one he devised for MAC. 

The author, Wyn Thomas, said: “What John Barnard Jenkins did in spearheading  Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru ’s bombing campaign in Wales and England during the 1960s is unparalleled in Welsh if not British history.”

Since the group’s bombing campaign ended with John Jenkins’ arrest in 1969, questions have been asked about what motivated MAC’s formidable leader and strategist’s course of action. Wyn Thomas’ authorised biography provides the answers, throwing light on this complex and hitherto guarded individual. As the group’s bombing campaign intensified, the authorities were desperate to locate MAC - and its anonymous controller. But unknown to all but the smallest band of associates, John Jenkins was in fact hiding in plain sight, as a serving member of Her Majesty’s Forces. The story of John Jenkins and MAC has been engulfed in a fog of speculation, innuendo and rumour, but for the first time, with the publication of Thomas’ biography, the true extent of the threat posed by the group is shockingly revealed. 

This meticulously researched appraisal has been written on the back of fifteen years of interviews conducted by Thomas with John Jenkins, and – among others – former police officers and members of MAC and their families. The result is monumental: the amount of fresh information surrounding the narrative is astonishing, and each disclosed detail offers a fascinating insight into the shadowy world of MAC and its brilliant, if flawed, organiser. It is not just a study of one man, but also an absorbing social history which considers the political and cultural background to, and impact of, MAC’s campaign. The extraordinary life of John Barnard Jenkins is as complicated as the campaign of militant activism he so effectively led. The title of the biography is a question:  John Jenkins: The Reluctant Revolutionary? This is based on the emotional turmoil that Jenkins apparently experienced when increasingly compelled to orchestrate a campaign of militant activism in the name of Welsh political freedom. Other observers maintain, however, that far from being resistant and ultimately resigned to his role of leading MAC, John Jenkins relished the challenge and the task of providing a worthy opposition to the British state.

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From the Wikipedia - Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru :- "Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru (Welsh: [ˈmɨːdjad amˈðiːfɨn ˈkəmrɨ], Movement for the Defence of Wales), abbreviated as MAC, was a paramilitary Welsh nationalist organisation, which was responsible for a number of bombing incidents between 1963 and 1969. The group's activities primarily targeted infrastructure carrying water to the English city of Liverpool.

MAC was initially set up in response to the flooding of the Afon Tryweryn valley and the flooding of the village of Capel Celyn to provide water for Liverpool. Its founders were Owain Williams, John Albert Jones and Emyr Llewelyn Jones. On 10 February 1963 a transformer at the dam construction site was blown up by three men, of whom one, Emyr Llywelyn Jones, was identified, convicted and sentenced to one year imprisonment. MAC blew up an electricity pylon at Gellilydan on the day of his conviction. This led to the arrest and conviction of Owain Williams and John Albert Jones. READ MORE HERE


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that would be telyn.jpg In the summer of 2012 musician Delyth Jenkins walked the 186 miles of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path over a period of 17 days. With her she carried her Welsh harp and hoped to give a series of impromptu path-side concerts. That Would Be Telyn (Y Lolfa) is an inspiring account of her adventures and the people she met and played for along the way.

Delyth set out to challenge herself both physically and creatively and combined three things that she loved: walking, playing the harp and the Pembrokeshire coast.

“The walk itself was a creative process. I had no idea when I started the walk that I would end up writing a book. I have also composed new music inspired by the walk – one of the pieces, Cofio , is on DnA [her instrumental duo with daughter Angharad]’s album Llinyn Aur ,” said the Delyth, adding:

“People seemed genuinely moved to hear my music. A couple from Spain felt that my music had magically  managed to dispel the mist and bring out the sun. I played ‘Happy Birthday’ to someone who was absolutely delighted to be able to celebrate his birthday with the expected song but in the most unexpected of locations!”.

That Would Be Telyn   is an account of the journey, but also a memoir. As she walked, she thought and remembered and the text is interwoven with autobiographical flashbacks including memories of her childhood, her life with her late former husband, the poet Nigel Jenkins, and her career in the world of theatre and Welsh traditional music. The book also includes a hitherto unpublished poem by Adrian Mitchell.

“What I discovered was that my music was not merely a form of expressing myself, but it also gave me the extraordinary privilege of having an insight into other people’s thoughts and emotions, and brought home to me that music is not just about the performer but just as much about the audience,” said Delyth of her experience.

Since completing the walk, Delyth has given several performances about the journey, including a show in collaboration with the poet Emily Hinshelwood called Salt On Our Boots . The overwhelming response from audiences has been that they would like to read about what was described during performances.

“I realised with some force that I don’t want to let life pass me by, and I am keen to take on more physical and creative challenges whilst there is still time. But probably my main reason for writing the book was that I wanted to write it. I felt very much that I had a story to tell, which I wanted to share,” says Delyth.  

That Would Be Telyn has received high praise:

“A musician’s miniature odyssey, full of epiphanies, gentle meetings and haunting personal reflections.” - Stevie Davies  

“Delyth writes just as she lives and plays music: with honesty, humour and a warm curiosity in other people and in the ancient land she travels through.” - Andrew Green  

“Her descriptions lead the reader to wish they’d been there – had chanced upon this wandering minstrel and heard her play the Telyn while the waves crashed far below and the seagulls swooped overhead.” - Jo Mazelis.

Delyth Jenkins was born in Oswestry. She studied at University College, Swansea and has lived in the city ever since. It was here, in her early twenties, that she started learning Welsh and the harp. She started her career with the Swansea-based folk band Cromlech, and then went on to form the pioneering instrumental trio Aberjaber. She has made many albums both as a member of groups and as a soloist. She has toured extensively in Britain, Europe and America. She has also worked as an actor, composer and musician for various theatre companies, and has collaborated with poets and storytellers. But it is perhaps her collaboration with her daughter Angharad Jenkins that gives Delyth the most pleasure. Delyth and Angharad released their second album Llinyn Arian in 2018.

Delyth Jenkins will be reading extracts from the book and performing pieces inspired by her walk. Tickets are £5 can be ordered from Mission Gallery (01792 652016 | ) and will include a glass of wine or soft drink. For more information about the event, please contact Delyth Jenkins or Gwenllian at Y Lolfa | 01970 832304.

That Would Be Telyn by Delyth Jenkins (£8.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

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teachyourdogwelsh1.jpg Teach Your Dog Welsh may be the cutest book I have ever seen in my life.  Illustrator Anne Cakebread has done a fantastic, small volume of useful and everyday Welsh phrases for dogs, many of which are also useful when speaking to your fellow humans.

I’m supposed to be reviewing it and then giving it back, but I’m afraid that’s not going to happen.  I’m keeping this copy and everyone else will just have to buy their own.

Teach Your Dog Welsh is published by Y Llofa because who else would do this book but “the fun place”? Each of the more than fifty nifty phrases appears on its own page and includes an English translation and phonetic pronunciation guide on the left page, and a demonstrative illustration on the right.  

The illustrations are playfully 60s-ish, on white in black and one other kind of desaturated color per illustration, and very cheerful. Her style reminded me of Canadian illustrator Margaret Bloy Graham’s wonderful books for children.  The translations and their phonetic guides are very easily understood and you can check your pronunciation (to some degree) against google translate’s robot Welsh voice .  

I’ve been trying to learn Welsh well enough to hold a conversation for a while and this book is really useful, especially if I want to tell my boyfriend to sit or stop barking. I also love dogs and I’ve thought for years, why not train my dog in Welsh? People do it in German for German Shepherds and, especially here in the USA, how many people are going to be able to countermand my commands in the proper language?  If they can, I probably want to hang out with them anyway.  Gaabriel Becket

Buy it here! Our price $11.99 - 20% Off (price includes postage & handling)



Here’s a book for Welsh learners with a difference! Teach your Dog W elsh aims to help Welsh learners practise their Welsh with their dog.

Teach your Dog Welsh (Y Lolfa) is full of appealing 1950s-style retro illustrations, with a picture and the expression it illustrates (in both Welsh and English) on every double page, as well help with the Welsh pronunciation. There are over 100 expressions to practise, from Paid â chrafu (‘Don’t scratch’) to Fydda i ddim yn hir (‘I won’t be long’). It’s an excellent and really fun introduction to learning Welsh for all ages – and most of the phrases can also be used in non-dog related situations!

The inspiration for the book came to Anne Cakebread after she re-homed Frieda, a rescue whippet. Anne came to realise that Frieda would only respond to Welsh commands. Slowly, whilst dealing with Frieda, Anne realised that she was overcoming her nerves about speaking Welsh aloud by talking to the dog, and her Welsh was improving as a result – this gave her the idea of creating a book to help other would-be learners whilst also using her skills as an illustrator.

The book has been awarded W H Smith Book of the Month for November 2018 and praised for its beautiful illustrations and quirky concept. Comedian and writer Richard Herring has commented:

“Anne Cakebread not only has the best name in the Universe, she has also come up with a brilliantly fun book which will help humans and canines learn new languages. I am world renowned for doing the best Welsh accent ever, so it’s good to now also be able to speak some actual Welsh too. And more importantly, so can my dog.”

Originally from Cardiff, Anne and her partner moved to a village on the west Wales coast. She wanted to improve her Welsh as it was important to her to become part of the lively Welsh-speaking community in the area.

“I first had to unlearn the Welsh I'd been taught in school as it's nothing like the Welsh people speak here. That's why I've made the expressions in the book colloquial, as a large part of learning is listening to what people say around you.”

Frieda, the Welsh rescue whippet, can understand a few words in English and the other English dogs have learnt a few sentences of Welsh – so the house is fully bilingual!

BBC weatherman and Welsh learner Derek Brockway has praised the book and described it as “a really nice, fun way to start learning Welsh – great book!”

Summoning up the confidence to use a language you’re learning can be daunting at first, and a number of books are available to help with vocabulary and pronunciation, but the lighthearted context and the beautiful illustrations mean that this book is a bit out of the ordinary. Lefi Gruffudd from Y Lolfa says:

“This book is both a practical and a fun way to practise Welsh, and hopefully it will be a useful resource to Welsh learners.”

Carolyn Hodges, Head of English Publishing at Y Lolfa, who developed language-teaching materials for Oxford University Press for many years, said: “Some people have a bad experience of learning Welsh at school and that puts them off trying again as adults. One of the key factors in motivating someone to start learning and using a new language is to make it enjoyable. Teach Your Dog Welsh really brings the language to life and makes it fun – it’s a really positive (re)introduction to this wonderful language.”

There are plans to expand the series to include Teach Your Cat Welsh, as well as translations into other minority languages including Manx, Cornish and Maori.

Anne Cakebread is a freelance illustrator with over 20 years’ experience in publishing and TV, including cover art and illustrations for numerous books, magazines and adverts. She also illustrated sets and props for Boomerang on S4C’s award-winning ABC. She grew up and went to school in Radyr, Cardiff and now lives with her partner, two whippets and lurcher in St Dogmaels, where she runs a B&B.

Teach Your Dog Welsh by Anne Cakebread is available now (£4.99, Y Lolfa).


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image001.jpg This week sees the publication of Absolutely Huge (Y Lolfa), the hilarious memoirs of Gethin 'Huge' Hughes, Welsh rugby's most famous imaginary player.

Affectionately sending up Welsh rugby and the media hype surrounding it, Absolutely Huge spoofs the standard tell-all sports autobiography format, charting the highs and lows of Huge’s remarkable and meteoric rise from youth player to worldwide star, and revealing the truth behind his often controversial career both on and off the pitch.

The book has already received great reviews, with The Guardian describing it as “an Odyssey for our times. Hilarious take on the chemistry between huge talent and the 21st century."

After a stunning international debut and glory for club and country, by the age of 20 Huge is on top of the world. He’s the biggest star in Welsh rugby, he’s dating the nation’s sweetheart Heledd Harte, and after one particularly heroic moment at Twickenham is voted Second Best Welshman Ever.

But the good times don’t last. He causes a diplomatic row on a Lions tour, gets involved with some calamitous product endorsements, falls out with his club, inadvertently incites a pitch invasion, and after one particularly embarrassing incident at the World Cup is voted the Second Worst Welshman Ever.

Things don’t improve after early retirement at 23. A disastrous appearance on reality TV is followed by a brush with death on Mount Snowdon and entanglement in a political scandal at the Welsh Assembly. On the eve of his playing comeback, and for the first time, the full extraordinary story of his time in the spotlight, and the subsequent wilderness years will be told.

Absolutely Huge is a big hit with Wales and British and Irish Lions star Mike Phillips, who loved Huge’s antics: "I couldn't put it down – hilarious from start to finish. If I'd got to play alongside Huge, even I might have learnt a few things!"

Absolutely Huge is the first novel by Luke Upton. Born and bred in Swansea, his first job was selling match-day lottery tickets for Swansea RFC in those last few glory years before the arrival of regional rugby. He now lives in London, and is a business journalist and Welsh rugby satirist. He co-runs @NotGavHenson, the humorous Twitter account with over 42,000 followers including a large portion of the Wales squad.

“I wanted to write an easy and amusing read that appeals to anyone who loves rugby and the larger-than-life characters it creates. At times the media circus around big-name sports stars can be a little ridiculous, and I wanted to have some fun with that,” said Luke.

“Though Huge is obviously an imaginary player, he has a mixture of traits from a range of rugby players who have graced the heights of rugby in the UK over the last 10–15 years; it’s a caricature of the kind of trouble someone in the public eye could get themselves into in these days of omnipresent social media comment. It’s also a parody on the media, and the way that they portray our rugby heroes,” he added.

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By AmeriCymru, 2018-07-27

more_welsh_lives.jpg Meic Stephens’ last book, More Welsh Lives , was published only a few days before the author himself died.

Eirian Jones, English-language editor at Y Lolfa, said:

“It is sad and ironic that Wales’ best known obituarist has himself died but knowing Meic was unwell, we made a special effort to ensure he was happy with the proofs and was able to receive a copy of the book -- his final one of so many.”

More Welsh Lives is his third collection of obituary notices published originally in The Independent and profiles a wide variety of prominent Welshmen and women including politician Rhodri Morgan, poet Nigel Jenkins, broadcaster David Parry-Jones and artists Aneurin Jones and Gwilym Pritchard.

Robat Gruffudd, founder of Y Lolfa and friend of Meic at Bangor University, said:

“Meic himself made at least as distinguished a contribution to Welsh life as any of those he wrote about. It is hard to believe that someone as proactive and productive is with us no more. He was a nationalist in the best sense. Although a Welsh learner, he practically led the first, historic language protest at Trefechan Bridge and then gave his country many decades of generous service as author, editor, poet, arts administrator, academic and of course obituarist.

“Only somebody with an intimate knowledge of Welsh life, and a fluent mastery of English, could have written such readable and sympathetic obituaries. In celebrating Welsh lives, the book also celebrates Wales.”

Y Lolfa has also published Meic Stephens’ autobiography, Cofnodion (in Welsh) (2012) and My Shoulder to the Wheel (in English) (2015).

More Welsh Lives by Meic Stephens is available now (£9.99, Y Lolfa).


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glyndwr_dragon_breathes_fire.jpg The final instalment of a trilogy which tells the tantalising story of the final years of Glyndŵr's rebellion is published this week.

Glyndŵr: Dragon Breathes Fire by the late Moelwyn Jones is an imaginary novel based on the real life battles of Owain Glyndŵr, and follows Glyndŵr: Son of Prophecy published in 2016 and Glyndŵr: To Arms! published in 2017.

Moelwyn Jones started his career as a Welsh and History teacher, and was particularly interested in the life of his hero Owain Glyndŵr, which he researched thoroughly for the trilogy. Sadly, Moelwyn passed away before the publication of the series. His widow Delyth has ensured that the trilogy was published and has kept to the wishes of her late husband.

The third instalment is published in time for the National Eisteddfod of Wales, which is in Cardiff this year.

“It would have meant a lot to Moelwyn that the final book is out for the Eisteddfod – I’m very pleased,” said Delyth.

Glyndŵr: Dragon Breathes Fire sees Wales united under one flag - with a Senedd in Machynlleth and the long-held dream of a nation almost a reality. Strengthened by the support of the French king and an alliance with the English forces of Henry Hotspur (Sir Henry Percy), Owain Glyndŵr can legitimately claim the title of Prince of Wales. However, fate intervenes and his rebellion which sees the prophecy of a saviour who would one day free Wales is fulfilled, albeit all too briefly.

Glyndŵr: Son of Prophecy was selected as Book of the Month by the Welsh Books Council in November 2016 and both novels have received high praise and acclaim for their portrayal of the life of Wales ' revolutionary hero Owain Glyndŵr.

Author Moelwyn Jones was raised in Bancffosfelen, Carmarthenshire, and had a career as a Welsh and History teacher in Cardiff before joining the BBC as an Information Officer. He was then appointed Head of Public Relations for Wales and the Marches Postal Board and following his retirement worked in the Welsh Assembly.

Glyndŵr: Dragon Breathes Fire by Moelwyn Jones (£8.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

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pilgrimage_wales.jpg One 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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philip_jones_griffiths.jpg A 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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croeso_ir_clwb.jpg One Mum has sought to bridge the gap in the Welsh books that are available to new parents which will illustrate the reality of bringing up a child in Wales with a Welsh perspective by publishing a new book that will be a fun and comprehensive guide for new parents.

Heulwen Davies of Machynlleth publishes Mam – Croeso i’r Clwb (Mam – Welcome to the Club) this week – a book full of facts for new mothers recording the experiences of parents, families, doctors and midwives, leading the mother through the pregnancy up to the end of the child’s first year. The volume will include an open and light discussion about the changes and challenges facing new parents whilst offering advice along the way. It will be launched in time for Mothers Day on 11 March 2018.

‘As a first time mother, it became clear that there were plenty of English books and websites available to get advice and share experiences, but there was no Welsh language or Welsh digital platform,’ explained Heulwen, ‘Although the English resources were of help, I was not able to identify with these mothers, as the majority lived in a city, were rich and posh! Their life was very different from my life - a pregnant mother in rural Wales. Not better, just different.’

‘I was keen to change the situation, to help future parents, and ensure that the experiences of parents are shared in Welsh and bilingually, to portray the life of a parent in Wales today.’ says Heulwen, ‘I started blogging my experience as a new mother and had a very good response’.

Eager to encourage more parents to discuss and support each other, Heulwen decided to write her own book and in the process she set up the popular bilingual blog, Mam Cymru.

The incentive to write the book finally came from author Caryl Lewis when Heulwen attended a one-day writing course in Tŷ Newydd, which was led by Caryl.

‘At the end of the course, Caryl's words were, ‘If you don’t take this idea to a publisher by Monday, I’m going to take it for you!’ said Heulwen.

The volume's drawings were produced by cartoonist Huw Aaron to ‘add to the humor of the book’. Huw was glad of the opportunity and went through a similar experience himself during the time spent illustrating the book’s pictures when he became a father for the second time.

Although extensive parts of the volume are based on Heulwen’s experiences, there are contributions from over fifty parents, midwives and experts from all over Wales following an online questionnaire created by Heulwen in order to gather other parents’ experiences in Wales.

‘I'm not an expert, I’m a mother, but I’m absolutely honest and eager to help and make prospective parents and parents alike smile and laugh as they realise that everything that they are going through is normal!’ said Heulwen.

‘It's impossible to explain what its like to be a mother. You’ve got to experience it for yourself as you go on this exciting, emotional, happy and challenging journey.’ she said.

‘If you take one thing from this book on your journey, I’d like you to remember the importance of Prosecco – no, I’m joking! Its the importance of time!’ added Heulwen, ‘Make the best of your time, make the most of the time together and do what’s right for you. Mum knows best!’

Heulwen Davies lives in the Dyfi Valley with Gareth and Elsi Dyfi. She travelled Wales and the world as a producer and director of television and radio, before returning to Machynlleth and begun a career as a manager and marketing consultant and events.

The book will be launched in Caffi Alys, Machynlleth at 7pm on Friday 2 March and then in Medina in Aberystwyth at 6.30pm on Monday 5 March, both in th company of Heulwen Davies and Caryl Lewis.

Mam – Croeso i’r Clwb! by Heulwen Davies (£6.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

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