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Category: Owain Glyndwr

'Glyndwr's Dream' by John Good Part 1

By AmeriCymru, 2015-12-03



Part 1 of an exclusive story for AmeriCymru for Glyndwr Day (September 16th). 'Glyndwr's Dream' by   John Good  - "It was one of those mysterious, autumn evenings that could have been painted in pastel tones of light and shade – of almost-color – by J. M. W. Turner....."

Sycharth Castle
The site of Owain Glyndwr's Castle at Sycharth

Owain Glyndwr

Glyndwr's Dream

It was one of those mysterious, autumn evenings that could have been painted in pastel tones of light and shade – of almost-color – by J. M. Turner, or sketched in liquid pentatonics and waterlogged whole-tones by Claude Debussy; or even, for those with intrigue running in their veins, it could have been the perfect setting for a masterful Conan Doyle sleight of hand. All along the southern border of England and Wales, especially in the hill folds, river runs and water meadows, the residue of unseasonably late October warmth had condensed into a delight of veils, chiffon scarves and coverlets of pure light-grey wool; redolent with the smell of nettles, docks, wet sycamore leaves and vegetation. The ancient oaks and beeches struggled for definition, barely keeping heads out of the haze, while the once-vibrant emerald of the highest hills offered an archipelago of solace for the weak platinum sun, gratefully setting in a sea of mist and taking all the lingering greens, browns and blues with it. Left behind was a grayscale stream and treescape with the pencil-traced outline of a substantial, castellated manor-house etched into the edge of the quiescent, always sentient forest.

There had been no sound whatsoever ever since a solitary crow had given up its unashamed, tuneless mockery; his final thoughts on the day fade-echoing into evening. There had been no movement to mention either, save the almost swirl of mist and the occasional bovine coming briefly into sleepy focus, before browsing back into the ambient haze. In the final glimmerings of day, you wouldn’t have been sure if the eventide might have been playing tricks on your senses. The locals would have said it was the Tylwth Teg , the Welsh elves again, but the hint of a frail, grey, hooded figure seemed to flow as lightly as a light, late, evening breeze, ghosting in, out and under the canopy of leaves and encroaching undergrowth along the forest edge. Then the wraith would dissolve into nothingness, only to reassemble, all the while sidling obliquely for the manor. But, maybe not, the whole vision–trees, mist, house et al–quickly and silently faded to moonless indigo, then black. Only a halo of pale lantern light, next to the ivy-shadowed door, suggested any kind of responsive life at all.

John and Alys were sitting near a cheerful, reassuring fire that scattered red, yellow and gold fingers of light onto their concerned faces; the lively, crackling wood and flickering flames in deep contrast to their studied silence. Even in these strained circumstances–keeping her lineage secret, and his double life and true allegiance concealed–there was a medieval elegance and poise about the pair; a sense of appropriate and comfortable nobility. Looking every part of a life-long courtier and storied knight of the realm, John got up and, as he distractedly tended the fire, put voice to his concerns.

“I wonder if Maredudd has seen him. They were inseparable, until those damnable cannons from Bristol and Pontifract tipped the balance and Aberystwyth and Harlech fell to King Henry. After that, I think they thought to make capture more difficult, with the two of them always agitating, slipping away into the blaenau , the uplands, but always in different parts of the old country. They would surely have traveled the old Welsh ridge-paths, still largely a mystery and feared by the English pursuit.” Alys brushed her long, blue-black hair from her face and sat back in her sturdy high-backed chair. “They may have decided it would be better not to know where the other was. The Tower of London has jolted more than one Welsh rebel’s memory, even of a fearless father and faithful son, but if you don’t know, you can’t betray, no matter the jailor’s malice. Knowledge is the best of weapons , gorau arf, dysg, but as my father was fond of saying, arf doeth yw pwyth, discretion is the weapon of the wise.”

For what seemed like an age, the room fell back into a profound, oak-paneled silence, only to be revived by a light knock at the door. “Excuse me Sir John, Lady Alys,” said the liveried servant Rhodri, “there’s a greyfrair at the front door asking for a little food and lodging for the night. Shall I show him into the kitchen?” “What does he look like? How does he strike you?” said Alys with a barely detectable lift in her voice. “Taller… perhaps older, though it’s hard to say my Lady. His hood is shadowing most of his face, though his voice seems honest enough.” Rhodri, having served and protected Alys since a child, would have immediately noticed such a thing by instinct and the long experience gained from the imminent and ever present menace of a dozen years or more of bitter border warfare. Strangers could be dangerous. “Then Rhodri, if you sense him to be of a kindly nature, show him in here,” said Sir John, “he can have the room in the old square tower tonight. The Friars Minor do good work in the borderlands and their conversation always lightens up a gloomy night. Show him in.” Rhodri, with the discretion that only comes from very long years of service, noiselessly disappeared from the room. Alys and John looked intensely into each other’s eyes. Much was said without a word being exchanged.

The Franciscan entered the room in front of Rhodri and, as was customary, gave the Mendicant greeting, “ Pax et bonum be on this house and family.” It took every fiber of Alys’ being to remain outwardly calm and keep her explosive excitement hidden from Rhodri. Mercifully John dismissed the servant summarily, asking for the door to be closed as he went. As soon as the old retainer’s footsteps had echoed away down the hollow stone hallway, Alys rushed over, reached up and threw her arms around the hooded man’s neck, quietly crying out “ Diolch Duw . Tad ! Thank God. Father!” John, wearing a warm, broad smile, chipped in with “Welcome to our home Prince Owain.”

Raising his strong, weathered hands deliberately and pulling his hood back slowly, in the warm fire glow, before their very eyes, there stood a smiling Owain Glyndwr–or to be precise– Owain ap Gruffydd Fychan ap Madog , by the grace of God, Trwy Ras Duw , Prince of Wales. You could clearly hear Alys gasp before she mastered her disbelief, though tears of love fell freely. The old warrior’s penetrating blue-green eyes still managed a mischievous smile. The hair had thinned and turned from midnight black to moonlight silver; the face, though deeply furrowed, still fascinated, compelled attention and, even with sandaled feet beneath the home-spun, rope-tied robes of a lowly friar, the upright body clearly spoke of bridled strength. The years of hard-won battlefield victories, crushing defeats, grief and loss of home, family, close friends and, more recently, surviving biblically cold Welsh winters in open country and in cheerless mountain caves and crags, all this had very visibly taken their relentless and inevitable toll. Prince Owain would never be broken, his pride, naturally cheerful spirit and birthright would not assent to that, but Alys and John could see that the shadow of time was closing in on this aging hero, and ‘though others would still see the great man who had inspired a small and obedient outback of a country to stand up against a medieval world power, they sensed immediately that his legendary strength could not fight off many more February snows. All of this keen perception took place in the several seconds it took for everyone to feast their eyes on each other and re-run a lifetime’s memories. Yes, it really was him!

Fueled by a hearty supper, robust red wine from the continent and good cheer, in the wood-fire-and-wax scented warmth of the next several hours, the conversation, led largely by Alys, attempted to fill in the missing chapters, the hynt a helynt , comings and goings of several rumor-laden years. At the outset, Owain insisted that there should be no talk of lost family and friends. The unbearable fate of brother, wife, children and grandchildren was well known to all present and beyond any useful resurrection. The collateral costs of failed insurrection were a darkly accepted and unspoken reality of fifteenth century warfare and life; even The Black Death had a kind of inevitable medieval logic to its heartlessness. Eventually the talk turned to the rumored pardon.

“Prince Owain, I heard at Hereford this last St. Mathew’s Day that the Plantagenet King was willing to offer you a pardon, if you would submit to him.” Owain, while remaining seated seemed to visibly grow in stature, and although the far side of sixty–an old man in such times–his warrior-like demeanor and penetrating gaze would have alarmed a young Llewellyn the Great, or even an Arthur. He started speaking quietly and deliberately, measuring his response, “Although I do not trust the House of Lancaster–their clemency has a dark red history–I have learnt to respect Henry of Monmouth as a soldier, and of late, I have felt myself mewn gwth o oedran , in the thrust of age.” His face softened into an almost whimsical smile. “I admit my dear Lord and cherished daughter, to be tiring in my long struggle to deny a full life its rightful due, and I yearn for a short rest in a comfortable goose feather bed at night, with a roof to hide and keep the stars from causing me to dream of what might have so easily been. A week ago, at the friars’ house in Cardiff, I heard the same thing about Henry’s offer. That night in my cell, I dreamt of the house at Sycharth, with harps, dancers, pipes and old Iolo Goch the bard, entertaining us all after supper with his satires and odes, elegies and englynion . We drank our Shrewsbury beer, laughed at our enemies, imagined and planned our victories to come, and took to our lofts to sleep the sleep of the hopeful!”

It was good to see her father in good spirits again. Very softly Alys said, “Why don’t you take… or at least consider his offer father? You have fought the good fight for more than ten years; have given everything, but your life and honour. Wales could not ask for any more of a mortal man. There is a comfortable room and loving family for you here. Please, please think it over.” “Yes Prince Owain, Alys is right. Henry the Fifth is not as his father was. I know he knows that Alys is your daughter but, because of my past loyalty and service, and for that matter my continued usefulness in his court and parliaments, he has left us alone to live our lives. Submission would mean the end of the war of independence and the hope of freedom for Wales, but Maredudd your son would be protected by the same royal seal, and you both could live a life of ease on my estates.” “Yes father, the ox men and drovers–by all the signs they read in the sky, land and lakes–say this winter will be even worse than the last, with heavy snows early and late.”

“I will sleep on it and make my decision in the morning.” The quiet authority in Owain’s voice clearly indicated that the topic of conversation was over for the night. Then, breaking into an easier tone, “Now, let’s talk of happier things. Alys, fetch your harp and sing your poor old father a song.” Everyone in the room laughed as the celebratory mood returned.

“Strangely enough, last night I dreamed a curious song. It came to me all at once, verse, cadence and melody. I’m not sure I understand it ‘though. It’s a little melancholy, but pretty.” With that, she took the lap harp from the corner alcove, brushed her long hair back over her shoulder, sat motionless and in a silent muse for a few seconds, then laid her elegant hands gently on the strings. Coaxing the instrument into a lyrical life of gentle cascades and slow flowing pools, then with the rhythmic flow steadied, pure and liquid, she began to sing:

Mi a glywais fod yr 'hedydd                I heard that the skylark

Wedi marw ar y mynydd                    Had died up on the mountain

Pe gwyddwn i mai gwir y geirie          If I knew these words were true

Awn a gyrr o wyr ac arfe                   I'd take a troop of men and weapons

I gyrchu corff yr 'hedydd adre.           To bring the skylark's body home.

Sir John noticed the moisture gathering around the old soldier’s eyes and diverted Alys’ attention away, saying, “That was quite beautiful. Your voice and sensitive playing match the sentiment of the song perfectly. How do you Welsh say it, Hyfryd ? Lovely!” Owain by now had regained his composure and said, “I know what the song is about but, if you don’t mind, that can wait until the morning. I’ve walked from the other side of Abergavenny today, across fields and streams, as I could not take the ease of the Hereford drovers’ road. The king’s eyes and ears are at every crossroad, market and tavern. So forgive me, if you don’t mind I would like to go to my rest now.” “Of course, Prince Owain. I’ll show you to your room in the old tower. There’s a fire lit and you’ll rest well there. By the bye, there’s a back staircase that leads to the forest behind the house, just in case Henry’s men come midnight visiting. They’ve surprised us before. Let me lead the way.”

Glyndwr's Dream Part 2 here...


 Glyndŵr's Dream

It was one of those mysterious, autumn evenings that could have been painted in pastel tones of light and shade – of almost-color – by J. M. W. Turner, or sketched in liquid pentatonics and waterlogged whole-tones by Claude Debussy; or even, for those with intrigue running in their veins, it could have been the perfect setting for a masterful Conan Doyle sleight of hand.  All along the southern border of England and Wales, especially in the hill folds, river runs and water meadows, the residue of unseasonably late October warmth had condensed into a delight of veils, chiffon scarves and coverlets of pure light-grey wool; redolent with the smell of nettles, docks, wet sycamore leaves and vegetation . The ancient oaks and beeches struggled for definition, barely keeping heads above hazy waves, while the once-vibrant emerald of the highest hills offered an archipelago of solace for the weak platinum sun, gratefully setting in a sea of mist and taking all the lingering greens, browns and blues with it. Left behind was a grayscale stream and treescape with the pencil-traced outline of a substantial, castellated manner–house etched into the edge of the quiescent, always sentient forest.

There had been no sound whatsoever ever since a solitary crow had given up its unashamed, tuneless mockery; his final thoughts on the day fade-echoing into evening.  There had been no movement to mention either, save the almost swirl of mist and the occasional bovine coming briefly into sleepy focus before browsing back into the ambient haze. With the final glimmerings of day, you wouldn’t have been sure, and the eventide might have been playing tricks on your senses–the locals would have said it was the Tylwth Teg , the Welsh elves again–but the hint of a frail, grey, hooded figure seemed to flow as lightly as a light, late, evening breeze, ghosting in, out and under the canopy of leaves and encroaching undergrowth along the forest edge. Then the wraith would dissolve into nothingness, only to reassemble, all the while sidling obliquely for the manner. But … maybe not, the whole vision–trees, mist, house et al–quickly and silently faded to moonless indigo then black; only a halo of pale lantern light next to the ivy-shadowed door suggested any kind of responsive life at all.

John and Alys were sitting near a cheerful, reassuring fire that scattered red, yellow and gold fingers of light onto their concerned faces; the lively, crackling wood and flickering flame in deep contrast to their studied silence ... be continued. Check back on Glyndwr Day (September 16th) for the full story.

What Happened To Owain Glyndwr?

By AmeriCymru, 2015-09-16

An interview with Gruffydd Aled Williams, author of  Dyddiau Olaf Owain Glyndŵr

AmeriCymru:   Was there a special reason for you to write this book?

Gruffydd:   I was brought up in Glyndyfrdwy in the old county of Merioneth, the area which gave Owain Glyndŵr his name and where he was proclaimed Prince of Wales in September 1400.  During my academic career lecturing in Welsh in universities—at Dublin, Bangor, and Aberystwyth—I specialized in the medieval Welsh poetry of the gentry ( c. 1350-1600) and became interested in the poetry addressed to Owain Glyndŵr, publishing a number of items relating to it.  I delivered the British Academy’s John Rhŷs Memorial Lecture on the Glyndŵr poetry in 2010, and in 2013 I contributed two chapters to Owain Glyndŵr:  A Casebook , a volume edited by two American scholars, Michael Livingston and John K. Bollard.   Being conscious that 2015 marked the sexcentenary of the death of Owain Glyndŵr—there is very good evidence, on which I elaborate in the book, that he died on 21 September 1415—I was keen to ensure that the event be commemorated.  Although some of the relevant material was already familiar to me, I engaged in new research on certain aspects during the two years when the volume was in preparation.  Much of the research was concentrated on unpublished manuscripts and documentary sources, and I also did some field-work in Herefordshire, an area highly relevant to the topic in question. 

AmeriCymru:  Why, I wonder, did Owain disappear without a trace?

Gruffydd:  This was a matter of necessity.  After Harlech castle fell to the English in 1409 and as support for the revolt waned his situation was desperate.  He was regarded by the English authorities as a traitor and essentially he was a fugitive with a price on his head.  When Henry IV declared a general pardon for all his enemies in 1411 only two were excepted, Owain and Thomas Trumpington, a pretender who claimed that he was the deposed Richard II.  In the words of the chronicler Adam of Usk Owain had to hide’ from the face of the king and the kingdom’. 

AmeriCymru:  Where did Owain Glyndŵr spend his very last days?

Gruffydd:  That is the big question!  We simply do not know for certain.  But it is striking that many of the traditions about his last days are centred on Herefordshire where two of his daughters, Alice and Jonet, were married to local gentry, Sir John Skydmore (Scudamore) and Sir Richard Monington.  In ‘The History of Owen Glendower’, a seventeenth-century work attributed to the antiquary Robert Vaughan of Hengwrt and his friend Dr Thomas Ellis, it is claimed that ‘some say he dyed at his daughter Scudamores, others, at his daughter Moningtons house.  they had both harboured him in his low, forlorne condition.’  But it is worth remembering too that he had an illegitimate daughter called Gwenllian who lived in St Harmon in latter-day Radnorshire.  In the book I refer to bardic evidence which obliquely locates Owain’s burial in Maelienydd (north Radnorshire).  But, of course, he may have found refuge in more than one place and also with supporters who were not his kindred.  As he had to keep out of the sight of the authorities his movements had to be kept secret and no definite evidence about them is available.

AmeriCymru:  What did the Welsh think about Owain straight after the revolt?

Gruffydd:  This is a question which defies a definite answer.  There must have been much popular sympathy for him, for during his years as a fugitive he was not betrayed.  But like every political figure he would inevitably have divided opinion. A sizeable number of his former supporters in south Wales enlisted in Henry V’s army which embarked on the Agincourt campaign in 1415, but some of them, it is certain, were motivated by the desire to be pardoned for their participation in the revolt.  Later on in the fifteenth century there are positive references to Owain in the canu darogan , poems of political prophecy, where he is depicted as a potent military leader of the Welsh who would lead them to victory over the English.  But there may also have been less positive attitudes towards him, such as those which sometimes surfaced in Tudor Wales.

AmeriCymru: Has any new evidence surfaced recently?

Gruffydd:  Yes, I refer to several pieces of new evidence in my book.  The most important piece of new evidence is a note which I found in one of the manuscripts of Robert Vaughan of Hengwrt.  Vaughan records a piece of information he obtained from Edmwnd Prys (1543/4-1623), archdeacon of Merioneth and author of the famous Welsh Metrical Psalms, namely that Glyndŵr had been buried at ‘Cappel Kimbell’ in Herefordshire.  ‘Cappel Kimbell’ was the church of Kimbolton, a tiny village some three miles from Leominster, formerly a chapelry of Leominster Priory.  Edmwnd Prys was Rector of Ludlow, less than 10 miles from Kimbolton, during the 1570s, and he may well have heard some local tradition about Glyndŵr’s burial there.  It is striking that that the homes of two of Glyndŵr’s daughters, Alice Skydmore and Jonet Monington, were very near (less than 10 miles) from Kimbolton.  (Kentchurch Court in southern Herefordshire is usually thought of as the home of Alice and Sir John Skydmore, but I have found documentary evidence which shows that they had another home at La Verne near Bodenham in which they lived during the years of the revolt.)

Cappel Kimbell - Kimbolton Church , Herefordshire. The final resting place of Owain Glyndwr?

AmeriCymru: Was the revolt good or bad for Wales?

Gruffydd:  This is a redundant question, as the revolt did take place!  It is true that the revolt would have caused suffering to many Welsh people and much economic destruction.  But it was perhaps inevitable that the revolt would have happened as a reaction to the English conquest of 1282 and the civil disabilities and the psychological subjection that the Welsh suffered in its wake.  There are sure signs that there were tensions in Welsh society during the fourteenth century which needed to be resolved.  In the final analysis it is hardly beneficial—in any period—for a nation to be ruled by another nation!

AmeriCymru:  Why is Owain Glyndŵr so important to the Welsh today?

Gruffydd:  It was he who led the only significant national Welsh revolt after the English conquest.

Apart from being a brave and able military leader he had a vision for Wales as an independent state with its own institutions, its Parliament, its Church, and its universities.  The memory of Owain has maintained Welsh national consciousness, thereby sustaining the continued existence of Wales as a meaningful entity.  Owain continues to inspire and to sustain Welsh dreams!

AmeriCymru:  Any messages for the members of AmeriCYmru?

Gruffydd:  As one who can claim to be half-American—my mother was a Welshwoman who was born in Russell Gulch in Gilpin County, Colorado, where my grandfather worked in a gold mine—it is delightful to be invited to contribute to the AmeriCymru website.  I wish your venture every success.


AmeriCymru: Oedd yna reswm arbennig ichi ysgrifennu’r llyfr hwn?

Gruffydd:  Cefais fy magu yng Nglyndyfrdwy yn yr hen Sir Feirionnydd, yr ardal a roddodd ei enw i Owain Glyndŵr a lle cyhoeddwyd ef yn Dywysog Cymru ym Medi 1400.  Yn ystod fy ngyrfa academaidd yn darlithio yn y Gymraeg mewn prifysgolion—yn Nulyn, Bangor, ac Aberystwyth—arbenigais ar ganu beirdd yr uchelwyr ( c . 1350-1600) ac ymddiddorais yn y farddoniaeth a ganwyd i Owain Glyndŵr a chyhoeddi cryn dipyn arno.  Traddodais Ddarlith Goffa Syr John Rhŷs yr Academi Brydeinig yn 2010 ar y farddoniaeth i Lyndŵr, ac yn 2013 cyfrenais ddwy bennod i’r gyfrol Owain Glyndŵr:  A Casebook a olygwyd gan ddau ysgolhaig Americanaidd, Michael Livingston a John K. Bollard.  Gan fy mod yn ymwybodol fod 2015 yn chwechanmlwyddiant marw Owain Glyndŵr—mae tystiolaeth dda iawn iddo farw ar 21 Medi 1415, tystiolaeth yr wyf yn ymhelaethu arni yn y gyfrol—yr oeddwn yn awyddus i’r achlysur gael ei nodi.  Er bod peth o’r deunydd perthnasol yn hysbys imi eisoes, fe euthum ati i ymchwilio rhai pethau o’r newydd yn ystod y ddwy flynedd pan fûm yn paratoi’r gyfrol. Canolbwyntiais lawer o’r ymchwil ar lawysgrifau a dogfennau heb eu cyhoeddi, a gwneuthum hefyd beth ymchwil yn y maes, yn enwedig yn Swydd Henffordd, ardal berthnasol iawn i bwnc y llyfr.

AmeriCymru: Pam, tybed, y diflannodd Owain heb adael unrhyw ôl?

Gruffydd:  Mater o reidrwydd oedd hyn.  Ar ôl cwymp castell Harlech i’r Saeson yn 1409 ac i’r gefnogaeth i’r gwrthryfel edwino yr oedd ei sefyllfa yn bur enbyd.  Fe’i hystyrid gan yr awdurdodau Seisnig fel un a oedd yn euog o deyrnfradwriaeth ac yn ei hanfod yr oedd yn ffoadur a phris ar ei ben.  Pan gyhoeddodd Harri IV bardwn cyffredinol i’w holl elynion yn 1411 dim ond Owain a Thomas Trumpington—ymhonnwr a hawliai mai ef oedd Rhisiart II—a eithriwyd.  Yng ngeiriau’r croniclydd Adda o Frynbuga bu’n rhaid i Owain guddio ‘rhag wyneb y brenin a’r deyrnas’.

AmeriCymru: Ymhle y treuliodd Owain Glyndŵr ei ddyddiau olaf?

Gruffydd:  Dyma’r cwestiwn mawr!  Yn syml, ni wyddom i sicrwydd.  Ond mae’n drawiadol fod llawer o’r traddodiadau ynghylch ei ddiwedd wedi eu canoli ar Swydd Henffordd, lle’r oedd dwy o’i ferched, Alys a Sioned, wedi priodi uchelwyr lleol, Syr John Skydmore (Scudamore) a Syr Richard Monington.  Yn yr ‘History of Owen Glendower’, gwaith a luniwyd yn yr ail ganrif ar bymtheg ac a briodolir i Robert Vaughan o’r Hengwrt, yr hynafiaethydd enwog a’i gyfaill Dr Thomas Ellis, fe ddywedir ‘some say he dyed at his daughter Scudamores, others, at his daughter Moningtons house.  they had both harboured him in his low, forlorne condition.’ Ond mae’n werth cofio hefyd am ei ferch arall—merch anghyfreithlon—o’r enw Gwenllian a oedd yn byw yn Saint Harmon yn yr hyn a ddaeth wedyn yn Sir Faesyfed.  Yn y llyfr yr wyf yn cyfeirio at dystiolaeth farddol sydd fel pe bai’n awgrymu i Owain gael ei gladdu ym Maelienydd (gogledd Sir Faesyfed).  Fe allai, wrth gwrs, fod wedi llochesu mewn mwy nag un lle a chyda chefnogwyr nad oeddynt yn geraint iddo.  Gan fod yn rhaid iddo gadw o olwg yr awdurdodau yr oedd ei symudiadau yn gyfrinach ac nid oes unrhyw dystiolaeth bendant ar gael.

AmeriCymru:  Beth feddyliai’r Cymry am Owain yn syth ar ôl y gwrthryfel?

Gruffydd:  Mae hwn yn gwestiwn amhosib ei ateb yn bendant.  Rhaid bod cryn gydymdeimlad poblogaidd ag ef, oherwydd ni chafodd ei fradychu yn ystod ei gyfnod ar ffo.  Ond fel pob ffigur gwleidyddol diau fod mwy nag un farn yn ei gylch.  Fe ymunodd cryn nifer o rai o’i hen gefnogwyr yn ne Cymru â byddin y brenin Harri V yng nghyrch Agincourt yn 1415, ond cymhellion rhai ohonynt, yn sicr, fyddai derbyn pardynau am eu rhan yn y gwrthryfel.  Yn ddiweddarach yn y bymthegfed ganrif mae cyfeiriadau clodforus at Owain yn y canu darogan, lle darlunnir ef fel arweinydd milwrol ar y Cymry a fyddai’n eu harwain i fuddugoliaeth ar y Saeson. Mewn rhannau o’r gymdeithas Gymreig diau fod cof cynnes a chadarnhaol amdano fel y Cymro a arweiniodd ei genedl mewn gwrthryfel cenedlaethol yn erbyn y Saeson.  Ond gall fod agwedd eraill yn llai cefnogol, fel y dengys y math o sylwadau negyddol amdano sy’n brigo i’r wyneb weithiau yng Nghymru’r unfed ganrif ar bymtheg.

AmeriCymru:  A oes unrhyw dystiolaeth newydd wedi codi i’r wyneb yn ddiweddar?

Gruffydd:  Oes, ac yr wyf yn cyfeirio at sawl peth newydd yn fy llyfr.  Y darn pwysicaf o dystiolaeth newydd yw’r nodyn a ganfûm yn un o lawysgrifau Robert Vaughan o’r Hengwrt.  Cofnoda Vaughan ddarn o wybodaeth a gafodd gan Edmwnd Prys (1543/4-1623), archddiacon Meirionnydd ac awdur y ‘Salmau Cân’ enwog, sef bod Glyndŵr wedi ei gladdu yn ‘Cappel Kimbell’ yn Swydd Henffordd.  ‘Cappel Kimbell’ oedd eglwys Kimbolton, pentref bychan rhyw dair milltir o Lanllieni (Leominster), eglwys a oedd yn ‘gapel’ i Briordy Llanllieni.  Fe fu Edmwnd Prys yn Rheithor Llwydlo, llai na 10 milltir o Kimbolton, yn y 1570au, ac efallai iddo glywed rhyw draddodiad lleol an gladdu Glyndŵr yno.  Mae’n drawiadol fod cartrefi dwy o’i ferched, Alys Skydmore a Sioned Monington, yn agos iawn (llai na 10 milltir) o Kimbolton.  (Arferir meddwl am Gwrt Llan-gain (Kentchurch Court) yn ne Swydd Henffordd fel cartref Alys a Syr John Skydmore, ond cefais hyd i dystiolaeth ddogfennol a ddangosai fod ganddynt gartref arall mewn lle o’r enw La Verne ger Bodenham y buont yn byw ynddo yn ystod cyfnod y gwrthryfel.) 

AmeriCymru:  A oedd y gwrthryfel yn beth da neu’n beth drwg i Gymru?

Gruffydd:  Mae hwn yn gwestiwn ofer, gan fod y gwrthryfel wedi digwydd!  Mae’n wir fod y gwrthryfel wedi achosi ddioddefaint i lawer o Gymry a llawer o ddinistr economaidd.  Ond efallai ei bod yn anorfod y byddai’r gwrthryfel wedi digwydd fel adwaith i’r goncwest Seisnig yn 1282 a’r anfanteision sifil a’r darostyngiad seicolegol a ddioddefodd y Cymry yn sgil hynny.  Mae arwyddion sicr fod tyndra yn y gymdeithas Gymreig yn ystod y bedwaredd ganrif ar ddeg a bod angen rhoi sylw iddo.  Yn y pen draw, prin ei bod yn beth da—mewn unrhyw gyfnod—i genedl gael ei llywodraethu gan genedl arall!

AmeriCymru: Pam yw Owain mor bwysig i’r Cymry heddiw?

Gruffydd:  Ef a arweiniodd yr unig wrthryfel cenedlaethol Cymreig arwyddocaol ar ôl y goncwest Seisnig.  Ar wahân i fod yn arweinydd milwrol dewr a galluog yr oedd ganddo weledigaeth o Gymru fel gwladwriaeth annibynnol a chanddi ei sefydliadau ei hun, ei Senedd, ei Heglwys, a’i phrifysgolion.  Mae’r cof amdano wedi bod yn hwb i’r ymwybyddiaeth genedlaethol Gymreig ac, yn sgil hynny, yn ateg i barhâd cenedl y Cymry fel endid ystyrlon.  Mae Owain yn dal i ysbrydoli ac i gynnal breuddwydion y Cymry!

AmeriCymru:  Unrhyw negeseuon i aelodau AmeriCymru?

Gruffydd:  Fel un a all hawlio fy mod yn hanner Americanwr fy hunan—yr oedd fy mam yn Gymraes a aned yn Russell Gulch yn Gilpin County, Colorado, lle bu fy nhaid yn gweithio mewn pwll aur—mae’n braf iawn cael cyfrannu i wefan AmeriCymru.  Pob llwyddiant i’r fenter.

'Glyndwr's Dream' by John Good Part 2

By AmeriCymru, 2015-09-15



Part 2 of an exclusive story for AmeriCymru for Glyndwr Day (September 16th). 'Glyndwr's Dream' by   John Good  - "The room was as described: Fine, sturdy, oak bed, large seated firedogs guarding a warm night fire, the dark cherry wood paneled walls softened with tapestries of ancient British myths and heroes......"

Kentchurch Court - Did Owain Glyndwr spend his last days here?

Glyndwr's Dream cont'd

The room was as described: fine, sturdy, oak bed, large seated firedogs guarding a warm night fire, the dark cherry wood paneled walls softened with tapestries of ancient British myths and heroes. Sir John showed his guest the door–subtly anonymous, blending in with the wall panels–the door that led to the tight stone staircase that spiraled down to the dense forest close beyond. Owain, unaccustomed to such comforts, having recently found the straw mattress of a cold friar’s cell in Cardiff comparatively luxurious, sank instantly into untroubled and fathoms-deep sleep. The world and warfare, king’s pardon, parliaments and princes could all wait outside the door of this rare and serenely peaceful bedchamber.

Have you ever had a vivid dream when you knew that you were dreaming, but felt in full control? That you were an actor in and amongst the play of characters, environs and events, able to speak and clearly understand? Well, as Prince Owain’s long silver hair touched the wildflower-scented pillow, the second his eyes closed on a rare and memorable evening–the taste of full bodied red wine still on his lips–he seamlessly slipped through the door that nightly leads to life’s second self. The garden of recollections and imaginings, where deep cares and delights, fears and hopes, shadow and light, where the past present and tomorrows grow wild as blackberries in the teeming profusion of a long and late summer. Haf Bach Mihangel , the Little Summer of Michaelmas.

Owain found himself dream-walking through a series of fine, princely rooms and halls that were amalgams of real and imaginary buildings. A fusion of the family home at Sycharch, of Edward Longshank’s arrogant castle keeps, barons’ courts and knights’ fortified dwellings, all of which he had visited throughout the years; an amalgamation of a lifetime’s hallways, vestibules, galleries and even of the very room in which he now peacefully lay dreaming. The balmy air was pleasantly scented with forest flowers and herbs, and the exuberantly colored tapestries depicting ancient British heroes–struggling with dragons, Saxons, serpents, magicians, wild boars and giants–caught the eye and seemed to come alive. Almost imperceptibly, the vibrantly dyed warp and weft was slowly changing from textured threads and webs into living, breathing figures. Fifteenth century stylized bodies and faces were becoming corporeal; limbs gesturing, lips shaping sounds, growing in volume until many voices were conversing at once, as if anticipating a speaker, poet or musician.

This all seemed quite natural to our dreamer, as it would to most sleepers, and anyway, the medieval Welsh psyche was­–and in many ways will always be–wide open to magical and transcendental excursion. So it was of small concern when the woven throng surged forward, into the room, forming an arc around one eminent tapestry figure who, stepping out in front of the rest, spoke directly to the prince, or rather sang in the perfect meter of Bardic lore.

Henffych ! Owain, shining son! As one, Avalon hails Owain.” The millennially-aged man was familiar to Owain, simultaneously being many shifting face-shapes, another amalgam, this time of real and mythologized heroes. “Yes, it’s true, Urien I am.” The gold­en-robed man beat his hazel staff on the floor for emphasis, as he answered this unspoken question. Owain could ask and answer by thought-words. There was no need to speak. “I am Arthur, Peredur, Pwyll; Llywelyn, Merddyn and Madog, at rest now in this westerly world. All the gathering glittering ghosts, assembled hosts of our storied history, all–as one–call this council, merge in merit, culture and heritage.” These words were a mixture of the Bronze Age Brythonic, known to the eloquent Caractâcos, the Old Welsh of Taliesin’s singing and the universally timeless symbol-sounds of dream-speech. They seemed to flow like a verdant valley’s silver nant ; a pleasantly running stream, their beauty, authority and truth filling the mind of our dreamer, by now, become a deep lake of introspective tranquility.

“Unbearably heavy heart, your life load–great weight of Wales–you carry for the Cymry yet to come. A nation’s generations in chains? Life-breath or death the decision… To submit, take the pittance of Henry’s peace, or whether never to kneel, defiant in your defeat until–not long will you wait–you sail the sea of all souls. Another brother brought home, to the solace of timelessness; I Ynys Afallon , to Avalon’s Isle.”

“Assume Henry’s amnesty? At ease under these stout eaves; a soft bed, warm fires, safe at bread; in foul weather sheltering at rest from tempestuous death blows of snowy seasons; the rest of your brightest days blessed, living free with loving family. Yet know, Prince Owain, this path has a price.”

“Wales, the Cymry , her tales and tongue, bard harping and singing, verse, chapter, banter and boast, yea! Even history’s starry astrology will vanish, banished from books. Avalon bereft of the valiant? Immortals become mortal?” The speaker’s voice rose and fell like a restless, broiling ocean, building for the storm.

“This ancient, nascent nation, beloved and bedeviled bright country, within a century will breathe her last breath; no grace will keep her from the grave. Your bowed head our kindred’s eradication. Past glories fast forgotten, each tomorrow sorrowful.”

The figure himself grew to the size of a tidal mountain, then as easily subsided to dream-normal, as the great power and visible emotion of his words threatened to carry all away. In the calm that followed, “Disregard Henry’s pardon? Head held high in defiance, the winter snow of Snowden, eira gaea’ Eryri , will bring you peace, releasing your soul to ancestral rest. No slate will mark your wintery sleep. Carrion crow will carry Owain skyward… a final scattering.”

“Many will say you died in some wide wildwood, taken in some forsaken fastness, lie cold below some lonely crag. Yet our poets–true people­–harpers and tellers of tales, they will say you merely sleep; say you wait for the day of days, that you await the nation’s need. They know you’re the mab darogan , their wild-eyed prophesied son!”

A tangible, timeless silence fell, seeming to last both hours and yet no time at all. Then the speaker picked up the thread. “Many a setback, backtracking, hundreds and hundreds of indifferent, bowed years of obedience, a frail feeling, seemingly slight, still a slow tide–at its low sleep­–unseen and soundlessly will rise and in rising, as weight of waters gather scorn, will grow and flow into flood and our mystic ship of dignity, our ancient nascent nation will rise high on that rising river, in your name reclaiming the realm, fighting with and righting wrongs. Cymru fydd fel Cymru fu! Cymru will be as Cymru once was.”

The speaker’s appearance, shape and size mirrored–became metaphor–for his thoughts. Speaking plainly, “Either hero of heroes, or past and last of the line, choose wisely, this is your choice, choice, choice, choice...”

These last, curt words were accompanied by the rhythmic beating of his staff on the oak floor and, as the final phrase trailed away, the tapestried throng and speaker himself lost dimension, began slipping towards grayscale, as motion turned back to motionless woolen thread. Startled, Owain burst into wakefulness, surprised to find the night had completely passed. Dawn was stealing into the bedchamber and the distant sound of someone knocking at the manor house front door brought the new day to our astonished dreamer.

Rhodri had been up for hours, attending to his countless tasks, as he had done since childhood; making sure the fires were burning brightly, the house was in order and the kitchen staff were preparing the food for the day. Hearing the knocking, he carefully unbolted and opened the heavy, front door and was just about knocked down by Maredudd, rushing past him into the hallway. “ Bore da Rhodri , good morning, are my sister and Sir John ready to receive guests yet? I need to speak to them, this moment.” Rhodri regained his balance and told Maredudd they were in the great room along the hallway, waiting for the friar to rise. Maredudd looked inquisitively at Rhodri when he mentioned the friar, but rushed on, as was ever his impetuous way, to join Alys and Sir John.

Then it was true, Maredudd had been approached under truce by Sir Gilbert Talbot, one of the kings most trusted men. He and Owain, his father, if they submitted to the king–swore never to rise again or incite the wild Welsh tribes to rise–would be pardoned; would live within the king’s peace. Maredudd didn’t seem surprised when he heard that Owain himself was asleep in the tower. They were always aware of at least general whereabouts of one another, just in case Charles the Mad­–the French king­–recovered his senses and decided to live up to his promise to send ships and soldiers against the English. But it wasn’t long before all three and wily Rhodri, who had immediately recognized his aging Prince, even disguised as a friar, were climbing the steep stone steps to Owain’s bedchamber.

Sir John knocked quietly at first, saying Prince Owain’s name in lowered tones, then waited. When even insistent knocking failed to bring a response, he unlatched, opened the door and went in. The room was completely empty. The fire was still embering, the bed slept in, still warm and unmade, and the door to the back staircase was wide open. The assembled company rushed through the narrow opening as one; two-at-a-time ran down the spinning back stairs, out into the bracing beauty of a clear and crisp autumn morning in the Monnow Valley.

Looking out into the ever-encroaching forest, there was not even a suggestion of a breeze to animate a turning leaf and the evocative mist had completely vanished as, apparently, had Owain ap Gruffydd Fychan ap Madog. The stillness was palpable…

No one, not even his family, would ever see the great man again. That beautiful October morning, Owain Glyndwr had quietly and unobserved walked into history without leaving a trace or even a note of farewell. There would be no eulogy or headstone when he passed and, to tell the truth, he didn’t need either. He had joined the immortals.

Deeply sad at heart, Sir John, Alys, Maredudd and Rhodri stood in complete silence for a very long time, hoping to see this enigmatic man walk back out of the woods. Then they themselves, without saying a single word, as if one, turned back to the house. As they reached the tower’s back stair, the crisp silence of the bright, new morning was broken by a solitary skylark, as it soared up, up into the clear air, singing its ecstatic praise for the day. Alys managed a bitter-sweet smile. Now she understood the meaning of her song.


What Happened to Owain Glyndŵr?

On the 16th of September, Owain Glyndwr Day, Y Lolfa will launch a special book to commemorate the six-hundredth anniversary of the death of one of our major national heroes – an occasion that Wales has not properly celebrated since 1915, when the five-hundredth anniversary of Glyndwr’s death was marked with extensive and deserving attention.

Owain Glyndwr’s last years are one of the biggest mysteries in Welsh history. In  Dyddiau Olaf Owain Glyndwr (Last Days of Owain Glyndŵr) Gruffydd Aled Williams explores the traditions concerning the place where he died. Amongst the locations that are discussed are some that have been discovered as a result of new and exciting research by the author into manuscripts and documents; locations that could be significant but have never been discussed in print before. To support the text and to bring the possible locations to life, this attractive book is full of striking photographs by photographer Iestyn Hughes.

Gruffydd Aled Williams says, “We don’t know where Owain died, but we have traditions – the oldest of which can be traced back to the sixteenth century – which connect his death with several places in Herefordshire (where some of his daughters lived) and in Wales. This volume examines the plausibility of these traditions by looking at historical evidence (and discussing, lightheartedly on occasion, some unlikely and unbelievable places that have been suggested). Although historians, antiquarians and romantics have discussed many traditions through the ages, there has never been such extended or thorough coverage of this subject before.

Gruffydd Aled Williams’ interest in the subject began during his upbringing in Glyndyfrdwy, the area that gave Owain his name. During his professional career, his main interest was the poetry of the late 13th to early 16th century bards, known as Beirdd yr Uchelwyr, and has published a number of papers on the poems that were composed for Glyndwr and their historical background. This book is an extention of that interest, although it is an historical study rather than a literary one.

Dyddiau Olaf Owain Glyndŵr (£9.99, Y Lolfa) will be launched on Wednesday the 16th of September, in the Seddon Room, the Old College, Aberystwyth at 7:30pm, with a visual introduction by the author. There will be a warm welcome to everyone.

The Silver Fox by Jenny Sullivan, front cover AmeriCymru spoke to Welsh author and novelist Jenny Sullivan about her life and work. Jenny is the author of many children''s books including Tirion''s Secret Journal and Full Moon which won the prestigious Tir Na-Nog award in 2006 and 2012 respectively. She is currently working on a series of historical novels based on the life of Owain Glyndwr . Jenny was born in Cardiff and now lives in France. She travels to Wales to work with school students on a regular basis.




jenny-sullivan AmeriCymru:  Hi Jenny and many thanks for agreeing to talk to AmeriCymru. When did you decide to become a writer?

Jenny:   I don’t think anyone “decides” to become a writer.  One either is, or is not, and wishing can’t make it so.  (I seem to meet a lot of people who “have always thought they could write a book”.  My answer is usually, “then do!)  The first time it entered my head was in primary school, when my beloved Miss Thomas, a spinster lady of probably quite youthful years, although she seemed ancient, of course, to an 8 year old, read one of my stories, tugged my plait and told me that if I was prepared to work very hard, one day I would become a famous writer. 

I remember being quite taken with the idea, rushing home to see my poor, put-upon mother, who had five other childebeasts beside me, and reporting Miss T’s opinion.  Mum put down her potato knife, sighed and said “I’m going to have to go up the school and have words with That Woman, putting stupid ideas like that in your head”. 

She didn’t, however (too busy) and from that moment on I was A Writer.  I wrote my first novel, aged 16, about a racial war on the Isle of Wight (go figure).  That one I buried in the garden.  The one after that I put in a metal wastebasket and set fire to it.  Lost my eyebrows...

AmeriCymru:   You are currently writing a series of historical novels based on the life of Owain Glyndwr. Care to tell us a little more about the ''Silver Fox'' series?  

The Silver Fox the paths diverge by Jenny Sullivan, front cover Jenny:   At the ripe old age of 50, somewhat by accident, I found myself tackling an MA at University of Wales, Cardiff (now Cardiff University).  When I’d finished that, my tutor, with whom I’d become friendly, came with his wife to dinner.  Having found the MA something of a trial (having left school at 15 without so much as an O level to my name), I was being entirely frivolous when I mentioned that I’d been thinking of doing a PhD next.  He raised a languid eyebrow, surveyed me for a brief moment and then delivered his opinion:  “Nah.  You wouldn’t get it.”  My instant reaction was,  I bloody would!   So I applied, was accepted, panicked, and decided to write a novel about Owain Glyndwr, whose exploits had fascinated me since I was in primary school (again, thanks, Miss T.  She never managed to teach me maths, but boy, did she ever interest me in history and fiction!). 

I did two years’ research before I wrote a word, and when the time came for me to stop researching and start writing, I just couldn’t find the “handle” into the book.  So I went to that magical place, Ty Newydd, the Welsh National Writers’ Centre in Llanystumdwy, near Cricieth, David Lloyd George’s old home, leaving my family at home, and to cut a long story short, the Welsh Wizard worked his magic, and the writing began.  That first book took me another two years to write and edit, and then I had to tackle the loooooong dissertation, but at last I was able to submit it (which is another tale entirely!).  THEN I found out I had to have something called a “vive” or “viva” or something.  Didn’t have a clue what this was until m’tutor explained.  About 20 minutes of grilling, he said, do defend your novel and thesis.  At that point I went into total panic. 

The interview was on 12th December, my husband was working away, all my children were at work or college and I betook myself to Cardiff for the aforementioned torture session.  Forty-five minutes later, a small, limp rag came out of the interview room.  I was hooked into a tutor’s office, and he kept me supplied with Kleenex for the next fifteen minutes while I snotted and howled.  I knew I’d totally blown it.  Summoned back, the Chair of the panel said, “congratulations, Dr Sullivan”...  Leaving the college, I phoned one husband, three daughters and my father-in-law.  Not one of them answered.  I had to wait until 7pm that night before I could tell anyone.   

Then, of course, I had to write part two.  Did that.  Loved every moment of it, because I knew I didn’t have to submit this to anyone but a publisher.  I started submitting part one, but couldn’t get any of the Welsh publishers to even read it.  Historical fiction, apparently, doesn’t sell.  (Tell that to Hilary Mantel.)  I found a London agent who loved it, wanted to handle it, but wanted her colleague to see it first.  Colleague loved it too, but “nobody’s interested in history, especially Welsh history, so we’d like you to take out most of the boring historical stuff and put in more sex...”  So that was another avenue closed.  I went the self-publishing route, paying for the first edition, and when that sold out I went to Amazon CreateSpace and republished in Kindle and paperback, following it up with part two.  I’m currently working on part three, which I hadn’t planned, but I keep getting emails from people who want to know what happens to the characters next.  I’d hoped to get away without writing the tragic end to the Glyndwr story ~ but I’m going to have to tackle it.  I’ve just started research and am much cheered by the wonderful reviews the first two are getting on Amazon ~ and not all, I should add, from family and friends!  

AmeriCymru:   How difficult is it to imagine the world of the 15th century and in particular the life and times of Owain Glyndwr?  

Jenny:   Imagining the 15th century isn’t difficult.  People then were just people, just as we’re people in the 21st century, with the same desires, same hopes, same frustrations, only with more blood and fewer iPads.  I enjoyed writing the novels so much that, because my husband often worked away from home at that time, I sometimes used to work all day and late into the evening.  It was bliss.  I remember one night realising I was overdoing it, however, when I had one of my 15th century characters checking his wristwatch...   

AmeriCymru:   You have written many childrens books. How does writing for children and adults differ?  

Jenny:   That one’s easy.  Adults will persevere with a book if they really want to read it.  Children, if they aren’t captured in the first couple of paragraphs, will give up and go back to their X-box or Wii or whatever.  I love writing for children ~ it’s pure escapism, and “I” have the most amazing adventures. 

Which is why, I suppose, most of them are written in the first person.  I thoroughly enjoyed writing my two historical novels, “Tirion’s Secret Journal” and “Troublesome Thomas”, both set at Llancaiach Fawr Manor near Nelson in mid-Glamorgan, and may revisit the house in Tudor times when I’ve finished part three of Silver Fox.   

AmeriCymru:   You have taught Creative Writing to adults and children in primary and secondary schools. Although you currently live in France you visit Wales a couple of times a year to work with school children. How important to you is this ongoing classroom contact?  

Jenny:   When we moved to France it was on the understanding that I could return three or four times a year.  I love that contact with children, teachers, librarians, parents, and of course it helps to sell books, although that’s the least important reason of all.  I love the buzz of meeting a class of children and getting ALL of them writing and achieving things they didn’t think they could.  I often have teachers say at the end of a session “that boy (it’s usually a boy), I’ve never managed to get more than two lines out of him, and you’ve got a page and a half”.  I’m quite smug about it, but that’s the reward ~ something they can do, that they didn’t think they could. 

When I visit my daughter and her family in Northern Ireland I always visit my primary teacher son-in-law’s class and work with them.  As he says, “I don’t always agree with your methods, but I admit you get results”.  The other thing that arises from my school visits is that I always have an eye peeled for talent ~ if I can say to a child what dear Miss T said to me, I’m delighted, and I always offer to mentor children and young people that I meet who really want to write and are prepared to put in the necessary slog to do it.  I spent the weekend talking one of my protegees out of nearly £700 worth of self-publishing (with a publishing company with a reputation like a venus fly-trap), editing a chapter for her, and recommending Lynne Truss’s “Eats, Shoots and Leaves”...  Nuff said!  

AmeriCymru:   You have won the Tir na n–Og Award twice, once in 2006 for ''Tirion''s Secret Journal'' and again in 2012 for ''Full Moon''. How did it feel to win such a prestigious award? Can you tell us a little about the prize and the selection process?  

Tirion''s Secret Journal Jenny:   When I was younger, I had three ambitions:  to fly in a helicopter, to see a whale in its natural environment, and to win the Tir na n-Og.  Only the whale remains... 

The helicopter flight was the best fun I’ve EVER had with my clothes on... 

The Tir na n-Og is chosen by librarians, who are “shadowed” by children from various schools.  I don’t know any more about the process than that, but I’m glad they do it!  The first time I won, in 2006, the whole thing was fairly low-key, and my overall opinion of the evening was that the Welsh language winning author was more highly regarded than the English one.  The cheque for £1000 was good, though! 

The 2012 award was a whole different kettle of fish ~ the Welsh award was presented on a different evening, and as well as the cheque I was given a gorgeous glass trophy, which means considerably more, given that the cheque disappeared, pided between three daughters and a husband, and there were lots of interviews from newspapers and radio and the WBC made a You Tube fillum about me, which is interesting but fairly dire from a vanity point of view.  It’s a wonderful feeling to be recognised by the people who matter in literature ~ children first, then librarians and the Welsh Books Council, who organise the Tir na n-Og. 

AmeriCymru:   Where can people go online to buy your books?  

Jenny:   All my children’s books can be purchased from the Welsh Books Council on line, or from Pont/Gwasg Gomer on line, or indeed from Amazon.  The “Silver Fox” books can also be obtained from Amazon, in paperback and for Kindle e-readers.  

AmeriCymru:   What are you reading at the moment ? Any recommendations?  

Jenny:   Just discovered the Kate Shugak novels by Dana Stabenow, and have read the lot.  I can recommend “The Princess Bride” and anything at all by Dorothy Dunnett.  I love the Jacquot books, about a French rugby-playing policeman.  My favourite book of all time, however, and perhaps the book that has influenced me and my writing more than any other, is T H White’s “The Once and Future King”.  It’s the story of King Arthur, and it can be read on so many different levels.  Children can enjoy “The Sword in the Stone” part of it, and adults will enjoy that and the other parts two.  It’s a wonderful book.  

AmeriCymru:   What''s next for Jenny Sullivan? Any new titles in th e pipeline?  

Jenny:   “Silver Fox ~ the long Amen” is being researched;  I have at least five other books with Pont awaiting publication (I may get impatient and self-publish through Amazon);  I’m half way through writing a fantasy for teenagers, and somewhere along the line I’m going to write a novel about two families (loosely based on mine and my husband’s) during the two World Wars, and something bloody and murderous when I can find the time.  I read loads of crime fiction and want to see if I can write it too.  It will be a far cry from my children’s books, but fun to write, I expect.   

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

Jenny:   Just ~ helo, Cymru am Byth, and aren’t you glad we’re Welsh?


  Interview by Ceri Shaw   Ceri Shaw on Google+



Jenny Sullivan wins 2012 Tir na n-Og award with Full Moon

Jenny Sullivan''s page on AmeriCymru  

Children''s author Jenny Sullivan on basement werewolves and mad aunts    


Works by Jenny Sullivan on Amazon