Ceri Shaw


 

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Category: New Titles


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LLYFR NEWYDD I DDATHLU COFIWCH DRYWERYN!

Rydyn ni angen eich lluniau a’ch straeon! 

Mae Gwasg Y Lolfa’n paratoi cyfrol ddwyieithog i drafod a dathlu’r ffenomenon ddiweddaraf o furluniau Cofiwch Dryweryn, i’w chyhoeddi yn Hydref 2019. 

Bydd y gyfrol yn cynnwys detholiad o’r murluniau newydd sydd wedi eu creu o gwmpas Cymru mewn ymateb i’r trosedd casineb yn erbyn y murlun eiconig gwreiddiol. 

Meddai golygydd y gyfrol Mari Emlyn: “Cyfyngir y dewis o luniau i furluniau yn bennaf. Ni fydd yn bosib cynnwys pob murlun a llun yn y gyfrol, ond rydym yn chwilio am y rhai mwya trawiadol a diddorol! Bwriedir cynnwys dyfyniadau gan rai o’r bobl allweddol fu’n creu’r murluniau newydd a rhoi sylw i’r twf diweddar yn yr ymwybyddiaeth Gymreig ac annibyniaeth.” 

A fyddech gystal â chysylltu efo golygydd y gyfrol Mari Emlyn mari.emlyn@btinternet.com  i rannu eich lluniau a’ch straeon? Dyddiad cau derbyn deunydd yw Mehefin 24, 2019 



A NEW BOOK TO CELEBRATE COFIWCH DRYWERYN!

We need your photographs and stories! 

Y Lolfa is preparing a bilingual book discussing and celebrating the recent phenomenon of the Cofiwch Dryweryn murals to be published in Autumn 2019. 

The book will contain a selection of murals and images that have been created all over Wales in response to the hate crime against the original iconic mural. 

The editor Mari Emlyn said: “The choice of photographs will be mostly limited to murals. And although it will not be possible to include every image in the book, we’re looking for the most impressive and interesting ones! Quotations by some of the people who have been instrumental in creating the new murals will be included in the book, as well as coverage to the recent serge in Welsh identity and the independence movement.” 

Please contact Mari Emlyn mari.emlyn@btinternet.com to share your photographs and stories. Closing date for submitting material is June 24, 2019

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image001.jpgThis week sees the publication of Mostly Welsh, a collection of poems by Chris Armstrong. The collection blends the historic with mythological and personal themes and deals with love, loss and his relationship with Wales and Ceredigion. 

The process of writing the collection began over 15 years ago: 

“After losing my wife, nearly all of the poems I wrote were focussed on her and losing her – things I wished I had expressed while she was still alive, or at least said better, said more or more often. Poetry – both reading and writing – developed into some sort of catharsis or release for me. It wasn’t present at the time she died, as coping with the remains of family life and work took all my energy and time. Now it’s an ever-present pleasure, and I don’t think a single day goes past without some thought of my wife,” said Chris Armstrong. 

Chris Armstrong has lived in Wales for most of his life, and moved to the Tregaron area, mid Wales in 1972. The landscape surrounding him has always inspired him, as he feels a strong link to the countryside around him. 

“Wales and the local countryside has been a great influence, as is the sea. The sea is probably the next most important theme [after love and loss] as I have always lived near or on it. It often finds its way into the poems of love as some sort of allegory or symbolisation,” said the author. 

The collection has received praise from Ffrangcon Lewis:

“At their best, these poems have a directness, honesty and crispness of diction which enables the poet to communicate the most raw of experiences with a degree of sureness, restraint and power.” 

Mostly Welsh is a collection of poetic forms rooted in the Anglo-Welsh tradition that explores the poet’s life and mind after a loss, and follows his life journey. 

“In essence, this collection is a man’s life experience finding expression through verse.” 

Chris Armstrong was born in Sussex and has lived in Wales since he was 10 years old. He spent more than a decade in the merchant navy before working on a Ceredigion farm and then taking a degree which led to ten years working as a research officer before he set up his own consultancy, research and training company in the information and libraries sector. 

Mostly Welsh by Chris Armstrong (£6.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

 

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The crisis of plastic in our oceans has been exposed on television in recent months. Now a Welsh author is introducing the importance of marine life and its conservation to children in a new wonderfully illustrated book. 

The book is called The Grimpots, about a family of fun-loving umbrella octopuses and has a strong ecological message is published by Y Lolfa. Author Gilly John is fascinated by the natural world and its lesser-known inhabitants, and takes a keen interest in conservation. 

“Encouraging children to be curious about the world around them can only be positive for them and the planet. Primarily I want my book to entertain children but raising awareness about the diversity in our oceans is important to me,” says Gilly John, adding: 

“Marine conservation has had a boost in recent years, with the extent to which plastic is impacting our oceans being well documented as in David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II series. Children need to learn that the sea is full of living creatures and that we all have a responsibility to keep our seas clean.” 

Twenty rhymed verses tell the story of Gus’ adventures in Barnacle Bay where he escapes from a shady shark intent on making him a snack and then helps a big blue whale named Dave. Umbrella octopuses are unusual in that they don’t have ink sacs like other octopuses and so have to use other defensive methods to escape predators. 

The book is full of Janet Samuel’s beautiful illustrations which bring to life the underwater world images of cuttlefish, krill, sea snails and eels to name but a few of the creatures illustrated. 

Gilly John was born in Gwent but now lives in Caerphilly. She trained as a children’s nurse before turning to write children’s poetry. 

Janet Samuel enjoys working with colour and texture and bringing characters to life and has illustrated a number of children’s books. 

The Grimpots by Gilly John (£4.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.  

Gilly John will be attending the Spread the Word Festival(organised by The Stephens and George Charitable Trust) in Merthyr Tydfil on 11 April with a storytelling and book signing.

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Packed with lively double-page illustrations, a new book starring a small dragon has been hailed as the Welsh Where’s Wally? However, Find the Dragon! has an obvious Welsh slant, with every double page showing an iconic Welsh location, including Mount Snowdon, Caerphilly Castle and Portmeirion. Other scenes include the Red Wall at a Wales football match, a Gower beach and a farm full of disobedient sheep. 

As well as searching for the little dragon, the pictures can also be used to search for many other bizarre objects and characters listed at the back of the book. The book is guaranteed to provide hours of discussions and fun for all the family! 

Find the Dragon! is by the well-known cartoonist and illustrator Huw Aaron. Huw is based in Cardiff and he’s illustrated a number of children’s books and comic strips as well as being a regular contributor to Private EyeThe Oldie and The Spectator

Speaking about his new book, Huw Aaron said:

“Between finding the little dragon, evil dragon-hunting baddies, funny characters and bizarre items hidden within the scenes, there are over 250 individual things to search for, so plenty to keep any child amused during a long car journey or rainy (screen-free!) afternoo. I love designing busy scenes and hiding funny details in the pictures, so it was a lot of fun creating this book... and a lot of work too! Good luck with the dragon-spotting!” 

Find the Dragon! features Boc the dragon, a face familiar to many Welsh children as one of the characters of the popular Welsh-language children’s comic Mellten, which began in 2016. 

Huw Aaron will be at the Cardiff Children’s Lit Fest on 7th of April at Cardiff City Hall at 3pm with a session entitled Drawing Myths and Monsters and will be talking and doodling his new book Find the Dragon! Cost of session is £5. For more information, please see www.cardiffkidslitfest.com. 

Find the Dragon! by Huw Aaron (£4.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

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hear_the_echo.jpgThe timeless story of the search for a better life is the inspiration behind and message of Rob Gittins’ new novel, Hear the Echo, which is set around an Italian café in a vividly portrayed South Wales Valleys community.

The critically acclaimed novelist has also won awards for his screenwriting, and has written for numerous top-rated television drama series, including EastEnders, Casualty, The Bill, Heartbeat, Vera and Stella as well as many original plays for Radio 4. In 2015 he received an Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition of his work as EastEnders’ longest-serving writer.

The novel weaves together two contrasting stories, both of Welsh-Italian women in the same Valleys community but living 80 years apart. Chiara is a first-generation immigrant and has to deal with religious bigotry and prejudice in the close-knit mining community in which she lives in the run-up to and during the Second World War. The other thread follows present-day Frankie, who has her own struggles to keep the wolf from the door.

Hear the Echo reveals unexpected connections and commonalities:

“Going back into history sometimes makes clear just how relevant seemingly old stories can be,” says Rob Gittins, before adding:

“The women are different, the historical period is different but the trials and challenges they face are exactly the same. Each is seeking to escape a world that is at one and the same time a home and a prison, each is trying to work out the opposing claims of duty and desire, each struggles to navigate hugely difficult economic circumstances.”

The story was partly inspired by a love of the old Italian cafés of the Valleys, which Rob Gittins started frequenting after moving to Wales in the 1970s, and their unique character and tradition:

“They are extraordinary places, steeped in history and character, a far cry from the homogenised chain cafés that had already begun to appear by then and supplant them – a process that’s intensified over the years. There was always a magic about them – as well as a powerful sense of tradition – that I loved. They’ve brought so much to the Valleys, and really seem to represent the coming together of two very warm and welcoming cultures.”

But there was a second inspiration too:

“I’ve always been fascinated by the notion of ‘echoes’, the idea that – and despite all logic tells you – thoughts, emotions and characters can somehow reach you from across time. Sitting in some of those Italian cafés back in the 1970s, looking at all the pictures on the walls of the people who used to live and work there – it wasn’t difficult to imagine them still there somehow.

Out of that came the idea of two women intimately connected to one such café – the fictional, Carini’s, in this story. They’ve never met, they can never meet – but as the story progresses each becomes real to the other in ways neither quite understand.”

As one of the stories is set in the 1930s and 1940s, there was a fair amount of research to be done. As the author researched the era, mining communities, the high number of Italians who first moved to Wales in the 1930s and the xenophobia and religious bigotry that many faced, a clear message became apparent – similar issues have been affecting people throughout history:

“Both Chiara and Frankie are to some extent refugees. And refugees, in one form or another, are such a massive modern story. Modern day refugees have to undertake journeys and trials my two fictional characters could only wonder at, but the desire is exactly the same.

What Chiara and Frankie are celebrating is an impulse that beats even more strongly in the modern age in a sense; somewhere, out there, is something better and I want to find it.”

Hear the Echo will be launched Waterstones in Carmarthen at 6.30pm, on Thursday 19 July 2018. Free entry – a warm welcome to all!

Hear the Echo by Rob Gittins (£8.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

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finding_wales.jpgIn a new book titled Finding Wales, author Peter Daniels writes in praise of the Welsh and what drives Welsh exiles such as himself to return to Wales.

Mark Easton, BBC News’s Home Editor, has recently enlightened us with the results of his study into English identity, The English Question Project, in which he claims that ‘interlaced English and British identities remain an important part of how the people of England see themselves. For many it seems the two are almost interchangeable’. ‘Britishness’ means Shakespeare, the House of Commons, idyllic English country villages, the stiff upper lip, being conservative and traditional.

According to Llanelli born and Llantwit Major based author Daniels, “This doesn’t sound like the talkative, passionate, warm, open hearted Welsh. So perhaps we should remind Mark Easton and the world at large what the Welsh are like, and how we actually differ from the English.”

As a Welsh exile in England, Peter had a successful career in market research, but the strong ties he retained with his homeland through the London Welsh RFC and the London Welsh Association led to a fascination with his own national identity. And in his first book, In Search of Welshness, published in 2011, he charted the ways in which exiles living in England attempted to hang on to their Welsh characteristics and values in a London dominated social and cultural scene.

In Finding Wales he delves into the reasons why such exiles, including himself, have returned to Wales. Some admittedly have been forced to return because of family responsibilities or economic necessity. And others speak of a value for money ‘good life’ that is to be had in Wales, against a backcloth of its scenic beauty. But many yearned for more, for the friendlier community spirit that they feel exists in Wales, or an even deeper hiraeth for either the Welsh language and culture, or for a less class ridden way of life than they had encountered in England.

These returning exiles need however not only to sing the praises of the Welsh, but also to raise their voices in an attempt to wrestle back from Westminster a far greater degree of self determination in their everyday lives. But for the moment let’s just wallow in Welsh character, friendliness and humour as we follow the exploits of Peter Daniels’s returning band of Welsh exiles.

And what better time to study Welsh personality and culture than in National Eisteddfod week. Both books will be available at the stall of publisher, Y Lolfa, throughout the week.

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iolo_morganwg.jpgIolo Morganwg is an enigmatic historical figure in the Vale of Glamorgan and beyond. Gareth Thomas' novel I, Iolo, published this week by Y Lolfa, uses research and evidence recorded by his contemporaries and academics to recount his prodigious and astounding story.Iolo Morganwg had many faces: stonemason, self-taught scholar, poet, hymnist, politician, patriot, revolutionary, druid, failed businessman, drug addict, campaigner for human rights and perpetrator of the greatest act of literary forgery in European history.

The closing years of the 18th century were, in Iolo Morganwg's words, an age of 'unparalleled eventfulness' and he was in the thick of it; a young man of prodigious talent and boundless energy, drunk with words, outraged by injustice and in thrall to the spirit of liberty sweeping across Europe. The scene moves from Cowbridge to the grand drawing rooms of Mayfair, from Gorsedd ceremonies on inhospitable hillsides to the luxurious bordellos of Covent Garden, from his cottage in Flemingston to a hearing before the Privy Council in Downing Street.

Having been inspired by Iolo's story whilst at the National Eisteddfod in Llandow, Gareth Thomas set about learning more. As well as visiting places associated with the bard, such as his memorial at the Church in Flemingston, Gareth also researched the historical figure, reading the work of Gwyneth Lewis, former National Poet of Wales, Geraint Jenkins, Dr Mary-Ann Constantine, an academic specialising in Romantic-era Welsh literature and others. He came to the conclusion that here was a story with real contemporary significance, "the more I learnt, the more I marvelled at his story. It's a tale that needs to be told".

Here is a novel to introduce Iolo Morganwg, his opinions, adventures and the events which gained him a reputation as trickster and forger, to the world. A Welsh version of the novel, Myfi, Iolo, was published at the end of 2017 and has received enthusiastic reviews by the press and was described as ‘a fascinating novel about a fascinating person’ by Dr Mary-Ann Constantine.

Cowbridge History Society, Cowbridge Library, Cowbridge Bookshop and Y Lolfa have teamed up to organise the launch of I, Iolo as a special celebration of the town's most famous - or most notorious - son. Carys Whelan will chair and ask the questions. Two well known actors, Danny Gregan (Stella, Casualty) and Eiry Palfrey (Pobl y Cwm, Poncho Mamgu) will provide a reading, taking the parts of Iolo Morganwg and his long suffering wife Peggy.

Gareth Thomas’ roots are in Cwm Rhondda. He studied drama at Barry and London and worked in England as an actor, teacher and director. At fifty he learnt Welsh and seven years ago he moved to the Vale of Glamorgan and currently lives in Cowbridge.

I, Iolo will be launched at Cowbridge Library, Old Hall Gardens at 6.45pm, to start at 7pm on Monday 30 April 2018.

I, Iolo by Gareth Thomas (£9.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

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blodau cymru.jpgA long-awaited new volume has been praised as a ‘masterpiece’ by Professor Deri Tomos.

The volume Flowers of Wales published this week by Y Lolfa is the life work of botanist Goronwy Wynne, a leading Biology lecturer and life long member of the British Botanic Society.

The book, which spans almost six hundred pages, covers all known Welsh plants in an ambitious hardback volume.

‘This volume is the fruit of a lifetime’s labour’ said Professor Deri Tomos, ‘As well as being a prestigious catalouger, Goronwy Wynne is one who is passionate about what is behind the romantic facade of nature.’

Twm Elias was also amazed by the book.

‘The book is presented in a compact, easy-to-understand style and is a pleasure to read. Goronwy is one of the best Welsh botanists, and is a great communicator and writer,’ he said, ‘We see the expert's authority at its very best here, in a volume that has clearly taken a lot of years of careful research and writing’.

This is the first Welsh volume to try to present the history of every single Welsh plant.

The volume discusses their names, distribution and habitats. The ecology of plants is cited – from the ordinary to the rare. The reader is given a tour of all of the old counties of Wales describing ten sites in each county, with their special features and flowers, and how to find them flowers and appreciate them.

After graduating in Agriculture and Botany at Bangor University, Goronwy Wynne taught at his old school at Holywell, then became Principal Lecturer in Biology at the North East Wales Institute. He received a doctorate degree from the University of Wales and Salford University and is a Fellow of Bangor University and the London Linear Society. He has been a cataloguer for the British and Irish Botanic Society for forty years and editor of Y Naturiaethwr for the Edward Llwyd Society for ten years. In 2014 he received the National Eisteddfod's Science Medal.

The book will be launched Friday 1 December at 7.30pm at Stamford Gate Hotel in Holywell with Ieuan ap Sion, Bethan Wyn Jones, Austin Savage and Goronwy Wynne.

Blodau Cymru – Byd y Planhigion by Goronwy Wynne (£39.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

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dark territory.jpgA new novel published this week has brought to light a forgotten atrocity perpetrated against the Welsh by English Roundhead soldiers, where over a hundred Welsh women were brutally murdered.

Dark Territory by American-born and Wales-based author Jerry Hunter is set in the seventeenth century around the period of the English Civil War, and highlights the fact that the violence associated with religious extremism is not a new issue.

‘It is relatively well known that during his bloody military campaign in Ireland Oliver Cromwell approved the wholesale slaughter of civilians in Wexford and Drogheda because they were Catholics,’ said Jerry Hunter, ‘but less attention has been given to another massacre suffered at his forces’ hands.’

‘This is the story of the Women of Naseby, a dark episode of Welsh history which has been surprisingly absent from popular histories,’ he said.

After the Battle of Naseby in June 1645 the Parliamentarian cavalry, in pursuit of fleeing Royalists, came upon the Royalist camp and a large group of women. Hearing them screaming in an unknown tongue, the English soldiers assumed they were Irish Catholics, and cut them down in cold blood.

But in fact these women were crying out in Welsh – most of Wales had declared for the King, and these were the wives of soldiers in Welsh Royalist regiments who had followed their husbands to war to cook and wash for them, as was the custom at that time. Despite over a hundred of them being killed on the spot, and the faces of others mutilated, their fate has largely been forgotten.

Dark Territory’s protagonist is a zealous Welsh Puritan whose beliefs initially lead him to embrace Parliament’s cause and the violence of Cromwell’s New Model Army, but whose conviction is tested by these atrocities.

Described as ‘an epic historical adventure set during one of the most turbulent periods in history’, the novel also poses questions about violence, power, religious extremism and rejection of difference which are chillingly relevant to our world today.

Jerry Hunter was born in Cincinnati, USA and is now is a Professor of Welsh and Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Bangor, and lives with his family in North Wales.

‘With this novel I also wanted to cross-examine the ideological foundations of “American Exceptionalism”,’ he explained. ‘For centuries politicians in the USA have referred to the nation as a “shining light” for the rest of the world to follow. Through the prism of fiction, this work examines the dark realities at the foundations of those beliefs.’

‘Particularly now in the age of Trump, when the old myths of exceptionalism are being invoked once again in an attempt to “make America great again”,’ he added.

The novel has already received acclaim, with literary critic and author Jon Gower praising it as ‘the work of a master... nothing less than a classic’.

Jerry Hunter is best known as a Welsh-language author and has won prestigious literary awards including Welsh Book of the Year for his academic work Llwch Cenhedloedd, and the National Eisteddfod Prose Medal for his first novel, Gwenddydd.

Dark Territory by Jerry Hunter (£9.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.



Jerry Hunter, Author of Dark Territory - U.S. Tour Dates




Porter Square Books in Cambridge Mass


Friday, May 25, 2018 - 7:00pm

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



Portsmouth Athenaeum in Portsmouth NH


Sunday, May 27th 2018 - Time TBD

Sponsored by RiverRun Bookstore



Joseph Beth Bookstore in Cincinnatti


Thursday July 26th - 7PM



Alexandria, VA - NAFOW


August 30–September 2, 2018



Harvard Coop Bookstore, Cambridge MA


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

Jerry will be participating in the Harvard Celtic Colloquium


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am newid.jpgThe first Welsh language novel to have a trans woman as a main character is published this week.

Am Newid by Dana Edwards follows main protagonist Ceri who returns to her childhood home but has changed a lot since she left. She goes to join Merched y Wawr and despite being a woman, the fact that some still think of her as a ‘boy’ mean that it is not easy for them to accept her.

But Ceri isn’t the only one who’s changed. Over the past twenty-five years, her community’s language, culture and attitudes have also changed.

‘I wanted to write something that was contemporary but that would also demonstrate a timeless attitude shown towards people who are deemed different or who don’t conform to our idea of ‘normal’,’ said Dana Edwards.

‘Issues on gender and sex appear in the press almost daily – schools change their toilets to be unisex, policemen change their outfits to also become unisex, and the discussions on abolishing the need to state your sex in the next census. So I thought that writing about this would be both timely and relevant.’

The novel looks at how Ceri copes with the change in her world, how the world copes with Ceri, and the change that comes when she decides to settle down once again in west Wales.

‘In the past, Welsh novels have been accused of being old fashioned,’ said Dana, ‘but I do hope that Am Newid, amongst many other contemporary Welsh novels, prove that that isn’t true anymore.’

Said author Lleucu Roberts, ‘Am Newid is a compelling, easy to read novel and Dana Edwards has shown herself to be a capable author who knows how to weave a plot and develop characters.’

The novel will be launched at the Winter Fair in Builth Wells on Monday 27 November at 2pm at the Merched y Wawr stall at Clwyd Morgannwg Exhibition Hall with Tegwen Morris, Merched y Wawr director, who will be in conversarion with Dana.

‘Its very appropriate to launch at the Merched y Wawr stall as the organisation is the backdrop to Ceri’s story,’ said Dana, ‘Merched y Wawr has a reputation for being a very welcoming and inclusive organisation, but how will Ceri be welcomed?’

During the launch, Carol Nixon will talk about her experiences of living as a trans woman in Wales and singer Siân James will perform a few songs that celebrate diversity. There will be a rainbow LGBT+ cake and mulled wine to close the launch party.

Dana Edwards is from Aberystwyth. Am Newid is her third novel following The Other Half (Accent Press, 2014) and Welsh novel Pam? (Y Lolfa, 2016).

Am Newid will be launched at the Merched y Wawr stall at Clwyd Morgannwg Exhibition Hall at the Winter Fair in Builth Wells on Monday 27th November at 2pm with Dana Edwards, Tegwen Morris, Carol Nixon and Siân James.

Am Newid by Dana Edwards (£7.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

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