Alexander Averin

Monday, 10 September 2012

Welsh Writings

On Wales

Why I love it by Niall Griffiths, author

Because it’s like nowhere else on earth. Because the mountains aren’t remote humps on the horizon; they’re what people live on and among. Because those airborne crucifixes that soar and mewl in the mist are predatory birds. Because water is the country’s blood; the rivers and sea lap at your ankles and elbows wherever you are. Because of the food; the laver bread and cockles and cheeses and lamb and samphire and herbs and fish which have been prepared in the same way for centuries. Because the language’s refusal to die offends those who should be offended. Because of the calmness to be found on peaks and pinnacles. Because of the age of the rocks, pocked and stippled by the movements of the very first multi-cellular creatures. Because you can drive from Amlwwch to Newport in a day and see mountain and marsh and plain and moor and valley and city and mine and dam and lake and river and sea-cliff and bog on that one short journey. Because the country once drove Blair to blaspheme. Because it can be home.

From the Guardian 12th May 2007

One of my favourite bloggers Nan of Letters from a Hill Farm fame has asked me for recommendations for books set in Wales or by Welsh authors so I am beginning by mentioning a few off the top of my head which I have enjoyed reading.  These are just a taster to be going on with but I shall try and post more at a later date as I think of them and I hope other folk will make suggestions. Coincidentally I see that today Nan has blogged about my favourite poet Mary Oliver, I wonder if she has any Welsh genes?

Before escaping to Wales from England many moons ago I read a lot of ‘escape to the country/self sufficiency’ type books. John Seymour (not actually to my knowledge a Welsh writer) was the ‘God’ to people like me in days gone by. Among a lot of others I also enjoyed Jeanette McMullen’s books and must mention the classic Hovel in the Hills by Elizabeth West.  I have to say that being Irish I am more into Irish literature but there are of course many fine Welsh writers.

Poets to start

Dylan Thomas (of course)
Gillian Clarke,
Gwyneth Lewis
R S Thomas
Dannie Abse
Owen Sheers

Some fiction (and non-fiction)now:

On the Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin
Running for the Hills by Horatio Clare
The Presence by Dannie Abse
Eve Green by Susan Fletcher
Blue Sky July by Nia Wyn
How Green was my Valley by Richard Llewellwyn
Rape of the Fair Country by Alexander Cordell
People of the Black Mountains by Raymond Williams
All Phil Rickman’s crime/supernatural novels – set in Wales/Herefordshire.

I hope this is enough to be going on with, I have had a busy weekend (guests staying) so I  am a little brain dead today.

Bye for now or should I say Hwyl?


PS While writing this post I have sadly just discovered that the lovely lady Elizabeth West died two years ago   She used to broadcast about her escape to the country on Radio 4 years ago and she wrote two fine books A Small Country Living and The Wind in the Ash Tree (you would love then Nan). She lived not that far from where I live.

Rest in Peace Jeanine.


The bike shed said...

The Library of Wales Series is FANTASTIC - it is project based on reissuing excellent books by welsh authors that have gone out of print. I could list so many, but for starters. All now available on Amazon at the library, etc.

Emyr Humphries - A man's estate
Raymond Williams Border Country
Margiad Evans - Country Dance
Ron Berry - So Long Hector Bebb
Jeremy Brookes - Jampot Smith

And for one of the best 'welsh' books I've ever read Patrick O'Brian's first novel was set in Wales - Testimonies

Finally, Niall Grifiths - his books are shocking, profane, gritty.. and breathtakingly brilliant

Frances said...

Cait, as you may already know, I always have a stack of books waiting to be read, and am always eager to add more to that stack.

Thank you so much for this introduction to so many authors that are new to me. I will make some notes to take along with me to the library on my next visit.


Nan said...

Thank you so much! I have written all the authors/titles in my little book. And thank you 'the bike shed' - I've noted them, too. You know how there are 'challenges' all over the blogging world? Well, I wish someone would offer a Welsh one. It would be a great introduction for a lot of people. Anyhow, I so appreciate all these titles/authors. I'm looking forward to spending some reading time over there. We did spend one wonderful week in a rental house in Llangrannog in 1992.

Nan said...

Boy, I just noticed something strange. If you click my name or the name of my blog, it does come up but with this address:

Whereas, I see it as:

I wonder if everyone in the UK sees the 'uk' in the address?

And I see yours as: