Christien Gholson's Blog Entries
This year, Wales Arts Review are searching for the greatest work of long fictional prose written by a Welsh author and critic John Lavin has suggested Stevie Davies’ novel Awakening, published May 2013, as a contender for their title of Greatest Welsh Novel. Until the end of the year, Wales Arts Review will publish a series of essays by some of Wales’ top literary voices nominating a longlist of twenty five novels for the award. After all the nominating essays have been published, a public vote will take place to determinate which of the nominated titles deserves the title of the Greatest Welsh Novel. The winner will be announced at the Wales Arts Review Roundtable event toward the end of the year.
The novel Awakening deals in the destiny of sisters Anna and Beatrice Pentecost, who live in Witshire in 1860, in an era marked not only by scientific revolution, radicalism, and religious dominance, but also by the first stirrings of feminism. By focusing on the sorrows in the lives of two women, Davies examines an interesting aspect which is often neglected in history, namely how women experienced their lives in the mid-nineteenth century, at a time when women had almost no public voice at all.
Stevie Davies will be swimming from Rotherslade Beach to Snaple Point, the headland at the western end of Langland Bay, to raise money for the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund in memory of poet Nigel Jenkins, who directed Creative Writing Research at Swansea University and died of pancreatic cancer in 2014.
Nigel 'was the loveliest of human beings and the best friend, comrade, colleague, teacher one could ever have' and Stevie has planned a sponsored swim from Rotherslade Beach, Nigel's 'Plage Principale', to Snaple Point, one quiet day in August.
She has set up a page at the Just Giving website for donations in support of the swim and says, 'The Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund is doing such needful work. We know that forty years ago only 3% of people diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer survived for five years or more. Today that figure is still, shockingly, 3%.'
To support Stevie's pledge to raise £5,000 for the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund, please go to: http://www.justgiving.com/
The sun finally seems to have got its act in gear and reared its coruscating head, banishing the gloom that has hung over South Wales and beyond for many a month. So for all you purveyors of literature hitting the beach, outdoor café tables or other clichéd libraries-outside-of-libraries, look no further over the coming days than the following digital offers to stock your e-reader's virtual shelves full of quality Welsh (and international) fiction!
Firstly on the Parthian side of things, we will shortly be giving away the digital version of Sílvia Soler's seductive Look Me in the Eye, the tale of a literary translator who becomes enraptured with the author of her latest project. That's right – it's free!
Sílvia Soler i Guasch is a Catalan writer and journalist whose works have been translated into English, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Polish and Portuguese. She has written eleven novels, four of which have won awards, including the 2003 Fiter i Rossell Award for Mira'm als ulls, which was translated into Look Me in the Eye and published by Parthian in 2010.
Translate the length of time between my last blog and this as the period I've been waiting for a reply from the useless agency aforementioned. Two follow-up emails haven't elicited a result. So I've given up on them as they have on me, even though they had no reason apart from being an organisation that treats potential clients like daps covered in dog-shit. I wouldn't have them represent me even if they appeared at my door in a rented van full of gold bullion and gave me and the World's Strongest Man ten minutes to fill my garage with as much as we could carry. Perhaps that should be the World's Strongest Woman - or not (see following).
This Saturday, 8th March 2014, Palas Print is hosting a reading with Griff Rhys Jones.
Jones’ book Insufficiently Welsh was featured as Welsh Book of the Month for February in both Waterstones and WH Smith and made it to #1 in Stanford’s Best Sellers list!
Jones’ will be reading from his book and also discussing his inspirations behind it, from re-discovering his Welsh roots to the epiphany that lead to a bestselling book and his TV series A Great Welsh Adventure.
Insufficiently Welsh is a quirky and informal guide to Wales by a Welshman raised in England. Rediscovering his home country and himself Jones explores eight regions of Wales, taking part in missions that test both his body and his mind.
If you enjoyed Griff’s book, TV series, or just have a love for Wales or travel, go along to Palas Print, Caernarfon this Saturday at 11am.
Held this weekend, 6th-8th March, at the Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff, the xx festival is a literary showcase of writing both by women and for women.
The festival is for both readers and authors, new and old, and will prominently feature writing by women from Wales in English.
Since its inception in 2012 the festival has more than doubled in size and will feature everything from cutting-edge performance and a literary salon, to the launch of new authors and new books by classic authors. Plus, a festival bookstall and food and drink on site.
Three of our excellent Parthian authors are being featured at this year’s festival; Carly Holmes will be taking part in Susie Wild's literary salon discussions and readings on the Friday evening, and Kit Habianic and Jemma King will both be in the Chapter centre on Saturday afternoon.
Prolific parthian writer Nigel Jarrett, whose poetry collection Miners At The Quarry Pool was published last November, has been notching up further success in the short story form.
Jarrett's first collection of tales, Funderland, was published by Parthian in 2011 to widespread acclaim. Since the poetry book appeared, he's had stories published in Gold Dust, Words with JAM, Crannóg (Eire), Prole, ReadWave, the Erotic Review, the Wales Arts Review and the Dark Lane Quarterly. More are due shortly in The Lampeter Review and The View From Here.
Jarrett's poetry has also appeared in the English Chicago Review and The Interpreter's House.
A big hooray for Griff Rhys Jones's Insufficiently Welsh, which has just been listed by BookBrunch as #1 in Standford's Best Sellers!
Also, many thanks to those who showed up at his talk in Stanford's Covent Garden last Thursday. We heard it was pretty crowded in there!
After being selected as "Welsh Book of the Month" for February in Waterstone, WHSmith and Independent stores, here comes another well-deserved recognition for Insufficiently Welsh, and for Griff. Keep him at the top, readers!
BookBrunch (scroll down to see the list)
You can buy Insufficiently Welsh here.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise: after all, Dylan Thomas is one of the most celebrated poets from last century. Even so, it is worth mentioning that The Australian dedicated an article to the uncovering of the intimate missives sent by Thomas to his American lover. Hopefully the collection, edited by Jeff Towns in A Pearl of Great Price, will spread its fame throughout both hemispheres.