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Christien Gholson's Blog Entries


Been a bit disappointed by the rather international feel of shortlists recently? The Guardian’s Not the Booker prize longlist has been announced and includes SEVEN (count ‘em!) Welsh titles. We’re so excited to see this, and we need your help to get a Welsh title on to the shortlist. Only six books can go through in to the next round…

Vote (in the comments list) here, by Sunday 3rd August, by nominating the two titles, by two different publishers, that you would like to see represented in the shortlist, with a brief review stating why. Drop whatever you’re doing (unless you need to have a glance through our handy guide to the Welsh contenders below), pop over to The Guardian website and earn the warm glow of our never-ending gratitude. (You know you want it...)


So muses Dan Tyte, author of Half Plus Seven, on the news that it’s been selected for the Kindle summer sale.

The season of hopefully purchased beach/garden/park/pub garden/rowing boat/in flight reads is officially here when Kindle launch their discounted summer list.

You’ll spot some familiar titles. In addition to Dan Tyte’s tricksy tramp through the murky world of Public Relations, as Bill McDare attempts to rebrand his own disappointing gen-Y life and re-infuse it with love and meaning, there’s Kit Habianic’s Until Our Blood is Dry, where trouble is brewing... It’s time to defend jobs, the pits and a way of life that has formed both the life of valley and the nation. And as the strike begins to drive the Pritchard family apart, it’s time for Gwyn, Scrapper and Helen to pick their sides… Shortlisted for the Daily Mail First Novel Competition, Kit’s debut centres on the 1984-5 Miners’ Strike and is currently serialised in the Western Mail to mark the strike’s anniversary.

Amongst the enticing listings, you’ll also see recent Wales Book of the Year winning fiction in the shape of The Rice Paper Diaries by Francesca Rhydderch and Rhian Elizabeth’s excellent debut novel Six Pounds Eight Ounces. I’m personally flirting with The Nudists by Guy Bellamy, and Saki’s Improper Stories.

Well, it would be rude not to, and assorted retail clichés. Which other lives will you visit this summer?

Here’s another installment of “Poetry…I just don’t get it”. A series where I send some good poems out into the world with an explanation by the poet – in the hopes that the average non-poet reader will explore the realm of Poetry Land with less fear (or anger), and maybe buy a book or two. Or three. 

The last two episodes can be found here(Michaela Kahn) and here(Erling Friis-Baastad). 

This month: a poem by Gretchen Primack, from her collection Kind (Post Traumatic Press, 2013). The title plays with the idea of what kind means. Kind is sometimes a noun, defining class or group (human, animal, etc.). This definition usually creates difference, a sense of us vs. them, and so, alienation. Kind can also be an adjective, meaning benevolent, loving, or considerate.

Keslowena to Katherine Stansfield, winner of Best Adult Fiction at the 2014 Holyer an Gof awards. Her debut The Visitor, a historical novel shivering and flashing with visions as elusive as the fish at the centre of its story, was announced as the winner on July 15th, at the awards evening in Truro Waterstones.

The Visitor is a novel steeped in the coast and people of Cornwall, set in a village inspired by St Ives, and follows the waning fortunes of the pilchard fishing industry. The novel slips between 1880 and 1936, as Pearl, exiled from her home in favour of holiday makers, turns to the memory of her great love, and loss, Nicholas. But will he return?

The annual awards, for books with a Cornish connection, is funded by the Gorsedh Council and were instigated in 1996 to raise the standard and profile of publishing in Cornwall.


After months of deliberation, the results of The Wales Book of the Year 2014 were announced at the award ceremony which took place on the 10th July in Galeri Caernarfon, in North Wales.  
The judging panel this year included journalist Jasper Rees, Swansea comic Nadia Kamil, and lecturer Andrew Webb.
Two authors who have previously been published by Parthian walked away with the individual catagory prize of a stainless steel trophy designed by installation artist Angharad Pearce Jones and £2,000. Meic Stephens won the Creative Non-fiction category for A Writer's Life - the first full biography of Rhys Davies, one of Wales’ most prolific writers - while Tyler Keevil, who has had two books issued by Parthian - Fireball (2010) and Burrard Inlet (2014) - won the People’s Choice Award for his novel The Drive (2013, published by Myriad Editions), a tale about a wannabe filmmaker’s surreal road trip to California in the company of a fractious flea-ridden cat. Jemma L. King's Dylan Thomas Prize-shortlisted collection The Shape of a Forest (2013) was also nomiated for the Roland Mathias Prize for Poetry.
Elsewhere, congratulations must be offered to Owen Sheers, who won the English-Language Wales Book of the Year 2014, as well as the Roland Mathias Poetry Award for his verse-drama book Pink Mist, published by Faber & Faber in 2013.


Bookshy, an online Zimbabwean blogger with a love of African literature, has listed the top 50 books by African women that everyone should read before they die.

This September Sun by Bryony Rheam, published by Parthian, has appeared on the list.  Bryony, born in Zimbabwe in 1974, lived there until she was 18 when she moved to the UK where she spent 7 years working towards her MA at the University of Kent at Canterbury. After completing her degree, she taught in Singapore for one year when she decided in 2001 to return to Zimbabwe.

Her début novel This September Sun, shadows the life of Ellie, a shy girl growing up in post-Independence Zimbabwe, with a longing to escape the isolation of the small-town life.  When she immigrates to Britain, it seems as if her dream has finally come true.  However, when her grandmother is brutally murdered, life is not how she imagined, especially when a set of diaries proclaiming her grandmother’s dangerous affair with a powerful man are exposed…

This Saturday (12th of July), the Raymond Williams Foundation invite you to The Epicentre, Leytonstone in London at 8pm for The Dragon and the Eagle: The Story of Welsh Emigration to America.

Discover, through Colin Thomas' reading and videos extracts narrated by Cerys Matthews, the story of the first emigrants from Wales to America and their dilemmas – for instance how to retain language and culture while adjusting to the demands and pressures of a new situation.

The first emigrants from Wales to America came in order to escape religious and political persecution. Later Welsh emigrants arrived in search of work, coalminers and steelworkers bringing their skills as America rapidly industrialised.

The event will attempt to answer how migrants might become good citizens of their new country whilst holding on to the language, values and culture of the country they left behind. The talk will also include extracts from Colin Thomas' forthcoming ebook, The Dragon and the Eagle.

For further details see



Katherine Stansfield’s debut novel The Visitor has been shortlisted for the 2014 Holyer an Gof Publishers’ Awards, for books with a Cornish connection, funded by the Gorsedh Council.

The annual awards were instigated in 1996 to raise the standard and profile of publishing in Cornwall. The winners will be announced at Truro Waterstones on the 15th July. Chons da Kath!



English PEN, a charity that promotes the freedom to read and write in the UK and around the world, has awarded a grant to Parthian Books through their PEN Translates programme to support the translation costs of the second novel in a trilogy by Wiliam Owen Roberts.

Petrograd, the first novel in the series, shadows the history of two families before, during and after the Russian revolution of 1917, and will be published by Parthians in spring 2015 as it has already been translated.

Paris, the Writers in Translation programme’s first award-winning title translated from the Welsh, is the second novel in Wiliam Owen Robert’s trilogy and will be translated by Elisabeth Roberts.

Gunshots silence the world, their ricochet is still felt fifty years on: the death of a President – John F. Kennedy.

I wasn’t born but like so many, am fascinated by the conspiracy theories. It isn’t an abnormal fascination – probably the same as most of you – but one day, on a mission to hone the craft of the fiction writer, an image formed in my head. A larger-than-life African-American retired police psychic being interviewed by a small-time reporter in a suburb of Dallas. The woman leans forward in her chair, big black fingers wrapped over a child’s silver locket and she says, 'It belonged to a little girl; a little girl who disappeared from the grassy knoll at the exact moment Kennedy was assassinated and is still missing'.

It seemed like a great premise for a story, one in which fact and fiction could brush right up alongside one another, with a question that could really hook a reader: what happened to the little girl, why is she still missing? And more importantly: what did she see that day?