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Christien Gholson's Blog Entries

From 2-3.30pm today (Monday 15th December), Jane Parry will be in conversation with Legendary punk rock musician, antiquarian and author Rhys Mwyn on Radio Môn discussing her most recent book, Lessons in Impermanence.

Be sure to tune in to hear what happens when you pluck a family from a Welsh hillside and transplant them to a French field, and how renovate a derelict pig shed pas de finance, among other trials and tribulations of country living.

Dan Tyte
"A lethal cocktail of Bukowski and Mad Men, finished with a twist of dry Welsh wit."- Mike Williams, NME Editor 
"Unflinching and razor sharp, Half Plus Seven will make you wince and chuckle in equal measure, and then it'll melt your heart." — Rachel Trezise
"A coming-of-age novel snorting with energy, outrage and scatological detail, it is in places eye-watering. Yet what disarms is Bill’s quasi-religious yearning for order and goodness, plus an outrageous honesty which refuses to compromise."  The Daily Mail
Twenty-nine years old with a less than healthy appetite for booze and a buzz, Bill lived in a messy rented room, sold his soul daily in a PR agency and couldn’t remember the name of the last woman he screwed. He was a disappointment to his family but indicative of his generation.
That was until a £10 psychic and a hanging cat came along to save him. And her. The one whose name he remembered.
This is a tale of redemption for Generation Y. Your generation. Watch him. Loathe him. Learn from him. Love him. You never know, after the journey he goes on, the angels might just have to save a seat for Bill after all.
A coming-of-age-late tale as a jaded PR man seeks meaning and love in his life and addresses past, present and future along with a misfit cast of mystics, tramps, bar flies and copywriters.

Georgia Carys Williams' debut collection and Dai Smith's comprehensive chronicle of the Welsh short-story form received glowing praise in John Lavin's recent 'Short Story Collections of 2014' article for WAR.

For Lavin, the two Story volumes are "destined to be regarded as Welsh classics", with particular praise reserved for volume two, "a bold and brilliant affair teeming with evidence of the current rude health of Welsh literature, featuring such contemporary marvels as Jon Gower’s ‘Bunting’, Rachel Trezise’s ‘Fresh Apples’ and Jo Mazelis’ ‘Too Perfect’." In assembling these two anthologies, he recognises that Smith has cleverly drawn attention to the way that these stories mirror changes in both Welsh society and "to the remarkable depth of quality in the Welsh short story tradition." He finishes by stating that this "is a depth that is perhaps not as widely recognised outside of Wales as it might be and as such this is a book to prize and to champion."

Fi Glover introduces a successful writer Gee Williams (twice shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year) and her physicist husband David as they embark on writing a novel together, proving once again it's surprising what you hear when you listen. How do you work together, what do you sacrifice, and how are there approaches different to their work?
The Listening Project is a Radio 4 initiative that offers a snapshot of contemporary Britain in which people across the UK volunteer to have a conversation with someone close to them about a subject they've never discussed intimately before. The conversations are being gathered across the UK by teams of producers from local and national radio stations who facilitate each encounter. Every conversation - they're not BBC interviews, and that's an important difference - lasts up to an hour, and is then edited to extract the key moment of connection between the participants. Most of the unedited conversations are being archived by the British Library and used to build up a collection of voices capturing a unique portrait of the UK in the second decade of the millennium. You can learn more about The Listening Project by visiting
Producer: Marya Burgess.

Mslexia reviews Second-Hand Rain by Georgia Carys Williams: 'Williams' writing is at once uplifting and upsetting - I cried twice [...] I loved the unpredictability of the collection [...]From a lyrebird to a doomed fetus, each character is completely submerged in their own authentic world.'


Read the review in full in the latest edition of Mslexia 

Buy Second-Hand Rain from Parthian (or all good bookshops on and offline).


One of our founding partners, Publisher Richard Davies, is among the five experts giving their tips on perfecting the written word and the next great Welsh novel in this Book Week article in the Western Mail.

“We’re looking for the new great Welsh novel – where is it?

“Sian Philips and the Wales Arts Review have just announced that the Great Welsh Novel is One Moonlit Night by Caradog Pritchard. Anointed by popular public vote, from a shortlist which included Border Country by Raymond Williams, On the Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin and Shifts by Christopher Meredith, Caradog Pritchard’s dark tale of childhood and adolescence in a north Wales village has succeeded in winning this major accolade.
“Books matter and good books last but what makes a classic?
“As a reader and a publisher it is what keeps you reading, the surprise of a new style, a writer with something to say, a good story to tell.“

Please see this page for further details or to order.

A signed colour plate hardback edition of Dannie Abse’s Goodbye, Twentieth Century is a part of twenty-five limited sets of the whole series of the Library of Wales, available from Parthian this December. Dannie signed the colour plate of his portrait by Josef Herman, which is in the National Museum of Wales collection, on publication in 2012.

Dannie's rich mixture of Welsh and Jewish backgrounds, and his dual occupations of doctor and author, have led to what is widely regarded as one of the most readable, humorous and poignant autobiographies available today. Goodbye, Twentieth Century incorporates his acclaimed first volume of autobiography, A Poet in the Family, and in this new edition from the Library of Wales brings his life up to the present day and the outset of a new century. It includes a moving epilogue that speaks of his recent years which brought tragedy and dramatic change to his life.

Cynan Jones, author of Betty Trask Award-winning The Long Dry (Parthian, 2006) and Everything I Found on the Beach (Parthian, 2011), was recently asked by The Guardian to choose his top 10 books which best evince the "mythic power of place" that is to be found in the rolling hills, solitary farm communities and weathered mountain crags of rural Wales.

Wales’s physical landscape changes dramatically region by region. The Beacons differ from Snowdonia differ from the Cambrian Mountains differ from the Preselis. There are isolated hill farms, wealthy border farms, small patchwork farms – all within relatively close distance. But the individuality of each place and the characters who live in them is strong. Landscape, then, is a strong if not main protagonist in the books below. But there’s a thing that seems to seep time and again into those landscapes: myth. Myth that sticks in the treads of boots and gets walked all through these stories…

For BBC Economics Editor Robert Peston, In the Chair by Andrew Green is ‘An excellent guide for those who perform that most under-rated and important of roles; chairing a group' and The Bay concurs, praising the fact that the book 'is concise and digestible without sacrificing any relevant and useful information.' 
Also reviewed recently in The Welsh Agenda, Issue 53, was Leighton Andrew's Ministering to Education by Rajvi Glasbrook Griffiths.
He writes that 'Candour is really the strength of the book, particularly so in the clarity with which Andrews describes the workings of ministerial duties and life.' Additionally: 
'The meetings; the people; the internal power jostling; the ‘silo mentality’ blocking so much inter-departmental communication; lack of corporate memory; dubious degrees of accountability; initiative compounding initiative within a culture of cosy consensus in, too often, a ‘quango mentality culture of sweetheart deals with local authorities’: all pitfalls described with vim, humour and self-deprecation.'
Both books are available now. 
In the Chair can be found Read more