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40+ Books by Welsh Writers

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus! as we say in the Land of My Fathers (that’s Welsh for “Happy St David’s Day”). Blessed with soul-stirring hymns and arias, enchanting legends, verdant valleys and a stunning coastline, Wales is also blessed when it comes to world-class literary talent, as this collection dedicated to singing the praises of Welsh wordsmiths reveals. Read on to discover a host of books worth harping on about and cwtching up with (that’s Welsh for a special kind of hug that feels like home).

From esteemed Celtic bards, to outstanding contemporary novelists, Wales has a richly diverse writing tradition that stretches back several hundred years, with The Mabinogion of the 14th-century representing the earliest prose stories of British literature, and Dafydd ap Gwilym considered to be one of Europe’s greatest poets of the Middle Ages. Skipping to the late nineteenth-century, Caerleon-born Arthur Machen was a hugely influential writer of supernatural fiction, made famous - and infamous - by The Great God Pan. In the early twentieth-century Wales gave us flamboyant poet and dramatist Dylan Thomas, and RS Thomas, whose spiritually-charged poetry evokes Wales’s exceptional natural beauty.

Talking of talent for conveying an exceptional sense of place, Welsh historian, journalist and travel writer Jan Morris enjoyed a remarkable career spanning seven decades. At the other end of the spectrum, mention must go to Griff Rhys Jones’ entertaining travel writing and non-fiction. Tonnes of funny fiction writers hail from Wales too, from Monty Python’s Terry Jones, to Holyhead-born comedienne, actress and novelist Dawn French, to Ruth Jones, co-creator of Gavin and Stacey.

If you’re more into thrillers than funnies, they don’t come bigger than Cardiff-born Ken Follett. His espionage epics and historical page-turners have sold over 170 million copies worldwide. For modern noir, Malcolm Pryce’s novels are highly recommended - they’re a rambunctious romp of Welsh wit and sabre-sharp satire set in Aberystwyth, where there’s only one Private Investigator in the village. Then there’s Dick Francis. Born on a Pembrokeshire farm, the jockey-turned-novelist has been acclaimed as one of the world’s finest thriller writers.

Staying in picturesque Pembrokeshire, Sarah Waters was born in the estuary town of Neyland and has authored several hugely celebrated novels, among them The Little Stranger, a chillingly gothic ghost story that’s been adapted for the big screen. Similarly accoladed, Trezza Azzopardi’s Booker Prize shortlisted novel The Hiding Place draws on the author’s experiences growing up in the Maltese community of Cardiff’s Tiger Bay. For an alternate take on Tiger Bay, Leonora Brito’s Dat’s Love and Other Stories delivers dazzling short stories set in the Bay’s Caribbean community.

A recent personal favourite is Caryl Lewis’s haunting West Wales set novel The Jeweller, published by Honno, an excellent independent press dedicated to publishing writing by Welsh women. Other Honno highlights we’ve loved here at Love Reading include The Seasoning, The Homeless Heart-throb, The Party Wall and Someone Else’s Conflict. On the subject of wonderful Welsh publishers, Cardiff-based Firefly Press publish fabulous books for children and young adults, such as the Branford Boase Award-winning Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot, and the empowering, entertaining Tulip Taylor

Lastly, since she was born to a Welsh father (albeit on the majestic Caribbean island of Dominica), Wales can lay claim to the incomparable Jean Rhys. Best known for Wide Sargasso Sea, the “My Father” piece in her unfinished autobiography, Smile Please sees Rhys ponder her Welsh roots and family, while “Overture and Beginners Please” in Sleep It Off Lady sees the autobiographical main character “packed off to responsible Aunt Clare in Wales”.

Wales’ green, green grass of home is certainly lush with literary fruit - read on to sample some of our favourites.

A Child's Christmas In Wales

A Child's Christmas In Wales

Author: Dylan Thomas Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/10/2006

The timeless classic story of Dylan Thomas's childhood Christmas memories, featuring the wonderful artwork of Kate Greenaway medallist, Edward Ardizzone in this mini hardback edition. All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged, fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hand in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. . . Dylan Thomas's lyrical account of his childhood Christmases in a small Welsh town, featuring wolves, bears, hippos and Mrs Prothero's cat, has become deservedly famous. Beautifully illustrated by award-winning artist Edward Ardizzone, this classic edition is beloved by fans of Thomas's work and a perfect Christmas gift for young readers building their own childhood Christmas memories.

Collected Later Poems 1988-2000

Collected Later Poems 1988-2000

Author: R. S. Thomas Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/03/2004

R.S. Thomas (1913-2000) is one of the major poets of our time, as well as one of the finest religious poets in the English language and Wales's greatest poet. This substantial gathering of his late poems shows us the final flowering of a truly great poet still writing at the height of his powers right through his 70s and 80s. It begins with his autobiographical sequence The Echoes Return Slow, which has been unavailable for many years, and goes up to Residues, written immediately before his death at the age of 87. These powerful poems - about time and history, the self, love, the machine, the Cross and prayer - cover all of his major areas of questioning. This is R.S. Thomas in a winter light, his fury concentrated on the inhumanity of man and modern technology, his gaze absorbed by the God he felt in Nature, but finding nourishment in 'waste places'. At the same time he writes with resigned feeling and immense insight, as well as grim humour and playful irony, of isolation, ageing, marriage and 'love's shining greenhouses'. For Thomas, 'Poetry is that / which arrives at the intellect / by way of the heart.' Collected Later Poems 1988-2000 is the sequel to R.S. Thomas's Collected Poems 1945-1990 (Dent, 1993; Phoenix Press, 1995), which only covers his collections up to Experimenting with an Amen (1986). It reprints in full the contents of R.S. Thomas's last five collections, The Echoes Return Slow (Macmillan, 1988: unavailable for many years), and Bloodaxe's Counterpoint (1990), Mass for Hard Times (1992), No Truce with the Furies (1995) and the posthumously published Residues (2002). It was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. It was followed in 2013 by Uncollected Poems and in 2016 by Too Brave to Dream.

The Great God Pan and Other Horror Stories

The Great God Pan and Other Horror Stories

Author: Arthur Machen Format: Paperback Release Date: 24/10/2019

Something pushed out from the body there on the floor, and stretched forth a slimy, wavering tentacle... Perhaps no figure better embodies the transition from the Gothic tradition to modern horror than Arthur Machen. In the final decade of the nineteenth century, the Welsh writer produced a seminal body of tales of occult horror, spiritual and physical corruption, and malignant survivals from the primeval past which horrified and scandalised-late-Victorian readers. Machen's 'weird fiction' has influenced generations of storytellers, from H. P. Lovecraft to Guillermo Del Toro-and it remains no less unsettling today. This new collection, which includes the complete novel The Three Impostors as well as such celebrated tales as The Great God Pan and The White People, constitutes the most comprehensive critical edition of Machen yet to appear. In addition to the core late-Victorian horror classics, a selection of lesser-known prose poems and later tales helps to present a fuller picture of the development of Machen's weird vision. The edition's introduction and notes contextualise the life and work of this foundational figure in the history of horror.

Thinking Again A Diary

Thinking Again A Diary

Author: Jan Morris Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/01/2021

The irrepressible Jan Morris-author of such classics as Venice and Trieste-is at it again: offering a vibrant set of reminiscences that remind us what a good, wise and witty companion Jan Morris has been for so many readers for so long (Alexander McCall Smith, New York Times Book Review). Like Michel de Montaigne (Danny Heitman, Wall Street Journal), Morris waxes on the ironies of modern life in all their resonant glories and inevitable stupidities-from her daily exercise (a statutory thousand paces of brisk walk ) to the troubles of Brexit; her enduring yet complicated love for America; and honest reflections on the vagaries and ailments of aging. Both intimate and luminously wise, Thinking Again is a testament to the virtues of embracing life, creativity, and, above all, kindness.

In My Mind's Eye A Thought Diary

In My Mind's Eye A Thought Diary

Author: Jan Morris Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/05/2019

'I have never before in my life kept a diary of my thoughts, and here at the start of my ninth decade, having for the moment nothing much else to write, I am having a go at it. Good luck to me.' So begins this extraordinary book, a collection of diary pieces that Jan Morris wrote for the Financial Times over the course of 2017. A former soldier and journalist, and one of the great chroniclers of the world for over half a century, she writes here in her characteristically intimate voice - funny, perceptive, wise, touching, wicked, scabrous, and above all, kind - about her thoughts on the world, and her own place in it as she turns ninety. From cats to cars, travel to home, music to writing, it's a cornucopia of delights from a unique literary figure.

Insufficiently Welsh

Insufficiently Welsh

Author: Griff Rhys-Jones Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/11/2014

Griff Rhys Jones is searching for that Welsh part of himself that he has felt ever since being forced to sing in the choir in church and pack down for the school first XV, all in suburban Essex. Join Griff on his journey through Snowdonia, Anglesey, the Gower, mid Wales, Brecon, Pembrokeshire, north Wales and Monmouthshire. Packed with all manners of weird, wonderful and enlightening facts, you'll learn as much about Wales as you do Griff. I am going out on the road to search for my Celtic roots and explore 'the land of my aunties'. The language, the landscape, rugby, dogs, legends, botany, wildlife, furniture and a bit more on the side: I looked into them all and here are the results... But is Griff Rhys Jones Insufficiently Welsh?

Rivers

Rivers

Author: Griff Rhys Jones Format: Paperback Release Date: 29/04/2010

In punts canoes and rowing boats, Griff Rhys Jones takes us on a tour of Britain's beautiful and extraordinary rivers. He battles through the gorges and waterfalls of Scotland's wild mountains, drifts across the plains of East Anglia and plunges into the Wye, exploring the legends and stories of our rivers on the way. How did man harness the power of water in feats of engineering like the Manchester Ship Canal, or the fountains at Chatsworth pr the weirs of Hertfordshire? What's it like to fall through a canyon in the Highlands, snorkel through a bog, slalom down a rapid or ride the Severn Bore? How were rivers an inspiration for Constable and the hermits of Bridgnorth? Griff investigates the love affair between cities and rivers from Liverpool's Mersey to London's Lea. From reminiscing about childhood holidays on the Suffolk Stour to taking the plunge on a wintry morning in the Tay as it rushes through Perth, Griff shares his person journeys along the river systems of Britain - always accompanied by Cadbury the faithful water dog.

Animal Tales (The Fantastic World of Terry Jones)

Animal Tales (The Fantastic World of Terry Jones)

Author: Terry Jones Format: Hardback Release Date: 24/03/2011

Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 2 June 2011. From a dog being a doctor to an elephant wanting trousers, animals doing extraordinary things  make this a wonderful collection of unusual stories. Terry Jones takes a kindly look – and a positive one – at all kinds of animal antics and Michael Foreman illustrates the whole collection perfectly capturing the jokes about the animals while retaining their dignity.

eBooks of the Month
The Fantastic World of Terry Jones: Fairy Tales

The Fantastic World of Terry Jones: Fairy Tales

Author: Terry Jones Format: Hardback Release Date: 24/03/2011

This amazing collection of wonderful stories, written by the hilarious Terry Jones and illustrated by Michael Foreman, will have both children and parents rolling with laughter. Sail to the moon with a brave and beautiful princess. Swim around the world with a talking fish. Meet a boy who has a dinosaur in his shed. A fabulous new edition of the classic story collection from Monty Python's Terry Jones. Published alongside an entirely new collection of tales Amazing marketing and publicity schedule, including an author tour, festival appearances, readings on the Monty Python's YouTube channel (which has over 125,000 subscribers) and newspaper and magazine features Illustrated by favourite award-winning illustrator Michael Foreman Stunning new hardback editions that children will treasure Other titles in the series: Animal Tales and Fantastic Stories.

According to Yes

According to Yes

Author: Dawn French Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/05/2016

21st century family life - love, death, grief, childhood, motherhood, parenthood - delivered head on by none other than comic genius Dawn French.  Rosie, after a sad occurrence in Cornwall, takes herself off to New York to work as a nanny to 8-year old twin boys who are currently living with their grandparents, Thomas and matriarchal Glenn Wilder-Bingham, as the twins father, Kemble, is divorcing their French mother and the grandmother is determined that Kemble gets custody so that she can supervise their upbringing and education.  The twins also have an 18-year old brother and they all live together in a huge apartment, complete with Polish servant. Glenn is strict and formal so Rosie enters the twins’ lives like a breath of fresh air, everyone loves Rosie except, of course, Glenn.  Generous in body and soul Rosie becomes pregnant, father unknown, splitting the whole family asunder.  How things work out is brilliantly portrayed in a great, comic, poignant, insightful read.  Thoroughly recommended.

eBooks of the Month
A Tiny Bit Marvellous

A Tiny Bit Marvellous

Author: Dawn French Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/06/2011

Winner of the Galaxy Popular Fiction Book of the Year Award 2011. A Tiny Bit Marvellous is the brilliantly observed story of a modern family all living in their own separate bubbles lurching towards meltdown. It is for anyone who has ever shared a home with that weird group of strangers we call relations. Oh and there's a dog called Poo.

eBooks of the Month
Oh Dear Silvia

Oh Dear Silvia

Author: Dawn French Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/06/2013

The much anticipated follow up to A Tiny Bit Marvellous is a wise, inventive and darkly comic tale of modern family life. Silvia Shute lies in a coma unable to speak which is good (in a way) as she hides a secret that she can never tell. But the constant stream of unforgettable visitors and their combined recollections of her colourful and independent life lead inexorably to the shocking secret coming to light. Oh Dear!

eBooks of the Month
Never Greener

Never Greener

Author: Ruth Jones Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/05/2019

The past has a habit of tracking us down. And tripping us up. When Kate was twenty-two, she had an intense and passionate affair with a married man, Callum, which ended in heartbreak. Kate thought she'd never get over it. Seventeen years later, life has moved on - Kate, now a successful actress, is living in London, married to Matt and mother to little Tallulah. Meanwhile Callum and his wife Belinda are happy together, living in Edinburgh and watching their kids grow up. The past, it would seem, is well and truly behind them all. But then Kate meets Callum again. And they are faced with a choice: to walk away from each other . . . or to risk finding out what might have been. Second chances are a rare gift in life. But that doesn't mean they should always be taken . . . 

Us Three

Us Three

Author: Ruth Jones Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/05/2021

Friends forever is a difficult promise to keep... Meet Lana, Judith and Catrin. Best friends since primary school when they swore an oath on a Curly Wurly wrapper that they would always be there for each other, come what may. After the trip of a lifetime, the three girls are closer than ever. But an unexpected turn of events shakes the foundation of their friendship to its core, leaving their future in doubt - there's simply too much to forgive, let alone forget. An innocent childhood promise they once made now seems impossible to keep.... Packed with all the heart and empathy that made Ruth's name as a screenwriter and now author, Us Three is a funny, moving and uplifting novel about life's complications, the power of friendship and how it defines us all. Prepare to meet characters you'll feel you've known all your life - prepare to meet Us Three.

Audiobooks of the Month
Edge of Eternity

Edge of Eternity

Author: Ken Follett Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/07/2015

As the decisions made in the corridors of power bring the world to the brink of oblivion, five families from across the globe are brought together in an unforgettable tale of passion and conflict during the Cold War. When Rebecca Hoffmann, a teacher in East Germany, finds herself pursued by the secret police, she discovers that she has been living a lie. Her younger brother, Walli, longs to escape across the Berlin Wall to Britain to become part of the burgeoning music scene. In the United States, George Jakes, a bright young lawyer in the Kennedy administration, is a fierce supporter of the Civil Rights movement - as is the woman he is in love with, Verena, who works for Martin Luther King, Jr. Boarding a Greyhound bus in Washington to protest against segregation, they begin a fateful journey together. Russian activist, Tania Dvorkin, narrowly evades capture for producing an illegal news sheet. Her actions are made all the more perilous as her brother, Dimka, is a rising star in the heart of the Communist Party in the Kremlin. From the deep south of America to the vast expanses of Siberia, from the shores of Cuba to the swinging streets of Sixties London, Edge of Eternity is a sweeping tale of the fight for individual freedom in a world gripped by the mightiest clash of superpowers anyone has ever known. *Includes family tree*

eBooks of the Month
Winter of the World

Winter of the World

Author: Ken Follett Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/09/2013

Berlin in 1933 is in upheaval. Eleven-year-old Carla von Ulrich struggles to understand the tensions disrupting her family as Hitler strengthens his grip on Germany. Into this turmoil steps her mother's formidable friend and former British MP, Ethel Leckwith, and her student son, Lloyd, who soon learns for himself the brutal reality of Nazism. He also encounters a group of Germans resolved to oppose Hitler - but are they willing to go so far as to betray their country? Such people are closely watched by Volodya, a Russian with a bright future in Red Army Intelligence. The international clash of military power and personal beliefs that ensues will sweep over them all as it rages from Cable Street in London's East End to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, from Spain to Stalingrad, from Dresden to Hiroshima. At Cambridge Lloyd is irresistibly drawn to dazzling American socialite Daisy Peshkov, who represents everything his left-wing family despise. But Daisy is more interested in aristocratic Boy Fitzherbert - amateur pilot, party lover and leading light of the British Union of Fascists. Back in Berlin, Carla worships golden boy Werner from afar. But nothing will work out the way they expect as their lives and the hopes of the world are smashed by the greatest and cruellest war in the history of the human race. Winter of the World is the second novel in Ken Follett's uniquely ambitious and deeply satisfying trilogy 'The Century'.

eBooks of the Month
Fall of Giants

Fall of Giants

Author: Ken Follett Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/06/2011

The first in a trilogy, this sweeping historical epic follows the fate of five families as they move through the years from the coronation of George V in 1911, through the First World War, the Russian Revolution and beyond. From the poverty stricken coal miners to the aristocratic walls of power this huge novel is complex, dramatic, intriguing and unputdownable. A master story teller, Follett, has produced a great and glorious saga.  

eBooks of the Month
Whiteout

Whiteout

Author: Ken Follett Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/05/2005

Missing vials of a deadly virus hold a desperate bunch together during a Christmas blizzard. Scary, thrilling, one of his best and totally compulsive. Whatever this man’s subject matter, from mediaeval history, World War II to contemporary thriller, he is always brilliant. All his books are highly recommended to both genders and all ages. Comparison: Clare Francis, Nelson DeMille, Jack Higgins.Similar this month: Guy Walters, Jeffery Deaver.

eBooks of the Month
The Man From St Petersburg

The Man From St Petersburg

Author: Ken Follett Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/05/2019

The Man From St Petersburg is a dark tale of family secrets and political consequences. Ken Follett's masterful storytelling brings to life the danger of a world on the brink of war. A Secret Negotiation 1914. Tensions are rising as Europe finds itself caught in a web of alliances and dangerous warmongering. To help tip the balance in their favour Britain aims to draw Russia into an alliance with them instead of Germany. Czar Nicholas's nephew, Prince Aleksei, is sent to London for secret naval talks with Lord Walden. A Play for Power Walden has a personal connection to Aleksei; his wife Lydia, is Aleksei's aunt. But they are not the only ones interested in his arrival, including Walden's daughter Charlotte, wilful, idealistic and with an awakening social conscience, Basil Thompson, head of Special Branch, and Felix Kschessinky, a ruthless Russian anarchist. A World at War With the British desperately needing a signed treaty and the fate of the world hanging in the balance, the destinies of these characters become inextricably linked as the final private tragedy which threatens to shatter the Waldens' complacency is acted out.

On Wings of Eagles

On Wings of Eagles

Author: Ken Follett Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/05/2019

On Wings of Eagles is the thrilling novel based on the incredible real-life rescue of two Americans by a Green Beret colonel and a group of corporate executives from revolutionary Iran, from number one bestseller Ken Follett. A Terrifying Prison As Iran descends into revolution, two Americans get caught up in the upheaval. They are captured and held in a heavily guarded fortress. Their situation is desperate, with the US government refusing to get them out. But all hope is not lost . . . A Daring Rescue This is the fictionalised real-life story of a Green Beret colonel, who came out of retirement to lead a secret raid; the computer executives, shaped into a crack commando team; and the Texas industrialist, Ross Perot, who would not abandon two Americans in an Iranian jail. A Dangerous Escape Breaking the prisoners out is only the beginning of the mission. In order to get to the safety of the Turkish border, they must make a treacherous overland journey whilst avoiding an enemy that is closing in . . .

Silks

Silks

Author: Dick Francis, Felix Francis Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/05/2009

Dick Francis was shortlisted for the Specsavers ITV3 Crime Thriller Bestseller Dagger 2009.   The second collaboration between Dick Francis and his son Felix brings us another great mystery thriller from one of the nations favourite authors. Murder at the race track, of course, when a jockey is found with a pitchfork through his chest.

eBooks of the Month
Crossfire

Crossfire

Author: Dick Francis, Felix Francis Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/09/2010

Felix is Dick’s younger of his two sons and he has increasingly over the last 10 or so years helped his father in the writing of his thrilling racing novels and for the last forty years has worked with him on the research for each one.  The last four thrillers of which this is the fourth credit both Dick and Felix for the writing and clearly much of Dick’s talent has rubbed off very successfully to his younger son for Crossfire is Francis at his sublime best, mixing the murky world of racing with murder and intrigue.  Dick’s sad death at the start of 2010 will no doubt put the pressure on Felix to take on his father’s mantle – we certainly hope so.

eBooks of the Month
Aberystwyth Mon Amour

Aberystwyth Mon Amour

Author: Malcolm Pryce Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/02/2009

  Schoolboys are disappearing all over Aberystwyth and nobody knows why. Louie Knight, the town's private investigator, soon realises that it is going to take more than a double ripple from Sospan, the philosopher cum ice-cream seller, to help find out what is happening to these boys and whether or not Lovespoon, the Welsh teacher, Grand Wizard of the Druids and controller of the town, is more than just a sinister bully. And just who was Gwenno Guevara?

eBooks of the Month
From Aberystwyth with Love

From Aberystwyth with Love

Author: Malcolm Pryce Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/04/2010

LOUIE KNIGHT - the madcap and often poignant adventures of the only private eye in Aberystwyth. As if Monty Python had met Chandler’s Philip Marlowe. Affectionate and quite unique in tone and plotting and a sheer delight. FROM ABERYSTWYTH WITH LOVE is the 5th in the series.   Lovereading view... More from the ‘king of Welsh noir’ Pryce brings us another delicious mix of crooks and conmen told with his wry wit and slight nod to the absurd and Louie Knight trying his best to keep Aberystwyth’s crime element in check.   Louie Knight series: 1. Aberystwyth Mon Amour2. Last Tango in Aberystwyth3. The Unbearable Lightness of Being in Aberystwyth4. Don't Cry for Me Aberystwyth5. From Aberystwyth with Love

eBooks of the Month
The Unbearable Lightness of Being in Aberystwyth

The Unbearable Lightness of Being in Aberystwyth

Author: Malcolm Pryce Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/02/2009

The third in this black comic series about Detective Louis Knight as he moves through the dark underworld of a fictional Aberystwyth.  Humour, mystery, tragedy, satire, these books have it all.  Special and unique, I do think you would appreciate them more if you started with the first, Aberystwyth Mon Amour.Similar this month: None.Comparison: Jasper Fforde, Andy Secombe, Jeff Lindsay.   Maxim Jakubowski, a Lovereading expert voice says: Louie Knight; the madcap and often poignant adventures of the only private eye in Aberystwyth. As if Monty Python had met Chandler’s Philip Marlowe. Affectionate and quite unique in tone and plotting and a sheer delight. FROM ABERYSTWYTH WITH LOVE is the 5th in the series.     Louie Knight series: 1. Aberystwyth Mon Amour2. Last Tango in Aberystwyth3. The Unbearable Lightness of Being in Aberystwyth4. Don't Cry for Me Aberystwyth5. From Aberystwyth with Love

eBooks of the Month
Black Apples of Gower

Black Apples of Gower

Author: Iain Sinclair Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/07/2016

Iain Sinclair, the celebrated author and psycho-geographer, walks back along the blue-grey roads and cliff-top paths of his childhood in south Wales, rediscovering the Gower peninsula. Provoked by the strange and enigmatic series of paintings Afal du Brogwyr (Black Apple of Gower) made by the artist Ceri Richards in the 1950s, Sinclair leaves behind the familiar murky elsewheres of his life in Hackney, London, carrying an envelope of photographs and old postcards, along with fragments of memory. He soon realises that a series of walks over the same ground - Port Enyon Point to Worm's Head have become significant waymarks in his life. His recollections of a meeting with the poet Vernon Watkins, the art of Richards and the poetry of Dylan Thomas lead him to his final quest, the Paviland Cave where in 1823 human remains 36,000 years old were discovered.

The Paying Guests

The Paying Guests

Author: Sarah Waters Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/06/2015

Shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2015. London 1922.  Frances and her mother lost all their male relatives in the war and are left struggling with a big house in Camberwell.  They take in lodgers, a young married couple.  The author is well known for her tales of gay relationships so it is no surprise when Frances and the young lodger’s wife, Lily, have an affair.  But it is a surprise to them.  Their passion escalates resulting in a tragedy.  When an innocent boy is charged with murder the girls have hard decisions to face.  This is a fascinating tale of class, sex and the consequences of a passionate affair.  It is tense with an unexpected ending, certainly a page-turner with the backdrop of a dreary London so vividly described; Sarah Waters at her best.  Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.

eBooks of the Month
The Little Stranger

The Little Stranger

Author: Sarah Waters Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/01/2010

  Featured on The TV Book Club on More4 on 17 January 2010.   Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2009.   The latest novel from prize-wining author Sarah Waters is a gothic ghost story, set in a run-down country house just after WWII. It centres upon a doctor who is called to attend a patient there and the events that slowly begin to unfold. It's full of atmosphere and is story-telling at its best.

eBooks of the Month
Night Watch

Night Watch

Author: Sarah Waters Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/02/2007

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2006. Tender, tragic and beautifully poignant, set against the backdrop of feats of heroism both epic and ordinary, here is a novel of relationships that offers up subtle surprises and twists. Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2006, The Night Watch is thrilling. The Lovereading Reader's choice for the Orange Prize 2006.

eBooks of the Month
Fingersmith

Fingersmith

Author: Sarah Waters Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/02/2003

'We were all more or less thieves at Lant Street. But we were that kind of thief that rather eased the dodgy deed along, than did it. We could pass anything, anything at all, at speeds which would astonish you. There was only one thing, in fact, that had come and got stuck - one thing that had somehow withstood the tremendous pull of that passage - one thing that never had a price put to it. I mean of course, Me.'

eBooks of the Month
The Song House

The Song House

Author: Trezza Azzopardi Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/05/2010

  June 2010 Good Housekeeping selection.   The fourth novel from Welsh author Trezza Azzopardi, The Song House combines lyricism with a compelling slowburner of a plot. When mousey Maggie takes on the job of cataloguing the music collection of local eccentric Kenneth Earl, a menacing connection from the past comes to the fore – and the story builds into an exhilarating climax.

eBooks of the Month
The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place

Author: Trezza Azzopardi Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/07/2014

Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2000 This brilliant first novel is set in the Maltese community of Tiger Bay in Cardiff where the author grew up. Dolores, the narrator tells the story of her childhood - her father, Frankie, a compulsive gambler who, due to a misunderstanding at the moment of her birth (he is convinced that his wife will finally give birth to a boy after a multitude of daughters) loses everything to his rival Joe Medora, head of the Maltese Mafia. Frankie's gambling leads to the fire which disfigures Dolores. There is a terrifyingly vivid scene as Dolores remembers watching her hand being burnt in the fire that destroys their home and the moment when Joe claims one of Frankie's daughters as his own. The author evokes the world of Dolores and her family with brilliant power and sensitivity. The novel flits between past and present as Dolores reflects on her childhood and the lives that her father created for himself and his children.

The Dat's Love and Other Stories

The Dat's Love and Other Stories

Author: Leonora Brito Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/03/2017

Brito's stories engage primarily with the Cardiff of her youth, most notably the Docks and Tiger Bay. She was the first of a group of writers who heralded a feminist renaissance in short story writing in Wales. Her stories are full of light and life, and the descriptions are marked by an unusual exactness and sense of place. They are unique in Welsh fiction in that they present an insider's perspective on a Black history and culture of Wales only alluded to by other writers. She was working on a second collection at the time her death.

The Jeweller

The Jeweller

Author: Caryl Lewis, Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/09/2019

Suffused in the haunting longings and losses of complex, compelling Mari, The Jeweller shines with mysterious originality. Mari is a market stallholder in a West Wales seaside town whose wares come from clearing the houses of the dead, and who spends hour after hour fashioning a perfect emerald. Throughout, the language is exquisitely vivid, the story dappled with shocking, jarring moments, such as when Mari is publicly accused of being responsible for a man’s death, and the depiction of her pet monkey’s degeneration. And then there’s the unexpected discovery that leads to a reunion that releases Mari to a new life. Gleaming with precise lyricism (kudos to translator Gwen Davies, who rendered it from the original Welsh), this mesmeric novel has a truly mythic quality.

The Seasoning

The Seasoning

Author: Manon Steffan Ros Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/05/2015

A novel to tease your senses and surprise your soul, this is a beautifully bittersweet read. Peggy’s son asks her to write her story, so she writes a recipe and with each recipe comes a slice of history, a memory, a connection. Each chapter and recipe is headed by the name of the person telling their story, their connection to Peggy and the year. Each person narrates their own memory, their tales fusing together with both heart and soul to unmask the essence of Peggy. Manon Steffan Ros writes with an exquisitely sharp blade, every distinct part adding up to become a perfectly flawed whole. Covering a period of just over seventy years, the separate tales evoke a flood of contrasting emotions. The Seasoning is a charming, heartbreaking and captivating novel which deserves high praise indeed. ~ Liz Robinson   A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... The Seasoning looks beneath the surface of a happy family and finds swirling emotional undercurrents that dragged me in and left me breathless. As a young girl, Peggy survives by her wits, nourished by the compassion of outsiders. As an adult she gives love and succour as freely as her mouthwatering recipes are shared with readers of the book. But hidden behind the kindnesses is a secret as dark and sticky as the treacle she stirs into her ginger cake. Evocative and emotionally intelligent, The Seasoning is unputdownable in Welsh or English! I loved it enough to persuade the author to rewrite it in a second language. ~ Caroline Oakley, Editor, Honno Press

eBooks of the Month
The Homeless Heart-Throb

The Homeless Heart-Throb

Author: Crystal Jeans Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/08/2019

A sweary, sexy, thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining tale set in a Welsh town. A homeless man sits just off centre stage, though this is actually very much an ensemble piece. Individual stories, each able to exist on their own, combine to become a complete and oh so fabulous community tale. The chapter headings serve as a siren like call to read. Crystal Jeans has created fascinating and unique snapshots, some made me shout with laughter, while in others I flinched. There are some very human attributes and an awful lot of feeling to be found and explored along the way. I particularly enjoyed the apparently randomness of the time line, which zig-zags and throws thoughts skywards. The Homeless Heart-Throb is clever, different, and it just roars along as it fans the provocative flames - loved it!.

Books of the Month
The Party Wall

The Party Wall

Author: Stevie Davies Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/09/2020

What an absolutely chilling and incredibly gripping tale this is! When Freya’s husband dies, her neighbour Mark begins to plot and plan his way into her life. The first chapter pulled me up short, it had so much power, the words in themselves so quiet, yet they hurled a storm of awareness at me. Focusing on either Freya or Mark the penetrating storyline had the ability to both draw me in and cause consternation. Stevie Davies has a beautifully twisted pen, her writing really spoke to me. The little things matter, they build to create the most unnerving picture of obsession and I almost wanted to read while hiding behind a cushion. Yet this isn’t an obvious in-your-face fright-fest, it is a thoughtfully observed piece with fully formed characters. Sliding its way rather stealthily into thoughts, The Party Wall is an intense, stimulating read. I didn’t want to put it down, and have chosen this novel as one of my Liz Picks of the Month.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Riverflow

Riverflow

Author: Alison Layland Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/06/2019

A suspense filled, dramatic story surrounds a couple as they grieve the death of a loved one. Bede and Elin live on the banks of the river Severn, environmentally conscious, they attempt to live their lives off-grid. When the village is threatened with fracking and accusations are thrown their way, their marriage not only takes the strain, danger beckons. Alison Layland balances the turmoil in the story quite beautifully with the descriptions of the countryside and surroundings. A hidden diary occasionally rears its head, spilling secrets, altering thoughts. Bede and Elin felt entirely real to me, the fractures in their relationship and sense of self are tangible. Menace and intrigue walk hand in hand through the pages, adding a sharp edge to the tale.  As the story powers towards its conclusion, the tension reaches breaking point. Riverflow is a fascinating, thoughtful, and compelling tale with real bite.

Someone Else's Conflict

Someone Else's Conflict

Author: Alison Layland Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/11/2014

January 2015 Debut of the Month. A surprisingly sensitive and compassionate thriller where the lurking suspense surges forward and delivers blasts of turbulence and ferocity. This is subtle clever writing, you’re encouraged to fully invest in the characters before the tension really starts to increase. Layers upon layers of intrigue are laid at your feet, it is easy to sympathise with Marilyn as she attempts to understand the enigmatic Jay and how his past in Yugoslavia is holding his emotions to ransom. Interspersed through the main story, are vivid jolts of reality from a past conflict and the tales Jay tells for a living; the fascinating blend helps to keep you a little unbalanced but is entirely captivating. This is much more than just a thriller, at it’s heart it is a story about friendship, responsibility, remorse and how the past can incarcerate and command everyday lives. ~ Liz Robinson   A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... 'Who can forget the tragic scenes transmitted from the Balkans when the state of Yugoslavia began to split at the seams? Debut novelist Alison Layland’s Someone Else’s Conflict brought it all back in Technicolor the moment I picked up the manuscript. This is a tense and insightful book which looks at how we process tragedy and come to terms with the idealistic actions of our youth. At the same time it’s a gripping mystery with a haunting secret. A psychological thriller for armchair historians, lovers and freedom fighters alike…' - Caroline Oakley, Editor, Honno Ltd

eBooks of the Month
Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot

Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot

Author: Horatio Clare Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/09/2015

Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award and Winner of The Branford Boase Award 2016. One of our Books of the Year 2015. This is a special and unusual book. It features some beautiful writing, and conjures up the sights, sounds and smells of the English countryside with such clarity that you’ll feel the damp ground beneath your feet, but it’s also a moving and thoughtful description of a young boy trying to help his father through depression. From his first breath Aubrey is a rambunctious child and his parents are quickly aware of his capacity to cause chaos. Unknown to them however, he has hidden talents - he can talk to animals. When his father, normally so cheerful, is weighed down with a terrible sadness, the wild animals help Aubrey find ways to help, and even advise him on how to tackle the cause itself – the Terrible Yoot. It’s a story full of tenderness and understanding. ~ Andrea Reece A Piece of Passion from Penny Thomas, editor, Firefly Press   Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot by Horatio Claire, wonderfully illustrated by Jane Matthews, has the feel of a classic children’s tale, with one of the best, visionary endings I’ve ever read.  The young Aubrey tries to run before he can walk and has crashed two cars before he is old enough to drive one, but when his dad, Jim, comes under attack from an horrendous spell, Aubrey is determined to save him. With the help of the animals of Rushing Wood and a little ancient wisdom, he takes on the unkillable spirit of despair itself – the Terrible Yoot!  In his first book for children, Horatio Clare takes readers to the funny and joyful world of Aubrey’s wild and imaginative life where woods, moors and animals mix with home, parents and curious neighbours. His father’s depression, and Aubrey’s heroic responses are wonderfully imagined and told in what Michael Morpurgo describes as ‘a daring book, writing and storytelling at its best’. A review from Michael Morpurgo Well, this was a joy!  Here is writing and storytelling at its best.  Here is a wondrous tale, from a writer who loves language, makes music of it, frolics with it, who knows the wild world of his fellow creatures about him so well, loves this world so well that it is nothing for him to talk to the animals and listen to them too…Here is a tale that sweeps you along inside its magic, and its hope… A daring book, beautifully conceived, and supremely well written. Horatio Clare has the voice of a great storyteller.  As I said, a joy, a sheer joy!

Tulip Taylor

Tulip Taylor

Author: Anna Mainwaring Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/06/2019

Being the person you want to be, proving detractors wrong, overcoming fears, and revealing the importance of seeing beyond stereotypes - beauty vlogger and dictionary-lover Tulip does all this and more in this hugely entertaining novel. While she’s frequently dismissed for being “stupid, vain and self-obsessed”, Tulip knows there’s no friction between being having a brain and being a successful vlogger. She adores the metamorphic magic of make-up, the fact you “can transform yourself ” and “make every day beautiful.” As Tulip points out to handsome posh boy Harvey when he belittles her passion, her vlog represents “creativity and hard work and self-expression.” Keen to prove that Harvey’s got her wrong, Tulip takes a place on his dad’s Bear Grylls-esque survival show. With Harvey as her team leader and her fellow contestants expecting her to fail, Tulip digs deep and surprises everyone with her resourcefulness and team-spirited outlook, but not before many comic mishaps, terrifying challenges and conflicted swirls of romance. Funny, gripping and with an inspirational feel-good feminist theme, this will have readers rooting for Tulip every step of the way.

Wide Sargasso Sea

Wide Sargasso Sea

Author: Jean Rhys, Andrea Ashworth Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/10/2016

Inspired by Charlotte Bronte, Jean Rhys turns one of her stories on its head and creates an absolute masterpiece in her sublimely crisp reimaging of Jane Eyre. Through making Bertha, the "madwoman in the attic", her narrator, Rhys makes and powerful statement about agency, and who gets to have their story told.    Born into the oppressive, colonialist society of 1930s Jamaica, white Creole heiress Antoinette Cosway meets a young Englishman who is drawn to her innocent beauty and sensuality. After their marriage, however, disturbing rumours begin to circulate which poison her husband against her. Caught between his demands and her own precarious sense of belonging, Antoinette is inexorably driven towards madness, and her husband into the arms of another novel's heroine. This classic study of betrayal, a seminal work of postcolonial literature, is Jean Rhys' brief, beautiful masterpiece. Read our 'Book-aneers of the Caribbean' listicle to find more unforgettable books by Caribbean writers. Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.

Smile Please

Smile Please

Author: Jean Rhys Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/11/2016

A brilliant companion piece to Wide Sargasso Sea, this is Jean Rhys' beautifully written, bitter-sweet autobiography, covering her chequered early years in Dominica, England and Paris. Jean Rhys wrote this autobiography in her old age, now the celebrated author of Wide Sargasso Sea but still haunted by memories of her troubled past: her precarious jobs on chorus lines and relationships with unsuitable men, her enduring sense of isolation and her decision at last to become a writer. From the early days on Dominica to the bleak time in England, living in bedsits on gin and little else, to Paris with her first husband, this is a lasting memorial to a unique artist. Read our 'Book-aneers of the Caribbean' listicle to find more unforgettable books by Caribbean writers. Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.

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