BookendsWriting Wales

Books to mark Wales’ special day

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus i chi!

daffodils in snow

March 1 is St David’s Day in Wales —St David being our patron saint — so usually a day for celebration of all things Welsh. The celebrations will be very muted this year however with schools closed and concerts cancelled because of Storm Emma, so I thought I would mark the occasion by highlighting some new books from authors and publishers based in Wales.


One Woman Walks WalesOne Woman Walks Wales. Ursula Martin is a remarkable account of a courageous woman. After a cancer diagnosis and then Ursula Martin was too weak to  walk more than a few steps. But she is a determined woman so she set a goal  to walk the four miles to her nearest post box every day. Her progress was so slow drivers would stop to offer her a lift. She persevered.

Her next goal was even more ambitious: to walk the 200 miles to her follow up appointment with the medical team. Coming out of the meeting, she headed back home on foot. And then just kept walking…..

In 17 months, she walked the length and breadth of Wales, across its beaches, up and down the coastal paths, through mountains, farms and urban sprawl.

One Woman Walks Wales is publsihed by Honno. If you order direct from their site they will make a donation of £1 to the Target Ovarian Cancer charity.

Also coming soon from Honno is Albi by Hilary Shepherd which is set in Spain in 1930s. The Civil War turns everything upside down for nine-year-old Albi and his family. They are under siege from outside and held captive by secrets within the home. Albi must sometimes close his ears and his eyes if he is to survive.

The Glass AisleSeren Books have a strong poetry collection, the newest addition to which is The Glass Aisle by Paul Henry. It features twenty eight poems including an elergy  to displaced workhouse residents, set on a stretch of canal in the Brecon Beacons National Park. A performance version of  The Glass Aisle, featuring songs co-written with fellow musician and songwriter Brian Briggs, (‘Stornoway’), is currently touring festivals.  More details can be found on the Seren website.

I mentioned another of their recent publications May by Naomi Krüger in my recent Bookends post. It’s a novel written from the perspective of a woman with dementia who is trying to piece together the fragments of her memory. Definitely one I am going to be buying.

Hummingbird.pngWelsh publisher, Parthian, is offering Hummingbird by Tristan Hughes, a lecturer in creative writing at the University of Wales. Born in  Ontario, he spent his childhood on th Welsh island of Ynys Mon. Hummingbird, his fourth novel takes him back to Canada, to a remote location where fifteen-year-old Zachary Tayler lives a lonely and isolated life with his father. One summer the enigmatic Eva Spiller arrives in search of the remains of her parents and together they embark on a strange and disconcerting journey of discovery. This novel won the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Award for 2018. More details are on the Parthian website.








What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

24 thoughts on “Books to mark Wales’ special day

  • Pingback: Books to mark Wales’ special day… – Welsh Business News from WelshBiz Blog a Welsh Business News Blog

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    • Its frustrating to see good books published in Wales and yet the big chain bookstore in our capital city seems oblivious to them

      • Understand completely. Things are improving here but only a little in those stores you talk about.

  • Do all Welsh people speak Welsh, or is it like in Ireland, where they don’t all know how to speak Irish?

    • Majority of people in Wales are English speaking. Welsh is spoken by less than 20% of the population (in some areas it is as low as 4%). It;’s had a bit of a boost because of a Welsh language act which gives Welsh and English equal status and means all public bodies have to produce their material in both languages. Problem is really that it’s not an international language so not that much use for business…

      • The situation reminds me of Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, where signs on the reservation are all now in English and Ojibwe in an effort to promote and save the language.

        • We have dual language road signs which sometimes are just ridiculous because they are trying to find a Welsh language equivalent which just doesn’t exist. So a village called Sully has ended up with a welsh place name sign of Silly. Imagine what the residents thought of that….

  • Take care… your storm has even made the news in faraway Australia.

    • My village was right in the center of the storm so we took the brunt of it. The main road out got blocked because people got stuck in cars so abandoned them. Today we haven’t budged from the house – I’ve seen people trying to drive and frankly I value my life more than their seem to value theirs……

      • Yes, it’s strange how people seem to think they can flirt with the weather… we see it here with people videoing cyclones and wading through floodwaters. Crazy…

    • Yep mine couldn’t contend with the wind either. still if that was the only damage we experienced we got off lightly

  • Happy St David’s Day. Be safe in your storm. Thanks for the Wales book selections.

    • I decided the safest place was inside my home so thats where I’ve stayed for the last two days! Getting lots of reading done as a result

  • Pingback: Book Bits: Sherman Alexie, Smoky Zeidel, ‘Freshwater,’ book covers, Amy Tan | Malcolm's Round Table

    • Likewise Paula though world book day was significantly impacted by the snow. many events cancelled

    • I keep thinking about all those hours I spent planting them. Loads of them never flowered unfortunately and I am sure its the fault of a squirrel…

      • I saw a squirrel digging up crocus bulbs in our local park. Let’s hope the daffs recover. They’e quite resilient, arent they.

        • I hope they do pop their heads above the snow line again

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