The output of the Welsh publishing sector may not be as prolific as their counterparts elsewhere in the UK, but what it lacks in numbers, it more than delivers on quality and variety.
The small community of independent and specialist publishers champion the cause of writers born in Wales and those who have chosen to make the country their home.
Here are a few titles coming out this Spring that have caught my interest.
Published this month is Wild Spinning Girls by Carol Lovekin an author I’ve enjoyed in the past (see my reviews of Ghostbird and Snow Sisters). Just like those novels, Wild Spinning Girls, features an old house that has secrets and a protagonist who has to learn to let go of the past.
The Memory by Judith Barrow also takes secrets and memories as its theme. I’ve not read any of Judith’s work yet but this one sounds interesting. It’ features the difficult relationship between a mother and her daughter. Over the course of 24 hours their moving and tragic story is revealed – a story of love and duty betrayal and loss – as Irene rediscovers the past about the sister who died 30 years earlier. The Memory is due out on 19 March.
Seren has always enjoyed a strong reputation for the spotlight it provides Welsh poets. They’re continuing to do that this year with two new collections due out in February. The first of these caught my eye simply because of the very strange cover art….
The Machineries of Joy is Peter Finch’s 26th poetry collection. Seren says it’s “chock-full of acute observation, pointed asides, startled reactions, formal dislocations and structural invention.”
Also coming out with a new collection is Andre Mangeot with Blood Rain. Many of the featured poems are inspired by the his love of the landscape of Wales and in particular the dramatic vistas of the mountains of Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons.
One of the things I’ve long admired about Parthian is the way they bring an element of diversity to their output. That’s very much in evidence again this year with books from a Sommalian refugee, a Latvian author from the Cold War era and one of the most respected voices in contemporary Welsh literature.
They have some really exciting sounding books coming out in April and again in the summer but you’ll have to wait for news of those later on in the year.
For now, I’ll just mention one that was launched just a few weeks ago.
I, Eric Ngalle is a remarkable true life account of a young man who left Sommalia believing he would soon be in Belgium, studying for an economics degree. But the travel plans went wrong and instead he ended up in Russia. After his passport was stolen, he spent two years as an illegal immigrant. Somehow (and I’m very curious how this happened) he ended up in Wales where he studied history and is now doing an MA in creative writing.
That’s all for now but I’ll be back with some more titles in a few months. If you’ve never read anything by a Welsh publisher I hope I’ve done enough to persuade you to lend them your support!