As I’ve previously posted here, Paula Bardell-Hedley of Book Jotter is introducing the first Wales Readathon, Dewithon19 for the month of March. The first day of March is of course the feast day of Wales’ patron St David, also familiarly known as Dewi. With just one month to go, I’ve been giving thought to how I shall approach the readathon.
Firstly, I’ve been drawing up a list of books to consider reading (and subsequently review); this include titles by Welsh authors and books set in or about Wales and about Welsh culture. Here is my initial shortlist, though I may add to or remove some of these works:
- Catherine Fisher: The Clockwork Crow
- Jasper Fforde: Early Riser
- M R Hall: The Coroner
- Alan Garner: The Owl Service
- O J Padel: Arthur in Medieval Welsh Literature
Newport’s Catherine Fisher is a noted Welsh author whose many children’s novels are set in Wales or draw on Welsh tradition. Jasper Fforde‘s most recent comic fantasy was published in the UK last year and this year in North America; it’s set in and around an area of an alternate Wales, based on a town close to where the author lives and not too far from where I currently reside. M R Hall (also known as Matthew Hall) is an honorary Welshman who now lives in the Wye valley in South Wales; a former barrister, he’s become as well known as a screenwriter as a crime author. The action of The Coroner takes place in Bristol where I lived for more than four decades.
Cheshire’s Alan Garner set his YA novel in Wales (sites detailed here), basing it on a Welsh myth first recorded in the medieval collection known as the Mabinogion; Cornishman Oliver Padel is a noted medieval scholar, and I’ve often meant to get back to this useful summary of historic Welsh texts treating with Arthurian traditions and legends. I’ve a notion to consider one of those texts to reread in translation too, but I’ll see how the time goes!
Secondly, I hope to post about Wales generally, though what form this will take is rather nebulous at the moment. And thirdly, I want to talk a little bit about my corner of Wales and its bookish connections. If you too are thinking about joining in this event, either blogging or noising it abroad on social media, then Paula invites you to use the hashtag #dewithon19 so that more of us can read all about it!
Throughout February I’ll be including more taster posts about Wales in anticipation of Dewithon, but here is a selection of recent Wales-related pieces I’ve previously featured here:
- A study of what links Tolkien and Wales
- A review of Welsh-born Jo Walton’s Among Others
- A novel by Cath Barton, now resident in Wales
- The last native-born Welsh Prince of Wales, Owain Glyndŵr
- Jan Newton’s tale of murder in the Welsh Marches
- An alternate Wales in a Joan Aiken fantasy