BLOG Gwen Davies


NWR Summer Books Choice

Getting ready for Hay next week has meant getting to know the delightful Horatio Clare, who I'll be interviewing on Monday together with Richard Gwyn, both memoirists recalling misspent youths at home and abroad. Borders broadband access permitting, I'll put up a version of the interview online on Tuesday (but don't let that put you off the bus-ride to Gelli'r Gandryll), together with extracts from the featured books, Truant and The Vagabond's Breakfast.

The NWR summer edition, out now, features Gee Williams on nordic noir; campus novels set in mid Wales and Bucharest respectively from Angharad Penrhyn Jones and Patrick McGuinness; Gwyn Thomas' personae on stage and screen; advance review of Tristan Hughes' first Canadian novel Eye Lake, out next month, a preview of Roshi Fernando's The Elephant's Wife, just snapped up by Bloomsbury. And an NWR original, the first in our new series of creative responses by the writers of Wales to our classic texts. Open to fiction and nonfiction authors alike, Maria Donovan starts the show with her interpretation of Margiad Evans' Turf or Stone, dubbed The Welsh Wuthering Heights. Get your own sneaky preview of Maria's "Slaughterhouse Field" or better still, support us and fellow readers & writers by subscribing to the mag (Hay, students and newbie special rates available). Our summer issue is on sale at Pemberton's Hay festival bookshop and at the Blackwell's stall at the marvellous philosophy and ideas fringe hub, How the Light Gets In. As long as you are polite, readers, potential subscribers, regular and potential contributors are welcome to grab me for a drink around 8pm this Monday, 30 May outside the Starlight Stage, Hay-on-Wye.

I'll be taking over Peter Finch's Western Mail books column from Saturday 11 June, so this will be a chance for me to support writers by getting news of their titles out there earlier. Will also take a look at UK booktrade trends and news as well as what's going on right here, and throw in some tasters from the current magazine as it develops. Any publishers listening: please send me your titles as far in advance as possible!
Speaking of which, just placed a batch of books for review in the mag. Unfortunately, said reviews won't appear until December because of our long lead-in, which does have its pros and cons. But these titles - a mix of nonfiction, poetry, literary, historical and speculative novels, short fiction and criticism - deserve an airing right now. This is the list: order your copy now but don't forget: you heard it here first. We are here to support writers and readers. Please support us right back by subscribing!

Dovetail, contemporary novel by Jeremy Hughes (launched last week in Abergavenny)

Clay, historical novel by Gladys Mary Coles (longlisted last month for Book of the Year)

The Wild Rover, Mike Parker, nonfiction on the politics of footpaths by the witty former stand-up

The Keys to Babylon by Robert Minhinnick, geopolitics meets magic realist short fiction, the fruit of ACW Creative Wales award

A Year of Flowers, John Barnie, nature poetry

Sound Archive, Nerys Williams, and Welcome Back to the Country, Graham Clifford - collection and pamphlet by two emerging poets, the latter a winner of the independent brewery-sponsored Purple Moose Award

Everything I Found on the Beach by Cynan Jones, novella by Aberaeron's King of Concise, author of The Long Dry

In the Shadow of the Pulpit, Welsh Writers and Welsh Nonconformityby M Wynn Thomas, Wales' foremost literary critic. Longlisted for Book of the Year

A Fish Trapped inside the Wind, novel set in Belgium with a touch of magic realism, by Christien Gholson, American living in Swansea

The Brittle Sea, New and Selected Poems, Paul Henry, the poet's poet

Terminal World by Alastair Reynolds, surprise entry for speculative novel at last week's Book of the Year shortlisting.


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