Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus (Happy St. David’s Day)

Today the people of Wales celebrate their patron saint. We thought we would send greetings to all the authors of Wales by looking at five of their greatest writers.

Dylan Thomas

Born in Swansea, Dylan Thomas was a renowned poet and playwright. He had worldwide recognition during his lifetime. Works such as ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’ and ‘And death shall have no dominion’ had a such a profound effect on a young Robert Zimmerman that when he came time for him to step on to the world stage, he changed his name to Bob Dylan. Thomas struggled with mental health issues and alcohol, and died aged just 39.

Ken Follett

Ken Follett’s early writing career was as a spy novelist in a similar vein to Len Deighton but lately has become a celebrated author of historical fiction. ‘Pillars of the Earth’ – the story of the building of a cathedral in the middle ages – is one of the best novels of its type that I have ever read.

Alastair Reynolds

Alastair Reynold was born in Barry, south Wales. He is a respected writer of epic science fiction. He has had numerous science fiction awards nominations for works such as ‘Revelation Space’ and Absolution Gap.

Russell T Davies

Born Stephen Russell Davies, he is one of the top television writers in the world. Series such as ‘Queer as Folk’; ‘Bob & Rose’ and Casanova led to him being given the weighty responsibility of rebooting Doctor Who. As a fan of the original show it was with a little trepidation that I tuned into watch the first episode of the new show. My worries were extended a little as a power cut meant that we didn’t see that episode until the following day, but I my concerns were unfounded. Davies’s love of the character and brilliance as a writer shone through.

Roald Dahl

I wonder how many children were turned into readers as a result of the work of Roald Dahl. Born in Wales of Norwegian descent, Dahl is regarded as one of, if not the greatest, children’s authors of all time. Everyone will have a favourite of his many novels such a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ James and the Giant Peach’ and George’s Marvellous Medicine (a big hit with Calum and Kirsten). His array of fantastic characters and fabulous stories have been a friend to parents all over the world.

 

To all the writers of Wales I hope these great names inspire you.

 

Ysgrifennu hapus

(Happy writing)


Some gifts are more than just a gift

The 2018 John Lewis Christmas advert is an emotional tribute to rock legend Elton John. I’m sure you’ve seen it, the way it ends is very poignant. Elton is reflecting on his life and on the first piano he was given as a Christmas present.  It ends with the tagline 'Some gifts are more than just a gift'.
One of our authors Claire Hastie has a similar story. In her short bio in her new book ‘The Guardians of the Athame’ Claire tells the story of how when she was eleven, she asked for a typewriter as her present for Christmas. Her love of writing has stayed with her all the way through her life and now that passion has led her to write and publish her own book.

A book is a way to fire an imagination, open up new vistas and ways of learning that no other medium can.

A modern equivalent of Claire’s typewriter would be a computer or tablet, but they can be expensive. There is another way that you can inspire a child to write, first make them a reader. If you are buying for a child this Christmas why not give them a gift that can indeed be more than just a gift. A book is a way to fire an imagination, open up new vistas and ways of learning that no other medium can. That boy or girl may not become a writer but if you can make them a reader for life you are giving them a gift that is way more than something that lasts until Boxing Day. It is a pleasure that lasts far beyond the abandoned toys, a passion that will give them somewhere to escape to and a gift that you hope they will pass on to their children. A book is truly the gift that keeps on giving.
If you are looking for a book to give this Christmas then you can check out Claire’s young adult fantasy novel and all our other books on our portfolio page.
Kim and I wish you a very Merry Christmas and look forward to engaging with you about books, reading, writing and publishing in 2019.