News from Rob Mimpriss

5th July 2024

Voters in the Celtic nations, who rejected a system in which a simple majority of English MPs can veto their nationhood; voters in Birmingham, who rejected a system which supports and justifies the obliteration of Gaza and much of the Global South; voters in Brighton and Bristol, who rejected a system in which the very planet we live on is treated as a mere resource; voters in Islington, who rejected the offer of immediate yet superficial change, to be represented by a man who has campaigned for change all his life; and voters in Clacton and elsewhere who rejected a system in which the parts of England which have ceased to be useful are treated as though they have ceased to be; are telling us that for them the established way of running the world, capitalism concealed with a skein of liberalism, is no longer tenable. The rise of fascism in Russia, America and much of Europe is a warning of what could take its place. It is for Starmer to prove that he takes that warning seriously.

18th April 2024: Inspirational

Today I whispered back, ‘I am the mist and the drizzle.’

28th March 2024: Behind the Walls: Dr Sarah Gallup Reads From ‘Dangerous Asylums’

Dr Sarah Gallup is a clinical psychologist at the California Department of State Hospitals. She also runs a podcast exploring the history of mental health care and the stories of people who lived or worked Behind the Walls of the World’s Psychiatric Hospitals. In six recent episodes she reads from Dangerous Asylums...

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18th March 2024: Turns of the River, Turns of the Road

A parcel arrived yesterday containing reviewers’ copies of the latest titles from my publishing imprint, Cockatrice Books. The first is Gwyriad: Poems by Nigel Jarrett, sharp and striking in its poetic technique, reflecting on class, industrial heritage, and industrial decline, family and local history, and the history of the former Pen-y-Fal Psychiatric Hospital. The second is River of Hope by Roger Granelli, a novel...

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6th March 2024: Land of Change׃ Stories of Struggle and Solidarity from Wales

A parcel containing two books reached me from Culture Matters the other day: the first, a copy of Land of Change, an anthology of Welsh writing edited by Gemma June Howell, and containing a short story of mine, ‘Industry in the Country of the Blind,’ among its eighty-odd entries...

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6th May 2023: Reading for Republicans

As a response to the junketing taking place in the centre of London this weekend, Cockatrice Books quietly discounts two of its titles to rather less than the cost of the coronation for the average UK taxpayer. My translation of A Book of Three Birds by Morgan Llwyd, written by a roundhead and Fifth Monarchist during the early years of Cromwell’s dictatorship; and T. Gwynn Jones’s translation of The Sleeping Bard by Ellis Wynne, published just a few years before Scotland’s annexation by England, both reflect on the nature of power and authority, the relationship between religion and the state, the purpose of the British union, and the future of Wales...

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13th December 2022: Pugnacious Little Trolls at the White Review

There are not many extrinsic rewards for Welsh writers. The reading population is small; there are significant financial hardships; we are saturated with material from England and the wider Anglosphere; and even the best of Welsh writing is perceived, with some reason, as unvaried and unexciting. Publishers regard Welsh writers at best with a kind of commercial suspicion, and at worst with political and cultural mistrust.

Even so, my recent short-story collection, Pugnacious Little Trolls, has just been listed as one of The White Review’s books of the year for 2023...

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18th June 2022: Rivers of Wales by Jim Perrin

Jim Perrin’s Rivers of Wales, recently published by Carreg Gwalch, joins his earlier books, Snowdon and The Mountains of Wales in combining autobiography with reflections on Welsh heritage and landscape. Among the pleasures it offers the reader are the wealth of his descriptions of writers, naturalists, scholars and adventurers...

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21st May 2022: ‘Industry in the Country of the Blind’ goes to Culture Matters

In a short story, ‘The Country of the Blind’ by H. G. Wells, a climber in the Andes separated from his party stumbles upon a highland valley cultivated by a forgotten community of the congenitally blind. These people, cut off in their isolated valley over centuries, have created a way of life so perfectly adapted to their blindness that they have forgotten that sight exists...

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19th February 2022: Pugnacious Little Trolls goes to Nation Cymru

Almost a year after its publication, Pugnacious Little Trolls is reviewed by one of the kingmakers of Welsh writing, Jon Gower, for Nation Cymru....

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7th February 2022: A British Triad?

Among the pleasures of reading Welsh literature is Ellis Wynne’s eighteenth-century prose classic, The Sleeping Bard (Y Bardd Cwsc). Written under the influence of Bunyan’s, Dante’s and Milton’s religious epics, and more especially of Francisco de Quevedo’s satirical visions, the book’s three visions of the world, death and hell express a distinctively Welsh perspective on the rise of capitalism and the British state...

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10th May 2021

Following Richard Suchorzewski’s vow that the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party will ‘return to terrify’ the political parties of Wales, I would like to announce that I will return to terrify the Nobel Prize for Literature Committee.

24th March 2021: Close Ties: New Fiction by Rob Mimpriss and A L Reynolds

February 2021 saw the launch of my fourth short-story collection, Pugnacious Little Trolls, alongside Of the Ninth Verse, a novel by A. L. Reynolds. The virtual launch was attended by a small crowd of sixty people, supported by short-story writers Nigel Jarrett and John O’Donoghue, and by the poet Angela Topping...

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30th December 2020: Traveller M in the Land of the Cynocephali

Newly published in Otherwise Engaged A Literature and Arts Journal, my short story, ‘Traveller M. in the Land of the Cynocephali’...

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1st December 2019

According to a Brexiteer trolling Plaid Cymru’s Facebook page I ought to read the Lisbon Treaty, and then I won’t feel so clever. I already don’t feel so clever. I have a splitting headache, for one thing.

8th September 2019: Gorymdaith!

While UK politics was in uproar, while a former minister crossed the floor to sit in the opposition benches during the Prime Minister’s speech, and while the Prime Minister’s foul-mouthed adviser berated the leader of the opposition while apparently drunk...

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1st August 2019: Reasoning׃ Twenty Stories

The contact form on my website does not produce much traffic, and what traffic it produces normally falls foul of my email account’s spam rules. But a little while ago, a stranger sent me the message which I quote in part below...

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21st July 2019: Annibyniaeth!

‘To imagine this: / a people at grips / with genesis / not apocalypse’ Raymond Garlick, ‘Note on the Iliad’.

While the most worthless Prime Minister of modern times formed the most talentless cabinet of modern times, and the new home secretary was accused of breaking the ministerial code within two days of her appointment, All Under One Banner Cymru organised a march for Welsh independence in Caernarfon...

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1st July 2019: The Books We Read

Tucked between the pages of my second-hand copy of Diane Williams’ selected stories, and in the handwriting of a previous owner, a reading list...

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23rd April 2019: Reflections on the Destiny of the British Race

Newly published in New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing, a duo of short stories reflecting on Welsh nationhood and British nationalism...

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25th November 2018

Through the careful decapitation and evisceration of a mouse, my cat is able to establish the fact that it did not die of natural causes.

21st October 2018: I’m Out

A day or so after the EU referendum in 2016, a casual acquaintance who had voted Leave explained how he was persuaded to do so. He had been planning to vote Remain on the basis of the evidence presented to the public, but just as he reached the polling booth he imagined Deborah Meaden on The Dragon’s Den saying, ‘I’m out,’ and so he voted for Brexit on the basis of a whim and a catchphrase.

Deborah Meaden was a speaker at the march against Brexit in central London yesterday. 700,000 of us took part, creating the second largest protest in a century.

24th September 2018: The Cloak of Kings’ Beards: Three Tales for Europe

Published by New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing, three folk tales taken from the manuscripts of Iolo Morgannwg...

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27th June 2018: Art the Armed Forces Day

Art the Armed Forces Day, organised by Veteran for Peace, Steve Heaney, was held on a warm day in early summer in one of Llandudno’s historic buildings. Community arts activities were followed in the evening by a brief talk from Steve Heaney, explaining his own experience in the British armed forces and eventual rejection of militarism...

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12th April 2018

My local Asda displays men’s toiletries, not beside the women’s toiletries, but beside the household cleaning products.

24th March 2018: A Small, Dignified Counter‑Protest

Among the thousands of demonstrators who took part in the march against Brexit in Leeds today, I saw just two counter-protesters. One flapped his union jack as we went past, and muttered something no doubt patriotic and rousing, and the other held up a sign as we gathered to hear the speakers, handwritten on part of a box that a vacuum cleaner had come in.

He heckled the speakers, and was politely ignored, but as the rally progressed he became more and more aggressive and threatening, until eventually the police physically wrestled him to the ground and persuaded him to leave the area. During the preceding confrontation, someone quietly fixed a ‘Bollocks to Brexit’ sticker to the back of his jacket. The last we saw of him, it was still there.

24th February 2018

A cheap narrow room in a hotel near the railway station, and my single-serving sachet of coffee bears the toothmarks of a previous guest.

31st October 2017: Hallowe’en in the Cwm

An appropriately-timed celebration of my translation from the folk tales and stories of Owen Wynne Jones (also known as Glasynys), Hallowe’en in the Cwm. Friends, relatives and other guests gathered for food and wine, and stories of ghosts and evil spirits, winged serpent monsters, fairy rings and the tylwyth teg...

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4th November 2016: Dangerous Asylums at The Carriageworks in Denbigh

Tea and cake, two songs by Elaine Walker, readings by the contributors, and a supportive and deeply appreciative audience marked a celebration of Dangerous Asylums, an anthology of stories from Denbigh Mental Hospital...

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10th October 2016: Dangerous Asylums at Bangor University

World Mental Health Day was chosen for the launch of Dangerous Asylums at Bangor University, 5-6pm. The launch was attended by contributors Anna Reynolds, Gee and David Williams, by Prof. David Healey of the North Wales Mental Health Research Project, and others...

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5th September 2016: Parting Advice

I missed this story at the time. But apparently Theresa May advised George Osborne, as an older sister, to acquire a soul by starving a child to death in a silver cage.

4th September 2016: Dangerous Asylums: Rob Mimpriss in Conversation with Simon Thirsk (Part 2)

In addition to my conversation with Simon Thirsk reflecting on our contributions to Dangerous Asylums, this shorter recording by the BBC Listening Project (Colwyn Bay, 15th August 2016) reflects on Brexit, British nationalism, minority languages and the Celtic fringe....

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1st September 2016: Dangerous Asylums: Rob Mimpriss in Conversation with Simon Thirsk (Part 1)

Dangerous Asylums is an anthology of short fiction based on historic patient records from Denbigh Mental Hospital, commissioned by Prof. David Healy and his colleagues at the North Wales Mental Health Research Project, and featuring contributions from some of the leading writers in Wales. In this recording by the BBC Listening Project (Colwyn Bay, 15th August 2016), I talk to one of these contributors, Simon Thirsk, about our shared experiences of the project...

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29th February 2016

My parents’ chapel debated the existence of God in a Bible study. They did not reach any unforeseen conclusions.

20th November 2015: The Short Story: Compression and Resonance

A workshop led by Rob Mimpriss | Friday November 20th, 1-3pm, Ucheldre Arts Centre, Holyhead.

The short story has a rather unusual niche in world literature. Its position seems equidistant between the novel and the poem, emphasising resonance, compression and shapeliness of form, and some critics see it as intentionally marginal, exploring the significance, even the cosmic and spiritual significance, of obscure and impoverished lives...

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6th July 2015: Reasoning, For His Warriors, Prayer at the End go to Cockatrice Books

Feta, olives and salad, and wonderful company marked the launch of my third short-story collection, Prayer at the End.

The collection contains short stories dedicated to Charis Sewell, Graham Thomas and Cass Meurig, short stories published in Annexe Magazine, The Harbinger and Blue Tattoo, ‘Wolf,’ a Bronze-Age story commissioned by Dr Alistair Sims at the Meillionydd archaeological dig, and a passage from The King’s Mansions by D. Gwenallt Jones, a seminal Welsh novel never previously translated...

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5th June 2015: The Faithless Heart’s Treachery

To my Creative Writing students in a seminar room in Manchester University I presented an englyn by Robert ap Gwilym Ddu as an example of the challenges and joys of poetic form...

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1st June 2015: Where the Bird Was Nurtured

As part of a Creative Writing seminar on poetic form, I presented my students with this traditional englyn reflecting on the pain of exile. The location was a seminar room in Manchester overlooking a motorway; the day was cloudy and rather cold...

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25th May 2015: An Undeserving Workman

The englyn, a strict-meter form with a caesura in the first line, nevertheless encompasses a wide range of moods within a single quatrain. This traditional englyn, which I presented to poetry students at Manchester University along with my own translation, has something of a glint in its eye...

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6th May 2015

My thoughts today are with the sick, homeless and the hungry of Great Britain. And my condemnation is on those who voted without compassion.

27th June 2014

Walking my neighbours’ dogs while they are away. Daisy, the older and more thoughtful of the two, gives me the same pitying, contemptuous look when I bag one of her turds as you might if I went around bagging yours.

1st May 2014: #MyWritingProcess

The Writing Process Meme invites writers to answer four questions about their work, and nominate two or three other writers who will do the same, using the linking tag #MyWritingProcess. I am grateful to have been asked to take part by Elaine Walker, novelist, writing tutor and critic...

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28th April 2014: Hamilton Park Goes to New Writing

My short story, ‘Hamilton Park,’ is published by New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing, having been already shortlisted for the Rhys Davies Award...

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12th December 2013: Brush with Fate: Voices From Wales

Hala Salah Eldin Hussein is a publisher and translator from English to Arabic. She has worked with Lorrie Moore, Edward P. Jones, Nadine Gordimer, Jhumpa Lahiri, Margaret Atwood, Kazuo Ishiguro, Doris Lessing, and others.

My own short story, ‘Hart’s Reach,’ was selected by Hala as part of a project representing Welsh writers in Arabic...

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14th November 2013: Did R. S. Thomas Believe in God?

‘Did R.S. Thomas believe in God? The question was put by M Wynn Thomas, a professor of literature at Swansea University, to Barry Morgan, the current Archbishop of Wales, and Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, at a public discussion of faith in R.S. Thomas’s work...

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4th November 2013: Blinc Digidol

‘…I followed echoes of music. A video of bees swarming, projected onto a chapel front, was played and played again to an empty side street. ‘But Mummy,’ a child said, ‘what’s it for?’ A middle-aged couple stopped to take a snapshot or two, chuckled indulgently at it all, and went their way...

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18th October 2013: Reading Wales: Revenant by Tristan Hughes

Three young adults converge on Beaumaris, where they were raised, in Revenant, a novel by Tristan Hughes published by Picador in 2008. As they wander round the town and nearby woods and beaches, revisiting their old haunts, they remember their friendship with each other and with Del, whose death as a teenage girl they have come home to commemorate. Each of Del’s three friends, Neil, Ricky, and Stephanie, narrates a chapter in turn, and the style moves between the poetic, the colloquial and the matter of fact, to match their viewpoints and voices...

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15th October 2013: Dandelion by Patrick Jones

‘Patrick Jones is a serious writer of ambitious themes. His work does not bear such themes lightly. I tweeted about his play, Dandelion, performed at Galeri Caernarfon on Tuesday 24th, and unluckily for both of us he noticed. He didn’t like my wry comment, and became abusive...

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27th January 2013

A cold, wet day in coastal Lincolnshire, and my hostess spills a glass of water over the household’s Local Flooding Plan.

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