‘Where is the Welsh short story going? Wherever Rob Mimpriss takes it.’ John O’Donoghue. Pugnacious Little Trolls, a new collection of short stories published by Cockatrice Books. ‘bathed in white fire in every sense... Borges would happily own them.’ Gee Williams on Pugnacious Little Trolls, a new collection of short stories published by Cockatrice Books. ‘a work of great beauty and subtle force… a fine, distinctive voice.’ Jim Perrin on Pugnacious Little Trolls, a new collection of short stories published by Cockatrice Books. Books: Fiction. ‘Dark, complex, pensively eloquent’ (Sophie Baggott, New Welsh Review) — Reasoning, For His Warriors and Prayer at the End, three short-story collections now published by Cockatrice Books. 10th May 2021: Following Richard Suchorzewski’s vow to ‘return to terrify’ the functional parties of Wales, I would like to announce that I will return to terrify the Nobel Prize for Literature committee. Books: Fiction. ‘Heaving with loss, regret and familial bonds.’ Annexe Magazine on ‘Gemini,’ a short story in Prayer at the End, published by Cockatrice Books. Books: Translations. ‘Lucid, skilful, and above all, of enormous timely relevance’ (Jim Perrin). Rob Mimpriss’s new translation of Morgan Llwyd’s allegorical masterpiece, A Book of Three Birds. ‘There is nothing ostentatious about his writing: most of his characters lead unremarkable, even humdrum, lives; there are few dramatic plot developments... And yet the best of these pieces express something important...’ Brian George, The Short Review. ‘These stories are a rare kind of joy. Even when they approach moments of discontent and danger they bring an optimism founded in human relationships. This is a wonderful collection.’ Prof. Graëme Harper, editor, New Writing. Books: Translations. ‘An invaluable translation.’ Angharad Price on Hallowe’en in the Cwm, the short stories of Glasynys, translated by Rob Mimpriss. ‘Humour and pity often arise from the characters’ inability to understand themselves and those close to them. In suggesting the truth and the self-deception Mimpriss not only engages our sympathy but makes us question our assumptions about ourselves.’ Caroline Clark, gwales.com ‘Quietly written, contemplative... whose powerhouse is the depth of its moral reflection.’ Siân Preece, Rhys Davies Competition on ‘Hamilton Park,’ published in Prayer at the End. ‘an immaculate collection.’ Nigel Jarrett, twice winner of the Rhys Davies Award, on Prayer at the End, a collection of short stories by Rob Mimpriss published by Cockatrice Books. ‘Through the stealthy movements of his prose, Rob Mimpriss enacts the quiet enigma of people’s lives and relationships. The result is an understated fiction of compelling intensity.’ Prof M Wynn Thomas. The story is called ‘Valiant’ in the collection, For His Warriors. I recommend it. Highly. It feels to me already like a classic.’ Fiona Owen, editor, Scintilla. A quiet writer with a loud voice... I’ll be listening for more.’ Michael Nobbs, gwales.com on Reasoning: Twenty Stories, published by Cockatrice Books. Books: Fiction. ‘In the most seemingly unremarkable of Rob Mimpriss’s pieces there is a skill, and a mystery and elusiveness to that skill, which other short-story writers might envy.’ Gee Williams. Books: Anthologies. ‘Industry in the Country of the Blind,’ new fiction in Land of Change, radical prose from Wales edited by Gemma Howell and forthcoming from Culture Matters. Books: Anthologies: ‘this exemplary collaboration’ (Philip Gross). Dangerous Asylums, an anthology of fiction by leading Welsh writers, inspired by Denbigh Mental Hospital, edited by Rob Mimpriss.

The original Prince of Wales Bridge near Bangor, with the droppings of the current prince visible in the foreground.

A Bridge Too Far: The Renaming of the Second Severn Crossing

By private agreement between the Swedish government and the Swedish royal family, the Øresund Bridge between Sweden and Denmark, currently named after the water it crosses, is renamed the Charles X bridge, in honour of the Swedish king who invaded Denmark in 1658, and razed its capital, Copenhagen, to the ground. The people of Denmark naturally protest, demanding that the bridge retain its geographical name, or be named after some joint Scandinavian achievement, or at very least after some Swedish figure less insensitive to Danish history.

It later transpires that while the decision to rename the bridge was made entirely in Sweden, the Danish government was ‘informed’ of the change, but decided not to bother complaining. The Danish ambassador to Sweden tells his people that they should ‘respect’ King Charles X, and castigates them for their churlish attitudes. The reason this has not happened, and the débâcle over the renaming of the Second Severn Crossing is happening as I write,(1) is that the Welsh unaccountable neglected to be born Danish, and for this reason deserves no better.

By agreement between the Republic of France and the European Union, the Channel Tunnel is renamed in honour of Charles de Gaulle. The people of England are infuriated, and a number of spontaneous human combustion cases are observed among readers of the Daily Mail. It transpires that Theresa May was notified of the change while Home Secretary, but didn’t get around to doing anything about it.

The disagreement over the Channel Tunnel is settled to the satisfaction of both sides, at which point the Welsh timidly pipe up, and ask if they get a say in what the Second Severn Bridge is called. Both sides round on them in a fury, to condemn them as a threat to the stability of Europe, as barbarian deniers of all civilisation, and as small-minded, paranoid, divisive and evil nats.

If the British ignore a petition which has garnered thirty thousand signatures in a country of only three million in just a few days, and which already represents a whole one per cent of the population,(2) then they openly acknowledge that Welsh democracy is meaningless, and that even such a groundswell of protest, if it comes from Wales, is to be ignored. If, on the other hand, they bow to this petition, then they confess that Wales is not a principality, and that the crown prince of England — if there should be such a thing — has no title to Wales. In either case, the recent fashionable lie that the UK is an equal partnership of willing participants, and that Wales is not a colony of England,(3) is exposed.

If a man gives me a casual back-hand blow, I am advised to turn my face to the side, to challenge him with the other cheek that can only be struck with the fist.(4) The constant humiliation of an equal must be perpetuated either by ignorance, which is now fading in Wales, or by the threat of violence. Wales’s growing awareness of itself must lead either to open oppression or to complete liberation. The very sourness and weariness of Rod Liddle’s remarks(5) acknowledges that the old relationship, based on a deference to England which is undeserved, is no longer sustainable.

  1. ‘Bridge name row: Republicans should respect Prince says Cairns.’ BBC News, 5th April 2018.
  2. Jamie Matthews, ‘Stop the renaming of the second Severn Crossing to the Prince of Wales Bridge.’ Change.org, undated petition, 2018. Cathy Owen, ‘More than 27,000 people sign petition to stop Severn Crossing being renamed Prince of Wales Bridge.’ Wales Online, 8th April 2018.
  3. See Michael Hechter, who explains that England’s desire to increase its natural resources led to the annexation of the Celtic nations, the dismantling of their export economies, and the persecution of their peoples and cultures, establishing cultural attitudes that are felt at the time of publication (Internal Colonialism: The Celtic Fringe in British National Development. Transaction, 1998. pp. 82 ff, 83, 73 ff, 269, 342). See also John Davies, who finds racism, as well as a desire to break the spirits of a restive industrial workforce, behind the British state’s policy of rendering the Welsh language extinct (A History of Wales. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2007. p. 387), and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, who finds the same persistent cultural consequences of ‘child abuse’ and ‘mental enslavement’ through the persecution of indigenous languages in post-colonial Kenya and in the Celtic nations of Britain (Wanjiku Maina, ‘Ngugi wa Thiong’o: We have normalised negativity towards African languages.’ Nation, 8th February 2019).
  4. The exhortation to ‘turn the other cheek’ when struck is taken from Matt. 5:38-40. But see also Marcus Borg, who argues that the seeming pacifism of the Sermon on the Mount is an invitation to civil disobedience towards a militarily invincible oppressor, and to the intelligent subversion of brute imperial power (Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary (New York: Harper One, 2006) pp. 247-250.
  5. Quoted in ‘Journalist slammed for “mocking Welsh poverty” over “Prince Charles’ bridge.”’ Nation Cymru, 8th April 2018.

I am the author of four short story collections. Reasoning and For His Warriors, originally published by Gwasg y Bwthyn, Caernarfon, with Welsh Books Council support, now join Prayer at the End and Pugnacious Little Trolls in revised editions at Cockatrice Books. My anthology of fiction, Dangerous Asylums, including work by Gee and David Williams, Glenda Beagan, Carys Bray, Simon Thirsk and others, was published by the North Wales Mental Health Research Project, October 2016. I am a contributor with Nigel Jarrett, Rachel Trezise, Tristan Hughes and others to Brush with Fate, an anthology of Welsh fiction translated by Hala Salah Eldin, and to Land of Change, an anthology of radical writing forthcoming from Culture Matters. My work has appeared in Albawtaka Review, Annexe Magazine, Blue Tattoo, Cambrensis, Catharsis, East of the Web, The Harbinger, The Interpreter’s House, New Welsh Review, New Writing, Otherwise Engaged, The Swansea Review, Tears in the Fence, Writing in Education, and elsewhere. I hold a Ph.D. in Creative and Critical Writing, and am former Artistic Coordinator of the North Wales Mental Health Research Project convened by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. In 2011 I was elected to membership of the Welsh Academy in recognition of my contributions to Welsh writing.

I am the translator of Going South: The Stories of Richard Hughes Williams (Cockatrice, 2015), Hallowe’en in the Cwm: The Stories of Glasynys (Cockatrice, 2017), and A Book of Three Birds, the seventeenth-century classic by Morgan Llwyd (Cockatrice, 2017). In addition, I have translated fiction by D. Gwenallt Jones, Angharad Tomos, and Manon Steffan Ros.