‘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. ‘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. 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. Books: Fiction. ‘Heaving with loss, regret and familiar 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 ‘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.

A Parliament by Any Other Name: History, Translation, and the War on Welsh Democracy

In the summer of 1404, Owain Glyndŵr, having attended a ceremony at which he was crowned Prince of Wales four years before, and having subsequently established his rule across most of the country by force of arms, convened a parliament in Machynlleth, in which he outlined his vision for Wales as a united and independent state. The parliament echoed the parliaments convened by his predecessors, Llywelyn the Great and Hywel the Good, which were attended by four delegates from every commote they ruled,(1) and which were described, not by the modern word, senedd, but by the word cynulliad, for which the best English translation is assembly — the names which were chosen for the legislature formed in Cardiff in 1999.

At his coronation Owain had become, in Welsh, Tywysog Cymru, a word whose English translation applies to the heir to a throne, and a title which is carried by the eldest son of the reigning monarch of England today. Yet in the laws of Hywel Dda, the word for the heir to a throne is edling, while the words tywysog (translated prince), and brenin (translated king), are used more or less interchangeably.(2) Those who insist on calling Wales’s parliament the Assembly do so because they foolishly imagine an assembly is less than a parliament, just as those who claim incorrectly that Wales had only princes do so because they think a prince was less than a king.(3) And English historians, writing about Owain Glyndŵr, apply to a well-documented historical ruler, a military and political strategist of no little vision and ability, who liberated Wales from vastly superior forces and made it a partner of Brittany, France and Spain,(4) the curiously derealising title, ‘folk hero.’

Among those who use such language are the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party, who were founded before the Assembly became the Welsh Parliament or Senedd in May 2020, and who fought to use their obsolete name when their ousted leader refused to cede his control of it as the party’s registrar.(5) Perhaps they do so because to speak of abolishing parliaments would sound closer to fascism than they care to sound, perhaps because they take pride in their peevishness and pomposity, and perhaps because they are ignorant of the history of Owain Glyndŵr’s reign, of Welsh history, language and culture generally. I was going to explain to them the history of the word cynulliad, the memories of a rich political heritage which it carries to educated Welsh people(6) and the hope of independence which it offers today, perhaps introducing them to the phrase, rhoi’r ffidil yn y to (to put the fiddle in the attic): to give something up because one has realised that one is no good at it.(7) It indicates their attitude to debate, including the rational and well-informed debate which is the foundation of liberal democracy, and will one day be the foundation of an independent Wales,(8) that they had already blocked me from commenting on their Facebook wall.

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 am a member by election of the Welsh Academy.

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.