‘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: 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. 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: Translations. ‘An invaluable translation.’ Angharad Price on Hallowe’en in the Cwm, the short stories of Glasynys, translated by Rob Mimpriss. Click to read: ‘Quietly written, contemplative... whose powerhouse is the depth of its moral reflection.’ Siân Preece, Rhys Davies Competition on ‘Hamilton Park.’ 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. Journals: Stories. ‘Traveller M. in the Land of the Cynocephali,’ new fiction just published in Otherwise Engaged: A Literary and Arts Journal 6:2 (Winter 2020). 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. Latest article — read a selection of Welsh folk tales compiled and retold by T. Gwynn Jones, taken from his book, Welsh Folklore and Folk Custom. Latest comment – ‘Decency’s Limits — Abuse and Blocking on Virginia Crosbie’s Page’, a response to hate crimes and harassment on the Facebook page of Ynys Môn’s Conservative MP.

Image of John Jenkins from Wikipedia

Of Principalities and Powers: Thoughts on the Anniversary of the Investiture

1st July marks the anniversary of the investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales in Caernarfon Castle in 1969.

The event, though popular in Wales, was widely opposed by Welsh nationalists, for whom it symbolised England’s rights of conquest over Wales, and Wales’s lack of self-determination. Those who campaigned against the investiture included Dafydd Elis-Thomas, later leader of Plaid Cymru from 1984 to 1989, and Dafydd Iwan, chairman of Cymdeithas yr Iaith, whose song, ‘Carlo,’ satirised the event.

The investiture also ended Welsh nationalism’s brief experiment with armed revolt. The Free Wales Army’s plan to storm the castle with air support from the IRA was foiled when a letter outlining the plan was cunningly intercepted during transit through the Royal Mail, and its leaders, including Julian Cayo Evans and Dennis Coslett, were imprisoned for firearms offences on the day of the investiture. A number of bombs were placed by members of Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru with the intention of disrupting the ceremony, though only one, placed in a local policeman’s garden, went off as intended. Another exploded prematurely, killing two members of MAC, the so-called Abergele Martyrs. Their leader, John Barnard Jenkins, was arrested in November 1969, largely on the testimony of a fellow operative’s girlfriend, who was driven to a secret rendezvous on their way to a date.

John Jenkins subsequently claimed that as a non-commissioned officer in the British Army, he could have approached Prince Charles with a loaded firearm, had he wished, and could have found volunteers for a suicide mission,(1) thus apparently discrediting any notion that MAC’s intention was to shed blood: the explosions were intended as a symbol of Welsh national resistance to English rule, just as the pomp that accompanied the investure was a symbol of the power of the British state. Even so, Gwynfor Evans remarks in his book, Fighting for Wales, that all attempts at armed revolt against English rule have failed, and that those movements which survived the 1960s were those that stayed close to the principles of pacifism and civil disobedience embraced by Plaid Cymru at its foundation,(2) while Dafydd Elis-Thomas (now Lord Elis Thomas, and no longer a member of Plaid Cymru) has argued that Welsh nationalists themselves inferred an insult when they could have welcomed an opportunity.(3)

In 2018 the Welsh government gave somewhat furtive consent to a plan to rename the second Severn crossing as the Prince of Wales Bridge to commemorate the investiture. Despite widespread opposition to what still seemed a slur, and a petition which was signed by 30,000 people in a country of just 3 million, a subdued ceremony(4) was attended by the prince on 2nd July 2018, with little advanced publicity and few invitations to the press. What the British state once did openly by popular consent it continues to do by stealth in the face of democratic opposition, incapable of imagining(5) any way to treat us, it seems, but as an obedient ‘principality’ in their failing yet belligerent English empire:(6) an empire bitterly divided, yet screaming its unity, fearful of the future, yet boastful of the past, rushing in an unreasoning fury towards the means of its dissolution.

I am the author of three 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.