‘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.

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) and while Ned Thomas dismisses the ‘pious lie’ that political violence is counterproductive, he condemns it nonetheless for the ‘moral corruption’ it brings to a moral movement.(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.

  1. ‘Prince Charles ‘could have been killed’ during Caernarfon investiture.’ Nation Cymru, 19th June 2019.
  2. Gwynfor Evans, Fighting For Wales. Talybont: Lolfa, 1991.
  3. Ned Thomas, The Welsh Extremist. Talybont: Lolfa, 1973.
  4. David James, ‘There was a ceremony to formally name the Prince of Wales Bridge but they didn’t publicise it.’ Wales Online, 2nd July 2018.
  5. Richard Wyn Jones, ‘England’s idea of unionism is not shared in the rest of UK.’ Irish Times, 21st March 2017.
  6. Michael Hechter, Internal Colonialism: The Celtic Fringe in British National Development, 1536-1966. London: Routledge & Keegan Paul, 1975.

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.