‘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 the Parliament of Iceland taken from Wikimedia Commons

On Being Nothing Special: A Case for Welsh Independence

When Scottish independence was being discussed in 2014, the economist and statesman, Vince Cable, referred to the plight of Iceland following the credit crunch as an example of the disadvantages facing small nation states and of the advantages of being part of larger units like the UK. In particular, he predicted, the Royal Bank of Scotland would abandon the newly independent state, leaving it vulnerable to a much deeper recession than the recession of 2008 in the event of a future banking crisis.(1) The point was well made, but only covered half the story, since Iceland, although smaller than Cornwall in terms of population, has long put the economic crisis behind it, and has done so largely by prioritising the welfare of its people over the needs of its banking industry,(2) while the UK remains mired in disaster.

The causes of that disaster also relate to the question of Scottish independence from the UK, and the fate of all four of its Celtic nations. Austerity, which trampled our economic recovery(3) and caused the deaths of 130,000 of our fellow citizens,(4) arose from a belief in the benign efficiency of the unregulated market which is England’s dominant political position. Brexit, as research by Michael Kenny has shown, relates to English self-pity at the loss of empire, English self-pity at the rise of the Celtic nations, and English self-pity at being bound by treaties and international laws,(5) while England’s Covid response expressed the same vapid narcissism of its leaders, the same disdain for science, the same recklessness with regard to life as was shown under the far-right governments of America and Brazil.(6)

In Wales our comparatively sane response to Brexit (negotiating continued membership of Erasmus and Horizon, arranging our own meetings with European leaders when the UK government refused us access to theirs(7)) and to the pandemic (reacting to rising infection rates swiftly, first seeking to act in partnership with the UK government before using such powers as British laws had given us to protect the lives of our citizens, rolling out the vaccine in order of urgency and moving education online to protect students and staff,(8)) arose not because we are a nation of warriors, or even because we are a nation of poets, or because we won the war, or because we were Cŵl Cymru once, or even because it is only the elites and traitors who are holding us back. It arose because we understand that we are no better than other nations, that nature is indifferent to us, that history, given long enough, will surely forget about us, but that other nations in mainland Europe and beyond are open to being our friends. Our history has taught us not to suppose that the sun shines out of our arse. If we were looking for Article 1 of a Republic of Wales constitution, we could do far worse than that.

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.