‘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 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 Cool 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.

  1. Mark Leftly, ‘RBS risks an Iceland-style crisis if Scots pick self-rule, warns Vince Cable.’ The Independent, 6th February 2014.
  2. Elizabeth Matsangou, ‘Failing banks, winning economy: the truth about Iceland’s recovery.’ World Finance: The Voice of the Market, 15th September 2015.
  3. Larry Elliott. ’UK economy £100bn smaller because of austerity – thinktank.’ The Guardian, 21st February 2019.
  4. Toby Helm, ‘Austerity to blame for 130,000 “preventable” UK deaths – report.’ The Guardian, 1st June 2019.
  5. ‘The Genesis of English Nationalism.’ Centre on Constitutional Change, 30th August 2016.
  6. Adam Forrest, ‘Inside Politics: Sage scientists wanted Boris Johnson to impose full lockdown.’ The Independent, 13th October 2020. Ian Sample, ‘British exceptionalism undermined pandemic preparedness, MPs told.’ The Guardian, 2nd December 2020. Lawrence O Gostin, Harold Hongju Koh, Michelle Williams, Margaret A Hamburg, Georges Benjamin, William H Foege et al. ‘US withdrawal from WHO is unlawful and threatens global and US health and security.’ The Lancet, 9th July 2020. Maya Oppenheim, ‘Expletive-filled video of Bolsonaro swearing at cabinet meeting released by Brazil's Supreme Court.’ The Independent, 23rd May 2020. ‘Decision not to bring in Wales-style “circuit break” lockdown led to Cummings resignation – report.’ Nation Cymru, 13th December 2020. Jessica Elgot, ‘England’s coronavirus lockdown strategy flip-flops: a timeline.’ The Guardian, 4th January 2021.
  7. ‘Drakeford stepped up direct diplomacy with Brussels after Downing Street Brexit bust-up.’ Nation Cymru, 25th October 2020. Owen Donovan, ‘Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to be shut out of post-Brexit trade negotiations.’ Senedd Home: Making Sense of Welsh Politics, 3rd March 2020.
  8. ‘No.10 rejects First Minister's letter calling for travel ban into Wales.’ ITV News, 14th October 2020. ‘FiveThirtyEight data expert Nate Silver backs “rational” Welsh vaccination plan over US equivalents.’ Nation Cymru, 18th December 2020. ‘All schools and colleges in Wales to move to online learning until 18 January, Minister announces.’ Nation Cymru, 4th January 2021.

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.