‘freely and fiercely inventive short stories… supercharged with ideas.’ Jon Gower, reviewing Pugnacious Little Trolls by Rob Mimpriss for Nation Cymru. ‘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 fine Welsh writer working under the radar who deserves to be much better known.’ Nation Cymru greeting Pugnacious Little Trolls, a new collection of short stories published by Cockatrice Books. ‘Beyond question Wales’s finest and most subtle short-story writer working today... A work of great beauty and subtle force, a fine, distinctive voice.’ Jim Perrin on Pugnacious Little Trolls. ‘Zestful playfulness... along with a grand energy and capacity for invention.’ Jon Gower reviewing Pugnacious Little Trolls for Nation Cymru. ‘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. ‘Heaving with loss, regret and familial bonds.’ Annexe Magazine on ‘Gemini,’ a short story in Prayer at the End, published by Cockatrice Books. ‘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... And yet the best of these pieces express something important about psychology and human relationships, and the sparseness of the writing is capable of considerable power.’ 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. ‘An invaluable translation.’ Angharad Price on Hallowe’en in the Cwm, the short stories of Owen Wynne Jones, 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. ‘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. ‘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. ‘This exemplary collaboration’ (Philip Gross). Dangerous Asylums, an anthology of fiction by leading Welsh writers, inspired by Denbigh Mental Hospital, edited by Rob Mimpriss.

Pronouncements Under the Emergency Powers Act (2027): Guest Post by Theresa May

A novel by Islwyn Ffowc Elis, Wythnos yng Nghymru Fydd (1957), provides two contrasting visions of Wales in the future. The protagonist, Ifan Powell, is helped to travel forward from his own time in a kind of trance, and arrives in 2033 to find Wales an independent republic, green and prosperous and Welsh-speaking, constitutionally pacifist and without armed forces, but with flourishing arts and sciences and an educated and contented populace. Despite these indications of social progress, and despite their protected linguistic status, the English-speaking minority have formed a Military Society to agitate against the language and pacifism of the republic and for Wales’s re-annexation by the British state, and they kidnap Ifan as a potential spokesman for the British union.

The Military Society is a kind of reverse of the Free Wales Army,(1) fond of uniforms and guns, but ultimately unwilling to use violence in pursuit of their aims, and Ifan is able to escape and return to Cardiff before making the journey back to his own time. But in the meantime he has fallen in love with Mair Llywarch, a member of the national theatre company, and he persuades his associates, Tegid and Dr Heinkel, to send him forward again to make a new life for himself with her. His second journey into the future is not a success. Although he arrives safely in 2033, Wales, now known as Western England, has been abolished as a cultural entity, its language has finally been rendered extinct, and its native population has been displaced to make room for forestry and mining settlements staffed by imported labour, while the towns are dominated by the brothels and casinos which are all that remains of any local economy. As Ifan’s colleagues explain on his return, the future is not fixed, but is the outcome of the decisions made by free moral agents such as himself, and Mair Llywarch’s Wales will come into being if, and only if, the people of our time set themselves the task of rebuilding Wales from a colony into a nation.

My own foray into the future was to a time much closer to our own than Mair’s, and apparently on the trajectory that would lead us to Western England rather than the Republic of Wales. I memorised sections of two speeches by its leader, and I quote them below. I will add that the academics of political theory to whom I showed the speeches were agreed that their authorship was quite unmistakeable.

‘I say once again that the British people have spoken. They have spoken on nationhood; they have spoken on unity; they have spoken on law and on public morality, and we will tolerate no argument, no dissent. And to anyone who would question the will of the people I say this: if you will not have British democracy, you must have the authority of the British state; if you will not accept the result of the Referendum on National Unity and Greatness, then you must obey the orders of the Emergency Committee. And if you will submit to neither the people nor the state, then you are guilty of crimes against the state and against the people, and on those crimes we show no mercy.’

Theresa May, Pronouncements under the Emergency Powers Act (2027), vol. i, p. 17.

‘We do not call ourselves nationalists. Rather, we consider ourselves to be unionists, for what we celebrate and protect is the unity of the British nation, invincible because indivisible. Therefore, we no longer speak of the Welsh language, of Scottish democracy, of the Irish peace process, but rather, of the British armed forces, the British state, and the British language, binding our people together, and to us, throughout the four counties of Britain.’

Theresa May, Pronouncements under the Emergency Powers Act (2027), vol. ii, p. 9.

  1. Rumour has it that the FWA’s leaders ordered their men to march into Hereford and ‘take’ it, but the annexation had to be abandoned because the men were shy of meeting the SAS. Roy Clews’ account of the paramilitary years (To Dream of Freedom: The Story of MAC and the Free Wales Army. Talybont: Y Lolfa, 1980/2013) records only one incident of threatened violence. While on ‘exercises’ in the forest, the FWA discussed shooting a man who wore their uniform, but whom they suspected of working for British intelligence. He was, in fact, an undercover reporter.

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 (Albawtaka, 2014), an anthology of Welsh fiction in Arabic translation by Hala Salah Eldin, to Land of Change (Culture Matters), and to Creative Writing Studies (Multilingual Matters, 2007), essays on writing as an academic discipline edited by Graëme Harper and Jeri Kroll, and of the foreword to Rivers of Wales by Jim Perrin (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, 2022).

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), A Book of Three Birds, the seventeenth-century classic by Morgan Llwyd (Cockatrice, 2017), and of fiction by D. Gwenallt Jones, Angharad Tomos, and Manon Steffan Ros. I was Artistic Coordinator of the North Wales Mental Health Research Project convened by Prof. David Healy at the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, and am the editor of Cockatrice Books. I hold a Ph.D. in Creative and Critical Writing from Portsmouth University, and am a member of the National Coalition of Independent Scholars in recognition of my academic work, and of the Welsh Academy in acknowledgement of my contributions to Welsh writing.