‘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.

Image by Wojtek Gurak on Flickr

Variations on a Theme of Weariness

13th July: That the Brexit Party are now committed to campaigning for the abolition of the Parliament of Wales will be met with variations on a theme of weariness. There will be a sense of vindication, first, that our warnings regarding Brexit have proved correct: that it was never about the opportunities of unrestricted global trade, as some believed, nor about the localisation of democracy, as others claimed, but about power – power exclusively for England, and over its Celtic satellites. There will be a sense of satisfaction too that our desire to decide our political affairs, and to use and enjoy our national language, has grown over the last twenty-five years into the default political position in Wales: that as the leader of the Abolish the Welsh Assembly (sic) Party, Richard Suchorzewski put it, Wales is ‘sleepwalking towards independence.’ And there will be a sense of satisfaction also that the abolition campaign has been so roundly rejected(1) by a unionist as distinguished as Carwyn Jones: that Welsh unionism is unionism in the European sense(2), that it demands an equal and voluntary(3) union of British nations, and as such, is not unconditional(4).

Our darker responses will include horror at the blatant hypocrisy, arrogance and selfishness of those who seek to do to Wales precisely what they have accused the EU of doing to England, but a weary horror, because since the EU referendum, we have come to know our enemies well. And in addition to this, there will be fear. Despite the fact that support for devolution has risen steadily since its inception, and now exceeds eighty percent(5) of the population, despite the fact that the Brexit Party is supported by just two per cent(6) of the UK electorate in voting intention polls, despite the fact that its handling of the Coronavirus has increased the popularity(7) of the Welsh government, and at the UK government’s expense, we have learnt to expect our enemies to cheat and to lie, and we have become more aware, as German liberals in the 1930s became aware, that the referendum is a ready-made tool for tyrants. And finally, we have an uneasy sense that Carwyn Jones’s condemnation of those who wish to abolish the Senedd as ‘English nationalists’ is too polite: that we are witnessing what Robert O. Paxton and Rob Riemen have warned us of, the resurgence of fascism, which we see clearly in the use of the swastika against immigrants and Welsh nationalists, in the torrent of threats against opponents of Brexit, and in the calls we hear for genocide against the Welsh. We fight because we are forced to fight, not to ‘make [Wales] great again’ or avenge its historic wrongs, but simply so that it can survive and prosper. It should not be so much to ask.

  1. ‘Carwyn Jones brands Brexit Party “English nationalists” who “can’t stand the idea of Wales as a nation.”’ Nation Cymru, 12th July 2020.
  2. Richard Wyn Jones, ‘England’s idea of unionism is not shared in the rest of UK.’ Irish Times, 21st March 2017.
  3. ‘Independence: Mark Drakeford rejects Plaid Cymru claim he’s “indy-curious.”’ BBC News, 9th July 2019.
  4. ‘Wales’ support for union “not unconditional” First Minister Mark Drakeford says.’ ITV News, 8th July 2019.
  5. ‘Support for independence up in St. David’s Day Poll – support for Senedd’s abolition flat.’ Nation Cymru, 1st March 2020.
  6. ‘Voting Intention: Con 45%, Lab 35% (29-30 May).’ YouGov, 1st June 2020.
  7. Roger Awan Scully, ‘Welsh Voters Are Starting to Appreciate Mark Drakeford.’ New Statesman, 5th June 2020.

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.