‘Traveller M. in the Land of the Cynocephali,’ short fiction newly published in Otherwise Engaged: A Literature and Arts Journal 6:2 (Winter 2020).
A child slips down from its mother’s lap, and toddles between the empty tables to the table where I am sitting. I feel myself stiffen at her approach, looking down at the grey-check tablecloth and my tea until she clambers onto the seat opposite mine at the bark of her mother’s waning. I glance up. She is wearing a tee-shirt showing the characters from some Hollywood children’s film, with a dolly-bead necklace round her neck, and as my eyes meet hers, the jaw drops open, showing pointed teeth, and the long tongue flicks at the end of the nose. I keep very still, hardly daring to breathe. Again there is a bark from her mother, and a waitress passing in front of my table stops and offers her hand to the child with a grunt of invitation. She glances over her shoulder at me as she does so, her other hand with its wedding ring scratching at the point where her fur lightens over the muzzle, and leads the child away down the aisle towards her mother. For a moment we have been the centre of attention. A robed man a few tables down yaps a few remarks to his wife, and laps from his drinking bowl. The atmosphere in the breakfast room returns to normal: the growl of Cynocephalic voices, the smell of tobacco and of cooking fat from the heater, the steam cooling on the windows, the cold...
‘Reflections on the Destiny of the British Race,’ two fictions in New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing, 23rd April 2019.
From ‘An e i π + 1 = 0 contemplates the singularity’:
You ask, in your more expansive times, what it is like for us who live so close to the end of all things. In the billions of years that have passed between your time and ours, your fifty billion light years of expanse have dwindled, so that the weight of what were once galaxies is pressed into a few light years. The background heat has risen until the very stars have exploded, and we who have kept our form swim through a dense and searing gas, churned into constant motion by the spinning of black holes, and hotter than your stars were. As I speak, the universe continues its collapse. Within minutes, we and all things will be crushed. A visionary from a time before yours saw the whole of creation in the palm of her hand, the size of a hazelnut. The universe will contract to that size, and then shrink yet smaller. Like the godhead, it will shrink to a point...
‘The Cloak of Kings’ Beards: Three Welsh Folk Tales.’ In New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing, 24th September 2018.
Iolo Morganwg (Edward Williams, 1747–1826) was a stonemason by trade, a poet, an antiquarian and forger, a Unitarian and a political radical, and the founder of the Gorsedd Beirdd. Three stories from the Iolo Manuscripts, edited and translated by Taliesin Williams (Llandovery: William Rees, 1848) are retold, with minor changes to bring out the modern resonance of their themes.
Talhaiarn the poet had a son named Tanwyn, and this son had been raised by his father in the love of mankind and the service of God, in every honourable attainment and every beneficial skill. This lad, arriving at man’s estate, felt a yearning to leave his father’s house, and to seek out his destiny in the world, so his father kissed him and gave him his blessing, with a few parting words of advice: ‘My son Tanwyn,’ he said, ‘my only beloved son, I have given you all knowledge and training and instruction, and I have neither land to house you nor gold to speed you on your way. Therefore, travel where you will under the guidance of God, and remember only these words of mine: never wish on another what you would not wish on yourself; never take the new road where the old road is still passable; and never pass by a place where a man of God is preaching, without stopping to listen to him.’
So Tanwyn left, and after travelling for some days, he came to a long and even strand, and remembering his father’s advice, he wrote these words in the sand with his staff: He who wishes ill on another, on him may the same ill fall. As he was doing so, the lord of that country came by with his retinue, saw the clarity and beauty of his writing, and reined in his horse to speak to him.
‘Dangerous Asylums: Rob Mimpriss showcases fiction inspired by a hundred years of records at Denbigh Mental Hospital.’ By Glenda Beagan, Carys Bray, Rob Mimpriss, A.L. Reynolds, Simon Thirsk and Gee Williams. Edited with an introduction by Rob Mimpriss. In New Welsh Review 104 (Summer 2014), 46-55.
From the Introduction:
It is a blustery day in spring, and I am going to the mental-health unit of Bangor Hospital to meet a professor. The trigger for this meeting is a call for writers willing to work with patients’ records from a hundred years ago or more. The outcome is, first, that I agree to write about mental illness provoked by the Religious Revival of 1904, and second, that I invite other writers to use patients’ records of interest to them. I leave with a hundred pages of closely-typed notes in my bag, and this is only the first of a series of meetings, not all of them always easy. It has been hard at times for writers trained in the arts, and experts in the history of mental-health treatment, to communicate. You will agree, I think, that it was worthwhile.
From ‘Believer, 1905’:
I managed to get him relaxed, and using the sponge, and then he looked up at me, meek as a girl. ‘Mr Edwards,ʼ he said, ‘what are they going to do with me?’
‘Do with you?’ I said. ‘Young fellow, they’re going to make you well.’
‘I’m not sick.’ In that moment he didn’t seem it, and I could imagine myself telling Dr Herbert he was ready to go home. He stared at his legs stretched ahead of him in the water. ‘I’m a terrible sinner, though.’
See older publications
I am the author of three short story collections.
For His Warriors,
originally published by Gwasg y Bwthyn, Caernarfon, with Welsh Books Council support, now join
Prayer at the End
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, 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.