‘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.

Owen Wynne Jones (also known as Glasynys, 1828-1870), was born in Rhostryfan, the same parish as Richard Hughes Williams (1878-1919), and worked in a quarry at the age of ten. In 1855 he began work as a teacher, and in 1860 he was ordained. He was an eisteddfotwr, journalist, folklorist and writer, whose stories were published in a selection edited by Saunders Lewis (1948).

Concerning Spirits

My uncle Tomos from Esgair Adda, peace on his bones, came from one of the old families of Mawddwy, and was a very devout man. He told this story about the foul deeds of two unruly witches.

A familiar spirit followed Bessi constantly, though most of the time it was unseen.* Once, when she was near Esgair Adda, requesting parish support from the warden, my Uncle Tomos’s father, she told him with a torrent of curses that if she did not get what she wanted he would regret it within a few minutes. He replied, quite calmly, ‘Time will tell, Bessi.’ But not three minutes later, the sheep were running pell-mell over the mountain in their terror, breaking their necks by the dozen, and the old man was forced to make peace with that vicious woman.

It was believed that Bessi had sold her soul to the devil. When her time on earth came to an end, something snatched her away, and off she went across the slopes of Cowrach like a leaf before the wind. When they found her, she was in the weir at Mallwyd, dead and cold, and it is said that there was a look of utter horror on her face. And that was the end of Bessi, and all her witchcraft.

But if Bessi was a vicious woman, Sali was a hundred times worse. There was no peace in sleeping or waking while that hideous she-elf was alive. As a young girl, she had been widely admired, but somehow she had grown sluttish and wanton in the company of some rich young popinjay who lived nearby. Her honour was soiled, and from then on it would have been better for her to hang herself than to live as the wretch she became. She turned to that cursed land of enchantment, and there was no deed under the sun so vile that she would not attempt it. She wanted nothing but to torment and harass her neighbours. In one place she would turn the milk so it was impossible to churn, try as one might; in another, she would charm the sheep so a hundred shepherds could not keep them in their pasture; in yet another place, she would give the cattle the evil eye, and make the best of the milch cows infertile for three years, and even the still births of the calves would not be the end of the curse. Many wholesome, healthy young girls she cast down as sickbed wretches, and many mothers she left bereft of those their hearts had loved. It was said that she never slept, but was constantly on the watch for any chance to show her magic. And somehow she knew of every plan that was made to get rid of her. One night two or three men in the pub in Dinas were laying plans to take her to Shrewsbury and lay her under the hand of the law as a madwoman, and she knew the entire plan by morning. She caused six bullocks belonging to the first man to fall from a crag, drove the dogs belonging to the second to worry the sheep in their folds, and put a curse on the third, so that even if he had been offered the world in exchange for his torment, he could not have got free of it for a moment. When he sat down, he felt that it was on prickles and thorns, and so he had to roam like a beast in his frenzy: longing to sit down, yet unable to rest; exhausted by his wanderings, yet unable to sit still even for an instant.

A certain cunning man who lived in the south was asked to put a spell on Sali. It was terrible magic he wrought on her, for her own familiar spirit turned on her and began to torment her with pains, and there was no end to her suffering. She took to running about, crying wildly, ‘The pain! The pain!’ and then she would tear at her flesh in her ferocity. Whenever she had a moment of ease she would either pray or curse, pleading for even greater agonies to fall on the wretch who had seduced her from the paths of virtue. But Sali passed over at last. It was said that her whole body was a mass of cuts and sores, and that not one inch of her flesh was whole. Her house was abandoned for many long years and, ‘so they say,’ is an unquiet place to this day. Rhys y Cwm, ‘so they say,’ took some of her books, but was unable to make any sense of them, and so all of Sali’s witchcraft in Cwm Mawddwy came to end.

That is a taste of the mountain beliefs.

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.