• Announcing Story, Vols. I & II
  • Brenda Chamberlain Centenary 2012
  • Women's Writing from the Library of Wales
  • Library of Wales enewsletter
  • Recent ebooks

Carwyn: A Personal Memoir

Alun Richards
Carwyn James treated rugby football as if it was an art form and aesthetics part of the coaching manual. This son of a miner, from Cefneithin in the Gwendraeth Valley, was a cultivated literary scholar, an accomplished linguist, a teacher, and a would-be patriot politician, who also won two caps for Wales. He was the first man to coach any British Lions side to overseas victory, and still the only one to beat the All Blacks in a series in New Zealand. That was in 1971, and it was followed in 1972 by the triumph of his beloved Llanelli against the touring All Blacks at Stradey Park. These were the high-water marks of a life of complexity and contradiction. His subsequent and successful career as broadcaster and journalist and then a return to the game as a coach in Italy never quite settled his restless nature.
After his sudden death, alone in an Amsterdam hotel, his close friend, the Pontypridd-born writer, Alun Richards set out through what he called “A Personal Memoir” to reflect on the enigma that had been Carwyn. The result, a masterpiece of sports writing, is a reflection on the connected yet divergent cultural forces which had shaped both the rugby coach and the author; a dazzling sidestep of an essay in both social and personal interpretation.
“One of the most readable books on rugby... a stylish contribution to the game’s history.” The Times
“The best evocation there is of this charismatic if restless man.” Gerald Davies
“The Welsh persona is at the heart of Alun Richards’s book, so much so that the reader could be forgiven for imagining that Dylan Thomas played fly half for Swansea and that Harry Secombe hooked for Pontypool, and perhaps still does... untold pleasure and excitement.” Chris Laidlaw, The Sunday Times
“A craftsman, a wordsmith who can compel you to re-read and savour a sentence, a paragraph or a number of pages...” The Observer
“Stayed up half the night and cracked the dawn. Loved it.” Cliff Morgan
“A beautifully written insight into the very heart and soul of Welsh Rugby and a handsome addition to the literature of the game.” Bill McLaren
You can buy this title from the Parthian webstore here.

Young Emma

W. H. Davies
Aged fifty, acclaimed by the literary intelligentsia and exalted by London society since the publication of The Autobiography of the Super-Tramp in 1908, W. H. Davies finally decided to marry. Casting aside the praise and trinkets which populated his old life, he took to the streets of London to find a bride towards the end of World War One.
From his affair with Bella, the wife of a Sergeant Major, to his year-long liaison with the gentle Louise, to the turbulent brushes with a drunkard who fears her own murder at his hands, Davies lurches from happiness and affection to annoyance and apathy. That is, until he meets Emma.
A moving and revealing memoir of real life at the turn of the century,Young Emma is W. H. Davies’ frank and honest account of the relationship with the woman he encountered on a London street corner who was to become his wife.
Featuring a foreword by C. V. Wedgewood and an appendix by George Bernard Shaw.
“An extraordinary memoir destined to become a classic” Publishers Weekly
“Young Emma is a masterpiece, and stranger than any fiction” Sunday Telegraph
“Classic... remarkable... an extraordinary manuscript” The Observer


You can purchase Young Emma from the Parthian store here.


A Time to Laugh

Rhys Davies
Tumult and disorder, frustration, wages, strikes, riots, debts – were these to be his world? Ugliness, squalor and meanness was their portion. And yet, and yet . . . They had the full tarnished brilliance of life in them. And he began to laugh, with a soft low sound, half caught in his throat.
“the most sustained literary examination of Welsh industrial history ever published and certainly the least ideologically distorted” Meic Stephens
A Time to Laugh is set in a coal-mining valley on the eve of the 20th century against a background of industrial unrest and social change. The old certainties of pastoral Rhondda have given way to a new age of capital and steam, and life in the Valley has been transformed by strike, riot and gruelling poverty. 
Tudor Morris, a young doctor, has returned to the valley where his father has a practice, and is immediately drawn into the tumult and excitement of the fight for fair pay and conditions. He is expected to marry his childhood sweetheart Mildred, the daughter of a local solicitor but he is inexorably drawn to the passionate ideals and charms of Daisy, the sister of one of the leaders of the workers movement. Is Tudor going to follow the conventions of his class or break with tradition or gamble his life and future with the fortunes of the struggle of the people?
You can purchase A Time to Laugh from the Parthian store here.

Story II

Coming March 26, 2014
The Library of Wales’ Story anthologies feature the very best of Welsh short fiction, written amid the political, social and economic turbulence of twentieth century Wales. More than eighty outstanding works from the classics of Dylan Thomas, Rhys Davies, Arthur Machen and Gwyn Thomas to the almost forgotten brilliance of Margiad Evans and Dilys Rowe and then forward to the prize-winning work of Emyr Humphreys, Rachel Trezise and Leonora Brito, colouring and engaging in the life of a changed country. 
Story II depicts a Wales facing-up to a dramatically changed culture and society in a world where the old certainties of class and money, love and war, of living and surviving do not hold. The writers explore the spirit of a country while the ground keeps shifting beneath them. 
In this selection Dai Smith has crafted an anthology that gives a unique insight into the life of a country: identity; language; class; sex are all are explored intensely in this kaleidoscope of the best of the last fifty years of Welsh short fiction.
About the author:
Featuring writing by: Lewis Davies, Rachel Trezise, Leonora Brito, Nigel Jarrett, Tristan Hughes and many more.

Story I

Coming March 26, 2014
The Library of Wales’ Story anthologies feature the very best of Welsh short fiction, written amid the political, social and economic turbulence of twentieth century Wales and beyond. More than eighty outstanding works from the classics of Dylan Thomas, Rhys Davies, Arthur Machen and Gwyn Thomas to the almost forgotten brilliance of work by Margiad Evans and Dilys Rowe and then forward to the prize-winning work of Emyr Humphreys, Rachel Trezise and Leonora Brito, colouring and engaging in the life of a changed country. 
Story I depicts a Wales wracked by a driving capitalism, shriven by hypocrisy and soon devastated by two world wars; but still creative, resilient and sometimes laughing uproariously. The writers produced stories to entertain, engage and share in the intimate lives of a distinctive people. 
In this selection Dai Smith has crafted an anthology that gives a unique insight into the life of a country and the talent of its major writers.
About the author:
Featuring writing by: Gwyn Thomas, Richard Burton, Dylan Thomas, Alun Lewis, Arthur Machen, Alun Richards and many more.

SEPTEMBER 2012: Buy Raymond Williams' political thriller The Volunteers for 99p


We have a bargain for you this September. The Library of Wales classic The Volunteers has been selected by Amazon's Kindle store along with five more of Parthian's ebook titles to feature in their promotion '100 books under £2.99'.
For the whole of September new Library of Wales title The Volunteers, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Book Runner, A Fish Trapped Inside the Wind, Everything I Found on the Beach, Love and Other Possibilities, and The First XV are all available for only 99p!
Library of Wales classic, The Volunteers follows Lewis Redfern, once a radical, now a political analyst and journalist, as he investigates the deaths of a worker killed in the striking coalfields of Wales, and a government minister thought to be connected with the death, and pursues the sniper through an imbroglio of Civil Service leaks and international wheelings and dealings to secret organization – a source of insurrection far more powerful than anyone could have suspected – the Volunteers.
Let us know what you think of a Parthian ebook and you could win a free recent print title. Email claire_parthian@ymail.com for details.

Jill Piercy to discuss Brenda Chamberlain at PENfro Festival

Now that the Eisteddfod has come to a close for 2012, we are looking ahead to our next festival outing -  PENfro Book Festival next month -  where Jill Piercy will be discussing her forthcoming biography of Brenda Chamberlain.


Brenda Chamberlain: An Artist's Life is the first full-length biography of Brenda Chamberlain and chronicles the life of an artist and writer whose work was strongly affected by the places she lived, most famously Bardsey Island and the Greek island of Hydra.


The PENfro Book Festival is an engaging and entertaining literary festival held in the charming location of Rhosygilwen country house in the lower Teifi valley in north Pembrokeshire.


PENfro aims to provide an opportunity for writers, readers, booksellers and publishers to meet and enjoy an array of events in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. Book stalls (new and antiquarian), workshops and master-classes, readings and discussions, and competitions will provide a stimulating weekend for all.


Featuring: Christine Harrison, Eddie Butler, Angela John, Lucy Gough, Ceri Wyn Jones, Elinor Wyn Reynolds, Francesca Rhydderch, Jill Piercy, Fflur Dafydd, Thorne Moore, Janet Thomas, Jeff Towns, Elizabeth Haines, Phil Rickman, Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch, Jasmine Donahaye and Atinuke.


The festival runs on Saturday and Sunday, September 15th and 16th 2012 at Rhosygilwen, Rhoshill, Pembrokeshire, SA43 2TW.



A Kind of Loving gets to No. 2 in the Kindle Chart



In the month that we hear that ebook sales have overtaken paperbacks, we bring you some good news from the land of our Parthian classic titles. Last week a Parthian ebook climbed quietly to the dizzy heights of number 2 (NUMBER 2!) in the Kindle chart, and number 1 in the Kindle Store's Literary Fiction category, championed by the Kindle Daily Deals promotion. 
Daily Deals, a promotion lasting throughout September, sees a new ebook unveiled at a special bargain price for one day only, and on Tuesday 4th September, savvy shoppers could have Stan Barstow's A Kind of Loving for a knockdown price. It seemed to work, may that Kind of Loving for fantastic Welsh titles continue for days, weeks and many many years.

The Water-castle (November 2012)

Brenda Chamberlain


The Water-castle is a journal of love, romance and discord in 1950s Germany as a Welsh artist and poet, Elizabeth Greatorex, travels with her French husband to meet her former lover Klaus, a German count.
Elizabeth maps a frost- and snow-bound landscape of desire against the hardening borders of a newly divided Germany. In her revealing diary, she records her struggle to bridge the distance between Wales and Germany, East and West while considering her own mythologised past and real diminished present.
Brenda Chamberlain’s writing pits creative idealism, emotional hunger and sexual longing against the brutal displacements of post-war Europe.
About the author:
Brenda Chamberlain was born at Bangor in 1912. In 1931 she went to train as a painter at the Royal Academy Schools in London and five years later, after marrying the artist-craftsman John Petts, settled  in Caernarfonshire. During the Second World War she worked with her husband on the production of the Caseg Broadsheets. In 1947 she went to live on Bardsey (Ynys Enlli) where she remained until 1961. After six years on the Greek island of Ydra, she returned to Bangor; it was there, depressed and with financial problems, she died from an overdose of sleeping tablets in 1971.
Due to be published November 2012.

Turf or Stone

Margiad Evans


A gothic tale of passion, violence, cruelty and unexpected tenderness. In this her third novel, Margiad Evans conjures a tempestuous and sometimes sinister world of rural and small town border life in early twentieth century.
About the author:
Margiad Evans was born Peggy Whistler in Uxbridge in 1909, but it was the Border Country around Ross-on-Wye which became central to her consciousness and her writing. She took the name Margiad Evans to reflect this sense of identity. Her first novel, Country Dance, was published in 1932, and is known as 'The Welsh Wuthering Heights'. Her work includes Country Dance (1932); The Wooden Doctor (1933); Turf or Stone (1934), and Creed (1936), as well as non-fiction, short stories, autobiography and two collections of poetry, Poems from Obscurity (1947) and A Candle Ahead (1956) as well as two memoirs, including an account of her experiences of epilepsy. She died in 1958.



Buy Turf or Stone from the Parthian online bookstore for £8.99


This title is also available as an eBook: http://thelibraryofwales.com/node/68


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