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

Our new ebook version of Dorothy Edwards' Rhapsody is now available for just 99p


Parthian are currently offering our new ebook edition of Dorothy Edwards' brilliant short story collection Rhapsody at 99p. For those who prefer physical books, this title forms part of the Library of Wales series.
'I can't think of a more wonderful collection of stories than Rhapsody by Dorothy Edwards. It's a card-carrying masterpiece. Funny, creepy, and strangely beautiful.' - Dan Rhodes 
"Dorothy Edwards is one of the most remarkable and remarkably neglected authors in the English language of the early twentieth century. Though she was celebrated briefly in her lifetime, after her suicide at the age of thirty-one in 1934, her two books, Rhapsody of 1927 and the novel Winter Sonata of 1928, went out of print. The Virago reprints of the mid-eighties, with thoughtful introductions by Elaine Morgan, were crucial acts of rescue, but Edwards deserves more. [...] At least three of the 'Rhapsody' stories - 'A Country House', 'Days', and the brilliant, allusive and enigmatic 'A Garland of Earth' - are small masterpieces. All of them are extremely controlled studies of constrained desire, loneliness and incomplete relationships." - Christopher Meredith, taken from the foreword of the Library of Wales edition of 'Rhapsody', now available on ebook.
The ten stories of Rhapsody, together with the three previously uncollected pieces added to this edition, are utterly distinctive in voice and sensibility. At least three of the Rhapsody stories – ‘A Country House’, ‘Days’, and the brilliant, allusive and enigmatic ‘A Garland of Earth’- are small masterpieces. Not bad by the age of twenty-four. All of them are extremely controlled studies of constrained desire, loneliness and incomplete relationships for which Edwards was developing a non-realist world of imagery and symbolism and her own language. Music is one of the motifs. For Edwards, music represents art, but also the possibility of sexual passion which is otherwise largely unstated but is everywhere a powerful undercurrent.
About Dorothy Edwards:
Dorothy Edwards was born in 1903 in Ogmore Vale, a small mining community in Mid Glamorgan. Her father, an ardent socialist and Independent Labour Party leader, was the local school headmaster. After a scholarship to Howell’s School for Girls, Llandaf, she took a degree at Cardiff University in Greek and Philosophy, but literature was her passion and soon after graduating her short stories began to appear in magazines and journals. These were collected in Rhapsody (1927), along with several previously unpublished stories written during the nine months Edwards spent in Vienna and Florence. Her novel Winter Sonata (1928) followed shortly afterwards. She spent the following years trying to supplement her mother’s meagre pension by writing stories and articles for magazines and newspapers, and doing some extra-mural teaching at Cardiff University, but she never undertook full-time employment. After a brief period spent living in London with acquaintances from the Bloomsbury circle, Edwards committed suicide on a Cardiff railway line in 1934. A note left in her pocket at the time of her death read: ‘I am killing myself because I have never sincerely loved any human being all my life. I have accepted kindness and friendship and even love without gratitude, and given nothing in return.’
Further links:

Bangor and Beyond: On the trail of Brenda Chamberlain


On Saturday 20th October I woke up in Caernarfon, not something I can claim to have had the pleasure of before. It seemed wholly appropriate several coffees later, as I was strolling about under the arches of the town walls and down to the water where the castle stood guard... for it was the day we were set to launch the new Library of Wales edition of The Water-castle by Brenda Chamberlain following a walk through a mountain of memories of her life. 
Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery
Blessed with the weather, over 40 literary tourists gathered at Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery at 2pm to go on a sunny magical mystery tour to infinity and beyond... well to Bangor and Beyond at least, we had no idea how far this beyond would be, just that we could get there and back in three hours, and part of our journey would involve a bus.
We took a moment to look around the current exhibition celebrating the centenary of local artist and writer Brenda Chamberlain's birth. Chamberlain twice won the Gold Medal in Fine Art at the National Eisteddfod of Wales and held seven solo exhibitions and over 30 group shows during her lifetime. The show included a selection of Brenda Chamberlain’s more abstract works from Poems with Drawings but also included works relating to her books A Rope of Vines, Tide-race and The Water-castle. The exhibition runs until 17 November 2012.
After an arty mooch, the bus driver arrived, the wheels went round and round and we were soon on our way with a jovial On The Buses welcome from Literature Wales' tour organiser Geraint Rhys Edwards. Logistics explained,  he passed the baton over to our tour guides, both experts on Brenda Chamberlain's life and work -- biographer Jill Piercy and Dr Ceridwen Lloyd-Morgan, Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Welsh, University of Cardiff.
All Change: Euston Road
Dr Lloyd-Morgan lead us on a tour of Chamberlain's childhood in Bangor's 'West End'. We passed a house with a long garden that backed up onto a mountain, where telling her brother tall tales about how she had come from Africa, a six year old Chamberlain had decided she wanted to be a writer and an artist, and, encouraged by her mother, a formidable woman, so she did.
Piercy recounted how, as a child Chamberlain had owned a frizzy haired doll, of which she had written: 'This doll taught me to be indifferent to the colour bar' yet she went on to live a colourful life. Chamberlain was born in Bangor, and was to return to it many times, it became a kind of base for her, the place of the first and the last of her days. At Euston Road we stopped to look at a red-bricked terraced house where the artist had lived as a child, imagining her playing on the street, peering out through the railings at the magnificent view beyond.
Grave tidings...
'Emotionally, I was always tempted to drop the writing and concentrate on painting, because for some unknown reason, writing has always been for me an unhappy activity; while painting, almost inevitably makes me happy. But however I tried to discipline myself, sooner or later the other form would take over, dominate entirely for a time, then swing back again.'
Next stop on the mystery tour was a more sombre affair, a visit to Chamberlain's grave in Glanadda Cemetery. Jill delicately explained the sad circumstances surrounding her last years and the depression that led to Chamberlain's death in 1971 from a regretted overdose. An end formerly concealed by friends and family.
She'll be coming round the mountain... Llanllechid, near Bethesda, Caerns
The bus dropped us at lower ground and we walked footpath and lane from there to Tŷ’r Mynydd  and the gate to the mountain.
This was the place where Brenda had lived with the then husband, the artist-craftsman John Petts from 1936 until 1945, following her time studying art at the Royal Academy 
Schools in London. Chamberlain began working with her husband on the production of the Caseg Broadsheets, a series of six which included engravings alongside poems by Dylan Thomas, Alun Lewis, Lynette Roberts and herself as well as translations of early Welsh poems by H. Idris Bell. This period of Chamberlain's life is recounted in her book Alun Lewis and the Making of the Caseg Broadsheets (1969). 
Beside the Literature Wales Writers Plaque at Tŷ’r Mynydd Dr Lloyd-Morgan sang Welsh children's songs that she felt had inspired Brenda's poetry, and further up on the mountain, in between interupting sheep, Piercy told us tales of Chamberlain camping out on the mountain in April during the Second World War, because she would be better able to see the bombers and run from there than from the house. These anecdotes were knitting together a portrait of Brenda Chamberlain as a strong-willed, singleminded artist and writer full of odd quirks, and yet behind this hardy strength we sensed a much more fragile woman, one able to live in extremities of mountain-side winters or Bardsey island winters with no running water, but prone to drawing in to herself, and imposing periods of emotional isolation. 
'Chamberlain's friend Jonah Jones said that she arrived on Bardsey 'part-wounded in some way' after the breakdown of her marriage to the artist and engraver John Petts.' Damian Walford Davies, from his foreword to The Water-castle
Jill explained that wherever she lived, 'she wrote, painted and kept illustrated journals and the style of her work changed in response to her surroundings.' Chamberlain was also a prolific letter writer, and many of these letters remain, to offer further insights, as will be apparent in Jill's biography of Brenda Chamberlain, forthcoming from Parthian Books in 2013.
Return to Bangor
   (Jill Piercy (left) and Dr Ceridwen Lloyd-Morgan)
Then we returned to bus, and to Bangor, taking a gentle stroll from the old Girls’ School (now the William Mathias Centre) to Menai View Terrace where Brenda had several addresses in her last years in Bangor (1967-1971) and on past the top of Siliwen Road to view Plas Rhianfa across the Straits. Finally we were able to view examples of Brenda Chamberlain’s work in Lecture Room 2, due to be renamed the Brenda Chamberlain Lecture Room in her honour. 
Professor Damian Walford Davies joined us here, to launch the new Library of Wales edition of The Water-castle at a reception generously supported by Bangor University. First published in 1964, Brenda Chamberlain's The Water-castle is a journal of love and discord in post-war Germany as a Welsh woman travels with her French husband to meet her former lover, a German count. Editor of the new edition, Walford Davies gave an engaging, interesting introduction to Chamberlain's writing, talking of her exciting, experimental methods of mapping physical and emotional landscapes, and positioning Chamberlain as a political artist, concluding that: 
'The Water-castle is both an ambitiously unconventional work and a paradigmatic 'Anglo-Welsh' text.'
The lovely Eirian from the excellent indie bookshop Palas Print was also on hand to sell Chamberlain's books to all who wanted them, and many people did.
Of the tour, Lleucu Siencyn, CEO at Literature Wales said:
'The Brenda Chamberlain’s Bangor & Beyond tour was the final English language instalment in the 2012 Literary Tourism Events Programme. We were delighted to re-trace Chamberlain’s footsteps through the Bangor area with a bus filled with her fans, experts and friends. Standing on Llanllechid Mountain, looking over to Ynys Môn, with commentary, readings and song from Jill Piercy and Dr Ceridwen Lloyd-Morgan, was a 2012 highlight. Incisive analysis by Dr Damian Walford Davies in Bangor University’s newly re-named Brenda Chamberlain Lecture Theatre, surrounded by her artworks, was also a privilege. We look forward to welcoming audiences to next year’s Literary Tours – the new line-up will be announced in April 2013.'
To end at words spied in the exhibition at the beginning of our walk and tour: 
'There is never an end.
Nothing ever finishes, we flow like wine,
generation into generation, not dying.'
Long let the Library of Wales continue to give forgotten words and writers new lives and new readers. 
Further links:
See the full photo album from our Brenda Chamberlain walk.
Find out more about Brenda Chamberlain and see some of the locations from our walk in the Rolf on Art programme available on BBC iPlayer until Friday 9 November. 

Long Revolutions in Wales and Japan

2012 mark 50 years since the publication of Raymond Williams’s seminal volume The Long Revolution (republished by Parthian Books earlier this year).


On Friday November 2nd, The Burton Centre / CREW, Swansea University, will host a conference at the Dylan Thomas Centre entitled ‘Long Revolutions in Wales and Japan’.


The conference is free to Swansea University students and staff and £10 for everyone else. Tickets available from the Dylan Thomas Centre. The event is part of the Dylan Thomas Festival 2013.


Raymond Williams was born in 1921 in the Welsh border village of Pandy. He taught at both Oxford and Cambridge, and in 1974 was appointed as Professor of Drama at Cambridge. His best-known publications include; Culture and Society (1958), Border Country (1964), The Country and the City (1973), Keywords (1976) and Marxism and Literature (1977).
This title is also available as an ebook: http://thelibraryofwales.com/node/68

Library of Wales enewsletter: October 2012



The Library of Wales is a Welsh Government project designed to ensure that all of the rich and extensive literature in Wales that has been written in English will now be made available to readers in and beyond Wales. The series is published by Parthian Books. See the full catalogue at http://thelibraryofwales.com/
Our October enewsletter contains updates on news, events, book launches and special offers on classic titles in the Library of Wales range as well as related titles also published by Parthian Books.

Jon Gower's Reading Challenge continues with A Man's Estate


A Man's Estate is another clear and perfect reason to laud the gifts bestowed on Emyr Humphreys, the most detailed chronicler of twentieth century Wales, and author of capacious, intuitive fictions, properly lauded by such scholars as M. Wynn Thomas.  A Man's Estate, though weightily brooding and unburdened by too much joy, or very much redemption, uses one corner of the country to examine the stuff of life, how troubling it can be, though how easily explained. We are always wanting.  And found wanting. Maybe, in the final rub our wanting is who and what we are.



Author, Broadcaster and Raconteur Jon Gower has undertaken the challenge to read all 33 titles in the current Library of Wales series, and review them. You can read his full review of Emyr Humphreys' A Man's Estate on Wales Arts Review now.

The 2013 M. Wynn Thomas Prize is open for entries


The M. Wynn Thomas Prize is offered to celebrate outstanding scholarly work in the field of Welsh writing in English. There are two prize categories: the ‘Open’ category and the ‘New Scholars’ category. Essays submitted may be unpublished or published. Topics may include all aspects of Welsh writing in English as well as the inter-relationship of Welsh writing in English with cognate areas (Welsh Studies, history, cultural studies, film/media studies, translation studies, performance/theatre studies, digital humanities, comparative literature etc.).
Shortlisted essays which are unpublished will automatically be considered for publication in the International Journal of Welsh Writing in English unless the author decides otherwise.
The prize is awarded for a piece of substantial scholarship that is engagingly written. We encourage submissions that are ground-breaking in terms of subject-matter and/or methodology/disciplinarity. Essays that grapple with new ideas in an intelligent and conceptualised way are preferred.
The prize is awarded at the annual conference of the Association of Welsh writing in English, which takes place around Easter every year in Gregynog Hall (near Newtown).
The award is supported by the Learned Society of Wales, the University of Wales Press and Parthian Books.
Prize categories:
‘Open’ Category
Essays in this category will be ca. 6,000-8,000 words long, of the highest scholarly quality and either already published in, or of a standard appropriate to an international, peer-reviewed journal. Authors may be academics and scholars who are not affiliated with an HE institution.
Prize: £150 and a full set of the Library of Wales series of books published by Parthian.
‘New Scholars’ Category
Essays in this category will be ca. 4,000-7,000 words long and of highly developed scholarly quality appropriate to the author’s level of (postgraduate) study. Authors may be postgraduate students or students who have recently graduated.
Prize: £150 and a full set of the Library of Wales series of books published by Parthian.
Deadline: Essays must be submitted by email or by post by 15 December 2012.
Contact Alyce von Rothkirch for more information and to submit your essays:
Dr Alyce von Rothkirch
DACE, Swansea University
Singleton Park
Swansea SA2 8PP

Brenda Chamberlain Centenary: Bangor Walk & launch of The Water-castle 20 October 2012


Brenda Chamberlain (1912-1971) was an outstanding artist and writer of prose and poetry who was born in Bangor, north Wales. After studying at the Royal Academy Schools in London, she returned to Wales with the artist John Petts. During her lifetime, she twice won the Gold Medal in Fine Art at the National Eisteddfod of Wales, held seven solo exhibitions in London and Wales and her work was seen in over 30 group shows.


To mark the centenary year of the brilliant Welsh artist and writer, from September onwards, Parthian will be publishing a series of works by and about Brenda: beginning with a Library of Wales edition of Brenda’s The Water Castle this October.


The Water-castle

 First published in 1964, Brenda Chamberlain's The Water-castle is a journal of love and discord in post-war Germany as a Welsh woman travels with her French husband to meet her former lover, a German count.


Join us for the launch of The Water-castle on Saturday 20 October at 5pm, following our walk in association with the 2012 Literature Wales Literary Tourism programme: Brenda Chamberlain's Bangor and Beyond with Jill Piercy. £8 (£7 concession) (2-5pm). Jill Piecy and Dr Ceridwen Lloyd-Morgan will lead a walk around Bangor, followed by a short bus tour to the Bethesda area where she lived when first married. The afternoon will end with the launch of a new Library of Wales edition of Brenda Chamberlain's The Water-castle generously hosted by Bangor University and introduced by Damian Walford Davies.


More Brenda Chamberlain Centenary celebrations forthcoming...


An Artist's Life


Brenda Chamberlain: An Artist’s Life is a biography by Jill Piercy. Jill is an exhibition curator, consultant and writer specialising in contemporary art and craft in Wales. She has written for numerous publications and has prepared catalogue essays for many galleries in Wales. For six years she was the Art and Craft Officer for the National Eisteddfod of Wales and has curated work for many galleries in Wales, Europe and USA. Jill curated three exhibitions of work by Brenda Chamberlain in 1988, 2007 and 2008.

Jill will be talking about An Artist's Life at xx minifest of women's writingThe festival runs on Saturday October 27th 2012 at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff.


The Protagonists


And, finally, October sees the publication of The Protagonists, a play written by Brenda, edited by Damian Walford Davies. Damian will be in discussion with Susie Wild about his own writing and the life and work of Brenda Chamberlain at Cardiff Literary Salon in November. At Sherman Cymru, Cardiff. November 1st 2012, 7:30 pm. Free Entry. Supported by Sherman Cymru, Literature Wales Library of Wales and Seren Books.


Also don't miss: A Rope of Vines


A Rope of Vines, Brenda Chamberlain's beautiful and personal account of her time on the Greek Island of Ydra, was included in the Library of Wales Series in 2009. 


For more details on all our events visit: http://www.parthianbooks.com/events


Our Autumn Programme of Events

The Library of Wales is a Welsh Assembly Government project designed to ensure that all of the rich and extensive literature in Wales that has been written in English will now be made available to readers in and beyond Wales. The series is published by Parthian Books. Our Autumn programme of events celebrates a number of writers in the series including the great horror writer Arthur Machen at Halloween, and the work of Brenda Chamberlain in this, her centenary year. We hope you can join us at one or more of the following...

Thurs 11 October 2012: Brenda Chamberlain Centenary event with Gwen Davies, New Welsh Review and Dr Damian Walford Davies. As part of Mental Health Week 2012 in Ceredigion Library, New Welsh Review and Parthian Books profile and celebrate the life and work of the Welsh artist and author Brenda Chamberlain, whose last five years and many of her works were affected by mental distress. Damian, Chair of Literature Wales, is the editor of new editions of Brenda Chamberlain's ground-breaking play, The Protagonists, and her novel, The Water-castle, both forthcoming from Parthian alongside Jill Piercy's biography, Brenda Chamberlain: An Artist's Life.Ceredigion Library, Aberystwyth Old Town Hall. Free Entry. Supported by Literature Wales. www.ceredigion.gov.uk 
Sat 20 October 2012 (2pm): Brenda Chamberlain's Bangor and Beyond Literary Tour featuring Jill Piercy and Ceridwen Lloyd-Morgan. This event is followed by the launch of the Library of Wales edition of The Water-castle by Brenda Chamberlain at Bangor University. Organised by Literature Wales and Parthian Books. Start point: Gwynedd Museum & Art Gallery, Ffordd Gwynedd, Bangor. £8 (£7 Welsh Academy Members).
27 Oct 2012 (12.30pm): Library of Wales Launch of Ron Berry’s 'Flame and Slag' with Leighton Andrews AM. Launch of Ron Berry’s Flame and Slag, with Leighton Andrews AM. 12.30pm, Llafur Day School, Rhondda Heritage Park. Free. In Ron Berry’s masterpiece, and kaleidoscopic history of the South Wales valleys, lovers Rees Stevens and Ellen Vaughan must discover and interpret Ellen's father's journal. Flame and Slag marks Ron's second appearance in the Library of Wales series, following publication of So Long, Hector Bebb in 2006, as the Library of Wales' inaugural title.
Sat 27 October (5.45pm): WELSH WOMEN’s CLASSICS. Honno’s Welsh Women’s Classics series editor Jane Aaron will be joined by Diana Wallace (editor of Here Are Lovers by Hilda Vaughan) and Jill Piercy (biographer of Brenda Chamberlain). Hosted by Seren’s Fiction Editor Penny Thomas. Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff. £4. xxwales.wordpress.com This event is supported by Literature Wales, Chapter Arts Centre, The Co-operative, and Cardiff Metropoilitan University. 
Wed 31 October (6.30pm): Newport & Gwent Literary Society Lecture: Arthur Machen by Dr Juliette Wood, Associate Lecturer in the School of Welsh at Cardiff University. HP Lovecraft named Machen as a master of supernatural fiction. His novels The Great God Pan and The Hill of Dreams are published by Parthian in the Library of Wales series. This event is supported by Literature Wales. Holiday Inn, Coldra, Newport. newportandgwentliterarysociety.wordpress.com
Wed 31 October (7.30pm): Brenda Chamberlain centenary event with New Welsh Review, Parthian and Fluellen. Join biographer Jill Piercy and New Welsh Review's Gwen Davies for an evening celebrating Brenda's work, her connections with Alun Lewis, Lynette Roberts and Dylan Thomas, and the turbulent life behind it all. Fluellen also present a script in hand performance of extracts from Chamberlain's play, The Protagonists. Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea. £6 / £4.20 / £2.40. www.dylanthomas.com 
1 November 2012 (7.30pm): Cardiff Literary Salon featuring Damian Walford Davies. A  Brenda Chamberlain centenary event. Damian, Chair of Literature Wales, is the editor of new editions of Brenda Chamberlain's novel, The Water-castle for which this is the Cardiff launch. He is also the editor of her ground-breaking play, The Protagonists, forthcoming from Parthian. Sherman Cymru, Cardiff. Free entry. www.shermancymru.co.uk 
2 November 2012 (7pm): Fiction or History? Dai Smith talk on the Library of Wales at Penarth Book Festival. Dai Smith cultural historian and writer discusses the Library of Wales and how novelists have portrayed the people and place of South Wales, with Lewis Davies, playwright and novelist. Penarth Book Festival runs between 29 October and 4 November 2012. www.penarthbookfestival.org.uk
Find out more:
To see the full catalogue of Library of Wales titles please visit www.libraryofwales.com
For more details of all of our events please visit http://www.parthianbooks.com/events
Follow us on Twitter: @libraryofwales


The Washington Times review of 'Goodbye, Twentieth Century'


"After reading this enormously engaging account of a long, active and creative life, not only as a poet but a physician who practiced full time for 30 years, I feel he deserves honoring. [...] The great thing about Dr. Abse that emerges from “Goodbye Twentieth Century” is his uncommon gusto: for poetry, for doctoring, for being a husband and father, for playing — and watching — soccer."
Dannie Abse's autobiography Goodbye, Twentieth Century has been reviewed by Martin Ruben in The Washington Times.

Friends of Bardsey Murals Brenda Chamberlain Promotional Pack


A special offer for The Friends of the Brenda Chamberlain Bardsey Murals.
Find this promotional pack of The Water-castle and A Rope of Vines in the Library of Wales section of the Parthian online bookshop, and buy it for only £10 by entering the special offer code circulating in September's newsletter when you get to the checkout.

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