New Library of Wales Titles

Welsh Books Council

New Library of Wales Titles - 26 October 2007

Parthian Press Release 25/10/2007

Poetry, sport, short stories and a novel following the 1904 religious revival make a varied and fascinating addition to  The Library of Wales  this autumn.

Poetry 1900-2000  covers the development of the Welsh poetry in English during the twentieth century and has been edited by Professor Meic Stephens. It features the work of 100 poets in the most comprehensive anthology of Welsh poetry in English ever published. The preface to the book is provided by Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM, who reflects on why poetry is so important to  Wales  as a nation.  

Sport, Library of Wales  Anthology,  is a collection of the best of Welsh sports writing and includes work by Richard Burton, Dylan Thomas and Dannie Abse. It has been edited by Professor Gareth Williams of the  University  of  Glamorgan, and includes a foreword from the First Minister, Rhodri Morgan AM, explaining why sport means so much to him and to the Welsh. 

Perhaps the most unusual book is a collection of short stories,  Rhapsody,  by Dorothy Edwards. In a striking and original work, the short stories reflect the talent of a young writer who was unable to fulfil her early promise when she died in tragic circumstances on the Caerphilly to  Cardiff  valley line in 1932.  

The tale of the 1904 religious revival is portrayed in characteristically robust and passionate style by the  Rhondda  writer Rhys Davies. First published in 1927,  The Withered Root  brought the work of the young Rhys Davies to international attention and led to a meeting in the south of  France  with D.H. Lawrence.  

The Library of Wales, published by Parthian with support from the Welsh Assembly Government and the Welsh Books Council, has succeeded in establishing itself as a key development in Welsh cultural life since it was launched in January 2006. Nearly 17,000 copies of books have been sold, and titles such as Raymond Williams’s  Border Country  and Margiad Evans’s  Country Dance  have been featured and adapted on radio and for theatre. The series has also had an international impact: the Library of Wales was launched in  New York, and Gwyn Thomas’s  The Dark Philosophers  is being translated into Spanish with the prestigious  Madrid  publishers Siruela.  

Series Editor Dai Smith commented: "The new additions to the series emphasise the value and depth of our literary heritage in the English language. And with Dafydd Elis Thomas AM providing the introduction for Poetry and Rhodri Morgan AM the introduction for Sport, we have political engagement with writing and the basis for a great debate. Are we poets or sportsmen and women?"  

Minister for Heritage Rhodri Glyn Thomas has welcomed the new additions to the series:   "Wales  is a country made up of many communities, and an intrinsic part of forging a modern Welsh identity is understanding our past. It is very important that English literature from  Wales  is available and read in  Wales, by new generations, and I’m delighted that this series, bringing the English-language classics of  Wales  back into print has been so successful."    

Professor M. Wynn Thomas, Chair of the Welsh Books Council, said: "These volumes are a very welcome addition to what is already a successfully established series, and of particular significance at this time is the expansion of the series to include works that are not conventionally categorised as literary. Furthermore, the series has made possible the publication of the first definitive collection of twentieth-century English-language poetry from  Wales. In these respects, the series continues not only to grow but to develop."

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