Issue 85,

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New Welsh Review 85, Autumn 2009


The Common Reader (Kathryn Gray)
As I write, the winner of the Wales Book of the Year has just been announced: Deborah Kay Davies for her remarkable short story collection Grace, Tamar and Laszlo the Beautiful. It's been a truly vintage year for Welsh writers and publishers. Prior to the longlist announcement, I drew up my own prediction of who would make it to the top ten. I whittled my list down to fifteen titles, all of which I thought would stand a strong chance - a combination of those works that I was certain would attract the attention of a judging panel and my own personal 'picks'. I was surprised on both counts. This year's longlist defied fashion. Most remarkably, poetry represented the majority genre for the first time in the history of the prize, and two short story collections were given the nod in an era when you'll be hard pressed to find a short story collection by a contemporary writer in any bookshop at more...


Rapid Response by John E. McGrath
John E. McGrath on the vision and 'extraordinary adventure' of National Theatre Wales that, at times, is 'like dancing into a minefield'.

Migrations by Jasmine Donahaye
Part-memoir, part-natural history, part-political awakening, Jasmine Donahaye on childhood memories and adult perceptions of her family visits to the Middle East.

Garden Paths and Blind Spots by Lucie Armitt
Lucie Armitt gives a critical review of Sarah Waters's The Little Stranger: 'she is a commensurate storyteller whose...novels are akin to a gorgeous meal'.

Look Homeward, Angel by Byron Rogers
In his typically direct and humorous style, Byron Rogers writes on biography and autobiography. His own autobiography, ME, was published this summer.

First Hand by Stevie Davies
On researching her forthcoming novel Into Suez.

Last Word by Meirion Jordan
Poet and mathematician Meirion Jordan on writing history through poetry.

Photo Essay: Gower by David Pearl and Nigel Jenkins
A selection of images from the book of the same name, with an introduction from Nogel Jenkins.


A Bed on the Prairie by Robert Minhinnick
Knockout by Tyler Keevil


Poems by :
Matt Bryden
Claire Crowther
Kelly Grovier
Pascale Petit
Meryl Pugh
Plus the New Welsh Review Poetry Prize 2009 winners:
John Goodby
Philip Tomkins
Katherine Stansfield


The majority of books reviewed in New Welsh Review can
be bought online from, the Welsh Books Council's online
bookshop, by simply clicking on the 'buy now' icon. For any that
are unavailable, please contact the publishers or ask in your local
bookshop. All details were correct at the time of publication.
The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan
Published by Cannongate
ISBN 9781847673046 pb £10.99
Reviewed by Stevie Davies
Buy at

The Clockwork Gift by Claire Crowther
Published by Shearsman
ISBN 9781848610323 pb £8.95
Reviewed by David Wheatley
Buy at

The Suicide Club by Rhys Thomas
Published by Doubleday
ISBN 9780385614726 pb £11.99
Reviewed by Katherine Stansfield
Buy at

In Her Element by Jane MacNamee Ed.
Published by Honno
ISBN 9781870206969 pb £7.99
Reviewed by Jeni Williams
Buy at

Everything is Sinister by David Llewellyn
Published by Seren
ISBN 9781854114693 pb £7.99
Reviewed by Jerome de Groot
Buy at

Twenty Thousand Saints by Fflur Dafydd
Published by Alcemi
ISBN 9780955527227 pb £9.99
Reviewed by Anna Kiernan
Buy at

Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney by Dennis O'Driscoll
Published by Faber
ISBN 9780571242535 pb £9.99
Reviewed by Andrew McNeillie
Buy at

The Place of Wales: Staging Place in Contemporary Welsh Drama in English (MUSE, Mainz University Studies in English) by Alyce von Rothkirch
Published by Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier.
ISBN 978388479096 pb £25.00 EUR
Reviewed by Kaite O'Reilly
Buy at

The Heyday in the Blood by Geraint Goodwin
Published by Parthian/Library of Wales
ISBN 9781905762835 pb £8.99
Reviewed by Sam Adams
Buy at

Leslie Norris: The Complete Poems by Meic Stephens Ed.
Published by Seren
ISBN 9781854114679 pb £25.00
Reviewed by Matthew Jarvis
Buy at

The Great Master of Ecstasy by Glenda Beagan
Published by Seren
ISBN 9781854114877 pb £7.99
Reviewed by Jem Poster
Buy at

The Breathing by Mary-Ann Constantine
Published by Planet Books
ISBN 9780954088187 pb £6.99
Reviewed by Jem Poster
Buy at

The Sleepwalker's Ball by Alan Bilton
Published by Alcemi
ISBN 9780955527265 pb £9.99
Reviewed by Siân Melangell Dafydd
Buy at


You can now get a taste of some of the excellent pieces in this issue online:

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A brief note on copyright:all authors have given permission for their work to appear online on New Welsh Review's website. Copyright remains with the author. If you wish to reproduce part or all of any article then the permission of the author must be sought, and the author and New Welsh Review credited accordingly.

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