Forthcoming Publication on Rarebyte Imprint - The Plankton Collector by Cath Barton



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Click here to pre-order in paperback format from Gwales.

The winner of New Welsh Writing Awards 2017: AmeriCymru Prize for A Novella, The Plankton Collector, by Cath Barton, publishes on 26 September 2018.

“[Cath Barton] writes her story lines with such confidence and in prose that is so delightful to read, that I just couldn't put it down. It's beautiful. A delicate paean for coming together - full of understanding for the quirks and pitfalls and ultimate goodness in human nature.”
- Mavis Cheek, author of Amenable Women

“Haunts like memory, shimmering in and out of love and loss with unexpected, poignant hope. Richly lyrical, beautifully original”
- Helen Sedgwick, author of The Growing Season

“A brilliantly evoked examination of memory and innocence… delivers a kaleidoscope of compelling voices united by a spectral visitor, not from the heights, but the apparent depths. Haunting.”
- James Clammer, author of Why I Went Back

“Cath Barton tells the story… with a lyrical voice that is very much her own. This beautifully structured novella leads the reader to a resolution that is both moving and deeply satisfying.”
- Francesca Rhydderch, author of The Rice Paper Diaries

“Painterly… lush dreamy prose creates a vivid landscape, while its lyricism transports the reader. Cleverly creates a universe of new realities.”
- Cathryn Summerhayes, literary agent at Curtis Brown


About the Novella


In this atmospheric novella, the mysterious Plankton Collector visits members of a family torn apart by grief and regret. he comes in different guises. For ten year-old Mary, he is Mr Smith who takes her on a train journey to the seaside. Her mother, Rose, meets him as Stephen, by her son's graveside. Rose's youngest, Bunny, encounters him as the gardener. For husband and father David, meanwhile, the meeting is with a love from his youth. And long-lost Uncle Barnaby takes the children for a week's holiday during which their parents begin a reconciliation. All visitors are manifestations of the Plankton Collector who teaches those he encounters the difference between the discarded weight of unhappy memories and the lightness borne by happiness recalled.

About the Author


Cath Barton was born in the English Midlands and now lives in Abergavenny, south Wales. Her short stories have been published in anthologies in Australia, the US and the UK, most recently in Normal Deviation (Wonderbox Publishing) and Nothing Is As It Was (Retreat West books) and in literary magazines The Lonely Crowd and Strix. Cath was Literature Editor of California-based Celtic Family Magazine (2013-2016) and is currently on the 2018 enhanced mentoring scheme for writers run by Literature Wales, working on a collection of short stories inspired by the work of the sixteenth century Dutch artist Hieronymus Bosch.



Other Welsh Rarebyte titles still available to buy



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The winner of New Welsh Writing Awards 2016: University of South Wales Prize for Travel Writing, Bush Meat, by Mandy Sutter, pub date 15 October 2017.

Click here to buy in paperback format, and here to buy an ebook (Amazon Kindle) version.

For Sarah’s family, memories of early Sixties Aba in south-eastern Nigeria are scorched onto their hearts. A days-old burial mound exposed as an ‘exploded diagram’ of bones picked clean by beasts. Adaku the Barbary duck with a ‘melted face’, who was conscripted into friendship by six-year-old Sarah in the first of a lifetime’s unlikely alliances, forged by necessity and relocation. The narcotic puff let out from the freezer in the meat-man’s shack off the Ikot Ekpene road, where Maureen, Sarah’s lonely mother, gave up aspirations to be a ‘proper oil company wife’ to Jim, and risked buying ‘bush meat’. The dry ‘snakeskin’ bark of the old iroko tree on the bend of the town’s river, under whose shade Jim sought sanctuary from people, and whose ‘two long white catkins the tree one day bestowed onto his head like confetti.’

Back home, Jim swaps adventure and agency for woodwork and more whisky. Maureen, denying her love of Igbo crafts and cloth, considers reinventing herself as an Oxfam shop assistant. In the days before her grandmother’s funeral, Sarah finds the platitudes of her father evasive compared to the wisdom and ritual taught by servant Chidike while burying the household monkey. Sarah’s hard-won Nigerian barter goods, a silver thumb-ring and a dare taken to eat fried-fat market ‘snack’, become devalued. At Aba’s Sancta Maria, unaccustomed food was a cone of hot roast groundnuts paid for by a penny with a hole. In Britain, ‘unaccustomed’ means milk with a ‘thickened band of yellow’. Now, the currency is a dare Sarah first honours, then refuses.

As people of that time and place are scattered like those bleached bones, Aba acts as centripetal force on their imagination. Today’s city was a small town the like of which Tim Winton gnaws at from different angles in The Turning. Mandy Sutter’s approach is similarly innovative. Her themes are substitution, racism, and whether the spirit can ever survive transaction.

Mandy Sutter went to school in Nigeria and Bromley but now lives in Yorkshire with her partner and a large black dog called Fable. She has co-written two non-fiction books about the lives of Somali women. Her first novel, Stretching It, was published in 2013, her third poetry pamphlet, Old Blue Car, in 2015. She won first prize in the New Welsh Writing Awards in 2016 for this novel’s opening chapter, ‘Bush Meat’.

Reviews



'Magnificently-understated laugh-out-loud moments that creep up behind you like the monkey on the cover and tap you on the funny-bone.... Spear-sharp perception to cut you neatly to the quick. A centre of gravity - all the characters bearing more than their share. Not many books will make you think so much about the real human contrasts to be tasted in our lopsided world, and I don't think any will do it with such heartfelt laughs or such aching humanity.'Mollowen, Full Review

'A world a million miles away and yet only yesterday. Sutter captures it in aspic. Bush Meat is a sensitive, haunting collection that sets personal stories against a background of historical change. It is thoughtful and perceptive. And a real joy to read.'Suzy Ceulan Hughes, gwales.com


'It's the quality of the writing that really makes the book sing. Sutter's understatement and restraint, her wonderful handling of place, atmosphere and emotion made me trust every word... Despite tragic happenings, comedy and absurdity are never far away. Like one of the juju practitioners in her stories, she injects magic into everyday life and conjures up time and place and texture by focussing on a single object.' Kelpine Full Review

'[In] what is essentially a literary novel [there is] the page-turning quality of a good thriller.... From a very specific time and place, Sutter has fashioned a book that quietly and compellingly reminds us of our common humanity.' The Yorkshire Post
Feature & full review by the Yorkshire Post's Yvette Huddleston

'Told with great wit and insight into the human heart, and with language that betrays [the author's] previous life as a poet. A triumphant combination of concrete detail and unsettling magic.' Simeon Full Amazon Review

'Hard-drinking, easy-living father, overanxious, nervy mother and dreamy child, all are permanently affected by their African experience, by those they encountered and what they found themselves trying to become.... Plenty to think about.'Jenifer Dixon Full Amazon Review

'Packed with charm, mystery, and with its immersive quality, Bush Meat is a story from many perspectives.'May Full Amazon Review

'Skillfully evoke different eras and cultures with Nigeria as the touchstone.'DD Full Amazon Review

'Right from the [start] I was hooked.... A poignant and absorbing composite portrait of a family spanning several decades and traversing continents. The sense of place - whether Nigeria or London - is particularly evocative. But what elevates this book to a higher plane is the author's wise, sensitive and acute insight into human nature and relationships.' Mib B Full Amazon Review

'Beautifully atmospheric in the way it captures memories of place.... One of the best books that I have read this year.'M C Apper, Full Amazon Review

'Interesting and original.'Linda Full Amazon Review

'Couldn’t wait to finish it.... Sarah is a character that stays with you after you’ve read the book.'Amazon Customer, Full Amazon Review

Praise for Mandy Sutter


Sutter’s writing is] atmospheric... wonderfully unexpected... disquieting, touching and darkly humorous. Alison Moore, author of the Booker-shortlisted The Lighthouse

‘Triumphs, in its lean prose... humour... [and] evocation of a family divided by sexism and racism in 1960s Nigeria. Stitches together the threads of memory to create a moving tapestry of lost life, building bridges of understanding across time and place.’ Rory MacLean


Bush Meat from New Welsh Review on Vimeo.



Woman Who Brings the Rain: A Memoir of Hokkaido, Japan by Eluned Gramich


Cover Woman Who Brings the Rain Eluned Gramich


Winner of the New Welsh Writing Awards 2015: WWF Cymru Prize for Writing on Nature and the Environment

www.newwelshwritingawards.com



WALES BOOK OF THE YEAR WINNER 2016 SHORTLIST



NOW AVAILABLE IN PRINT!



Woman Who Brings the Rain is available on Kindle eBook click here to order



As precise and nuanced as Japanese calligraphy, this memoir of the author’s stay on the remote Hokkaido island in the far north of Japan, has at its heart the mountain, Yotei-San, the region’s iconic equivalent to Mount Fuji. As much about learning a language (with connotations of ‘reading’ a wild landscape) as it is about nature, this dignified and nuanced work evokes what is cultured and cultivated, and yet also honours the wild; the untrans- latable. With its themes of seasonal transformation, the peripheral, folklore, loneliness and learning to belong, this work takes a personal philosophical stance in relation to the centre and the periphery.



We are offering the print edition at a special price of £7 (RRP £7.99) including post and packing until 31 August 2016. To take up this offer please email Bronwen Williams at admin@newwelshreview.com.



FILMS



New Welsh Writing Awards 2015 3-minute winner filmic interpretation & performed reading



11-minute New Welsh Writing Awards 2015 shortlist showcase with author readings & animation



Wales Book of the Year 2016 Shortlist announcement, with detailed discussion of book towards the end



Wales Book of the Year 2016 Shortlist Readings





REVIEWS



WALES BOOK OF THE YEAR FINAL ADJUDICATION (JUSTIN ALBERT)

{Eluned Gramich} is a name to hear time and again in the future. {This writing} is as good as we the jurors have ever read... short but perfectly formed... absolutely perfect.'



WALES BOOK OF THE YEAR SHORTLISTING ADJUDICATION (PROF TONY BROWN):

Quite beautiful. {The author encounters a culture that is completely alien} and she does it with a poet's eye... precisely and vitally. She reads this unfamiliarity with all her imaginative nerve-endings open: the effect is quite remarkable... {reminiscent of a} netsuke {in its} precision.



WALES ARTS REVIEW:

Most rewarding is the philosophical approach... {Gramich's} embracing of... cultural multiplicity, fluidity and adaptability... suits perfectly the changing boundaries of our modern world.



AMAZON.CO.UK:

'Enticing... a wonderful read which will nourish me for months to come'; 'Such an evocative read... very beautiful... visual story'; 'Really beautiful and thoughtful... a page-turner and highly recommended'.




Eluned Gramich










Born in Haverfordwest, Eluned Gramich studied English at Oxford and Creative Writing at UEA, before moving to live and work in Japan on a Daiwa scholarship. Her translated collection of German short stories, Goldfish Memory (Monique Schwitter), was published by Parthian in spring 2015. She is currently working on her first novel. Woman Who Brings the Rain won the New Welsh Writing Awards 2015, People, Place & Planet: WWF Cymru Prize for Writing on Nature and the Environment, in February 2015 under the title, 'Scenes from a Hokkaidan Life'.



New Welsh Rarebyte is an imprint of New Welsh Review that publishes the winners of the New Welsh Writing Awards as a Kindle ebook with White Fox.





Watch a performed reading and filmic interpretation of Woman Who Brings the Rain: A Memoir of Hokkaido, Japan







Watch interviews with the three shortlisted authors for the New Welsh Writing Awards 2015: WWF Cymru Prize for Writing on Nature & the Environment: Elaine Ewart (Heligoland: An Ecology of Exile); Philip Jones (Waves on the Hydrocarbon Seas of Titan) and Eluned Gramich (Scenes from a Hokkaidan Life)






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