Welsh Wednesdays: Llansteffan Literary Festival

Lots of excellent events and authors, definitely a date for your calendar!

#IndiaWales, Dai Smith, Events, festival, Llansteffan, Natalie Ann Holborow, Parthian Books, Poetry, Siôn Tomos Owen, Wales– May 15, 2017

The Llansteffan Literary Festival – A Weekend to Remember (June 8-11 2017)

Prepare to be immersed in four days of Welsh literary splendour, as the Llansteffan Literary Festival takes place this June.

With the festival opening on June 8, an exhibition of famous writers associated with this historic village will be a sure-fire draw to literary and historical enthusiasts alike. Glyn Jones, Lynette Roberts and Dylan Thomas are some of the poets and novelists featured in this exhibition. Hosted by local historian Diana Bevan, readings of their works are included before the launch of Peter J. Jones’s new poetry collection A Fox in the Yard; what better way to begin celebrating Llansteffan and its literary heritage?

To truly celebrate Llansteffan and its rich history, you must see Llansteffan too. Saturday features a bus tour hosted by Peter J. Jones, where we will explore the hidden literary secrets of Llansteffan. Booking is essential, as it features not only work by Lynette Roberts and Glyn Jones, but a rare visit to the courtyard of Fernhill and Blaencwm, a must-see for Dylan Thomas fans, and refreshments between outings and upon return. Anyone who loves Welsh literature, or just a fascinating day out, will find something to enjoy here!

Friday begins with Dai Smith (CBE) discussing his fiction, and his transition from historian to author. Dai is followed by a showcase from the children of Llansteffan School, who will be putting their own creative talents on display.

The astounding India Wales event takes place on Friday evening, the fruition of a yearlong project between Indian and Welsh writers. Introduced by Gary Raymond, the event features a panel of authors, such as our very own Natalie Ann Holborow and Siôn Tomos Owen and collaborators Srijato Bandopadhyay and Aniesha Brahma. The evening ends with an illustrated talk from Hilly Janes and John Goodby, featuring photos from the book Ugly, Lovely by Janes’ aunt Ethel Ross, a contemporary and friend of ‘Welsh son’ Dylan Thomas.

To close a wonderful weekend of literature, Boyd Clack discusses his work on Saturday evening, and we have ‘Thirteen Poems of Llansteffan’ on Sunday morning, featuring readings from some of the very best of Llansteffan writing. Still want more? Siôn Tomos Owen and Natalie Ann Holborow will be working with Llansteffan School all week, and there’s a special event for kids, featuring readings from Eloise Williams and her books Elen’s Island and Gaslight, and Huw Davies’s Scrambled. Plus, Dylan’s Mobile Bookstore will be parking up to offer a selection of rare books for you to purchase.

All of this and more will be available at the Llansteffan Literary Festival from June 8-11. We promise a weekend to remember, and we intend to keep that promise.

Booking for the bus tour on Saturday June 10 can be made at The Old Pound Gallery, The Square, Llansteffan.

Do you have a question about the Llansteffan Literary Festival? Enquire at 01792 606605 or 01267 241057.

2017 Annual Bloggers Bash Awards VOTING OPEN @bloggersbash #BloggersBash

Please vote for your favourite blogs 🙂

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

This is it.

The waiting is finally over.

The THIRD Annual Bloggers Bash Awards 2017 are now


We had a HUGE number of nominations. Hundreds of them in fact! So thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate your fave bloggers.

Voting Closes June 2nd at 12pm BST.

The winners will be announced on June 10th at the Bash in London. But if you can’t make it physically a winners post will go live at 5:15pm (BST) on the same day. Winners will have pingbacks to their blogs, but we all know how unreliable that is. So please make sure you check back to see if you won.


Choose carefully, you can only vote ONCE per award.

There are 10 awards, (so this is a long post). 

Yes, you can vote in each category, but only once in every one.

Find out more at:

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The village of generals


To outsiders, the village of Ballinalee, in Co Longford, might seem like no great shakes, just a bump in the road, a blink-and-you-miss-it spot that you’re through before you even notice. Were they to consult a map of the county, the seemingly inconsequential dot called Ballinalee might be ignored in favour of grander spots, like Longford town, Ballymahon, Granard or the pretty heritage town of Ardagh.

But that would be a mistake because lovers of history will find pure gold in its environs. For starters, it is the site of Ireland’s first convent – the remains of which are still visible – but that’s not what gets the juices flowing. No, the real interest lies elsewhere. Put it this way, how many tiny villages do you know that can claim two generals to their credit, and another military hero born just a five-minute drive away?

That third one, Lieutenant-Colonel Sir…

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Welsh Wednesdays: Llansteffan Literary Festival June 8 – 11

For those of you who – like myself – miss the Llandeilo Lit Fest – I have good news: A new festival just around the corner:18076666_10154277253107610_5848690975065309522_o (1).jpg

Four days of events in celebration of Llansteffan’s rich cultural history and many literary connections. 

Thursday June 8 at 7pm
Opening Reception, Pound Gallery, Llansteffan
Launch of A Fox in The Yard, a poetry collection from PJ Jones

Friday June 9 6pm
India Wales 17, Gallery Ozi, Llansteffan
Introduced by Gary Raymond.
Sion Tomos Owen, Srijato Bandopadhyay, Aniesha Brahma and Natalie Ann Holborow are here as part of a year long collaboration between Indian and Welsh writers – the Valley, City, Village project with the British Council, Wales Arts International, Parthian and Bee Books of Kolkata.

Friday June 9 7.30 pm
Ugly, Lovely, Memorial Hall, Llansteffan
Writer Hilly Janes gives an illustrated talk featuring the photographs that her aunt, Ethel Ross, took of the area in 1953 after the death of her friend, the poet Dylan Thomas.

Saturday June 10 10.15am & 2pm
The Outing starts at beach car park
Accompany Peter Jones and guests on a bus tour extravaganza to discover some of the hidden literary secrets of the Llansteffan peninsula including Fern Hill and St John’s Hill.

Saturday June 10 7pm download (13).jpg
High Hopes for Llansteffan, Memorial Hall, Llansteffan
Boyd Clack, writer, actor, singer, talks about his work on the stage and screen.

Sunday June 11 11.30
Thirteen Poems for Llansteffan, Llansteffan Church
A short poetry and prose reading of some of the best works of Welsh writing featuring Llansteffan and Llanybri. Guests

Thursday June 8 – Sunday June 11 11am-5pm
Literary Legends of Llansteffan, Ben Harries Institute, Llansteffan
A exhibition featuring many of the writers and poets associated with the village


For updates follow https://www.facebook.com/events/283198505464131/

And here is where it’s at:


The Smiling Villain – Ms Morton shares her thoughts re bad guys


It is always a distinct pleasure to welcome Alison Morton to my blog. Not only is she an author I enjoy & admire, she also delivers insightful posts which I enjoy reading – and I hope you, dear peeps, do as well. Today, Alison has written a little something about that very necessary ingredient in most books: the bad guy (or gal).


AM White WitchDamnèd, smiling villain

O villain, villain, smiling, damnèd villain!
My tables—meet it is I set it down
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain—
At least I am sure it may be so in Denmark.

(Hamlet, Wm.Shakespeare)

“And some that smile have in their hearts, I fear,
Millions of mischiefs”

Young Octavius, in Julius Caesar, Wm.Shakespeare)

Ah yes, Shakespeare’s smiling villains. Well, if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for the rest of us. It also points to how we should portray…

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Re-blog: #Bookreview THE LAST GODS OF INDOCHINE by Samuel Ferrer (@shaolinfez)

This looks amazing. Thanks to fellow blogger Olga Nunez for this review:
A beautifully written historical fiction novel about the Khmer Empire exploring fate, colonialism, spirituality and trauma.

Mystery Mondays Review: “Remember No More” by Jan Newton

remember-no-more.jpgI’ve heard a lot of praise about Jan Newton’s novel and must say I was intrigued by the title and cover. Being published by the reliably quality-picking Honno Press I was gutted when I realised I missed getting my signed copy from the author at the Llandeilo Book Fair. Kindly, Jan send me a copy anyway and the sun shone in our garden last week, allowing me for a rare moment of literary indulgence. So her’s my review:

Maybe it is the setting in Wales or the layered setting up of the characters, but I immediately took a liking to this book.
The murder happens in a prologue, so for a while you don’t really know where this is going. You’re faced with a female detective whose private life is complicated, let alone the new job.
Enter a different narrative about a newly released prisoner with scores to settle and a tricky investigation with new colleagues and a new environment…
The book isn’t short of plot or ideas and with a great heroine to keep you company, this is a very rewarding and entertaining read that made hours whizz past me. Cleverly plotted with surprises and suspense until the end, this is a great read, one of many by this promising new author.

Buying Links:

Amazon.co.uk:  http://amzn.to/2k1kGJx 

Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/2lWJ8gP


Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, tree, sky, outdoor and close-up

Introducing Jan Newton with her debut novel to be published by Honno in March 2017. Jan grew up in Manchester and Derbyshire and spent almost twenty years in the Chilterns before moving to mid Wales in 2005. She has worked as a bilingual secretary in a German chemical company, as an accountant in a BMW garage and a GP practice and as a Teaching Assistant in the Welsh stream of a primary school, but now she has finally been able to return to her first love, writing.

She graduated from Swansea University with a Masters degree in Creative Writing in 2015 and has won the Allen Raine Short Story Competition, the WI’s Lady Denman Cup competition, the Lancashire and North West Magazine’s prize for humorous short stories and the Oriel Davies Gallery’s prize for nature writing. Remember No More  is her first novel.

The Blurb for Remember No More 

Newly promoted DS Julie Kite is at a crossroads. Her husband’s new job takes her away from urban Manchester and its inner city problems to a new life in tranquil mid-Wales. It is to be a new start for them both. On her first day at Builth Wells police station, Julie is thrust unexpectedly into the centre of a murder investigation in a remote farming community. At the same time, Stephen Collins is set free from HMP Strangeways. He immediately makes his way back to mid-Wales, the scene of his heinous crime, in order to confront those who had a hand in his incarceration.

The twists and turns of the investigation into the death of solicitor Gareth Watkin force DS Kite to confront her own demons alongside those of her new community and the lengths to which we’ll go to protect our families.

Happy Second Birthday, Mom!

A beautiful post about a survivor of WW2

Janna Yeshanova

My Mom (in a white dress) with her cousins just before the war.

Senior Lieutenant Malka-Galina Lerner, 1944

Today, May 9, I celebrate my Mom’s second birthday. I call this day her second birthday, as she did, because her actual birthday was on another day years earlier. She chose this second birthday herself because it represented a huge change in her life and the lives of everyone around her. It wasn’t that this was a beautiful spring day, or that the lilacs were in full bloom. May 9th is the day Russia marks as the end of World War II in Europe.

On 22 June 1941, the Germans broke their agreement and invaded the Soviet Union in ‘Operation Barbarossa’. It was a Sunday. The day before in Soviet schools there were graduation parties. When bands stopped playing, yesterday’s classmates, by tradition, went to meet the dawn. Young Muscovites headed to…

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Historical Saturday Review: “Until the Curtain Falls” by David Ebsworth

unnamedI had the great pleasure to meet the author at the Llandeilo Lit Fest last month and get a signed copy of this. David is a true authority on the Spanish Civicl War and held a great illustrated talk about it, almost forgetting to plug his great books at the festival over the enthusiasm in the discussion.
I’ve read and reviewed “The Assassin’s Mark” on this blog prior and to be honest, I didn’t think the excellent finale of “The Assassin’s Mark” with its unexpected twist could be continued with a second book. Well, David Ebsworth proved me wrong. There are more lose ends to tie up that I had thought of and new plot ideas, as well as a lot more to tell about the Spanish Civicl War. I love it when sequels don’t repeat a formula but dare to take different directions.
While book one took place in a very brief period of time in 1938, this novel takes its time, literally, and captures a wider spectrum of historical events and politics. Hero Telford finds himself in a hot spot following the finale in book one and needs to get out of it soon.
This takes us on a journey through war torn Spain from 1938 until the end of the war. He tries to escape to safety through a minefield of dangers and enemies, travelling across the country and on the way giving us insights into the situation in various locations, all of whom provide yet another perspective on the war: Areas occupied, besieged and captured, scenes of destruction and violence.
New characters bring also further perspectives on the war while the suspense and drama provide a gripping and engaging storyline. This is truly excellent, as a sequel, as a stand alone and as a portrait of the war. Historically astute and well researched this is highly recommended.18157596_1343064629119237_3091178369567639241_n

At the Litfest David discussed the Welsh involvement in the war; how the Spanish Civil War is still important; how it’s been portrayed in popular literature; and some of the stranger than fiction facts that inspire him to keep writing novels on the subject…

ebsworth1Wrexham based David Ebsworth has written six historical novels since 2009, when he retired as negotiator and regional secretary for the Transport & General Workers Union. Until the Curtain Falls is  his latest political thriller, set in the final months of the Spanish Civil War and a sequel to his 2013 best seller in similar setting.


David EbsworthDavid Ebsworth is the pen name of writer, Dave McCall, a former negotiator and Regional Secretary for Britain’s Transport & General Workers’ Union – which gave him a passion for people and political history that features so strongly in his novels. He was born in Liverpool (UK) in 1949, growing up there in the ‘Sixties, but has lived, since 1981, in Wrexham (North Wales) with his wife, Ann – who also happens to be his “ideal reader” and main mentor.

Since their retirement in 2008, the couple have spent about six months of each year in southern Spain. They have also been keen travellers to other parts of the world, including various other countries of Europe, China, Nicaragua, Colombia, the United States, Canada and KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. Dave believes strongly that you should never write about a place without having visited and checked out the locations.

He began to write seriously in 2009 and maintains a strict daily writing and marketing routine – though he still manages to find time for a regular morning swim, as well as for sailing. You can find him writing, most mornings, in Wrexham’s Caffè Nero, or Guardamar del Segura’s Pastelería Monge.

Dave is a member of the Historical Novel Society, the International Brigades Memorial Trust, the Anglo-Zulu War Historical Society, New Writers UK, and the Alliance of Independent Authors.

Bloggers Bash 2017 – an update

A must event for UK bloggers


I spoke to the hotel we are using for this year’s Bash and they told me they are calling it ‘An International Blogging Conference’.

Super cool, eh? Though the Boss, Her Sachaness , wants ‘Bash’ because, well, she does so that’s that then.

Anyhoo I’m here for three reasons:

One… So why haven’t you bought you ticket yet? You know who you are. The one at the back looking sheepish. Yes, you Lozenge Minor. I mean you. Stop mewling boy and buy your ticket. Of course you’ll enjoy it. It’s made of ice cream, like last year’s Bash only with added sprinkles. And fairy dust.

For all the Lozenge Minors out there, tickets cost £10 each and can be purchased by clicking here.

Two, nominations have closed and we’ve had LOADS… I mean they can be seen from space they are so HUGE…

Some of you puppies have been…

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