Book Fair, bookfair, books, Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire, Carmarthenshire Event, hwyl, literature, literature festival, Literature set in Wales, litfest, llandeilo, Llandeilo Book Fair, Llandeilo Event, poetry, South Wales, verse, Wales, Welsh Books, Welsh Fiction, Welsh literature, Welsh writers
One of the perks of working for a Literature festival is the amount of reading you ‘have’ to do. I chose ‘Significance’ by Jo Mazelis when I scouted her for the event – I’m more comfortable with novels than short stories. Significance is Jo’s debut novel and won The Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize in 2015. There is a bit of a mystery about it, so it fits well on a Monday.
What I found was very atmospheric and most intriguing writing, prose that easily reels you into the story.
My addiction to the book was immediate despite a rather long lasting confusion as to where the story was actually heading.
Lucy starts a new life in France, a new identity to cover an awkward past. The beginning is particularly well done with a chance encounter and see how it has meaning for Lucy and for the other party. As the strands split and new perspectives come in, these alternating strands tell the pieces of Lucy’s significance – to herself and to others, alive and dead. From people who just about take a glance at her to people more intimate connected, they all see something else.
While other novels would lose me to my impatience with such pigmentary storytelling and tempt me to skim read, this held my interest effortlessly.
I could identify with so much that was said, having moved around a fair but and being familiar with settling into new locations and even somewhat assumed new identities. I rooted for Lucy.
As far as the writing goes, I immensely enjoyed the variations in style, from staccato to eloquent sentences. I knew from some sound recordings that this would be good and the praise for Jo Mazelis is more than justified.
Here is a link to a recording of one of her stories, so you can see for yourself.
Jo Mazelis is a novelist, short story writer, poet and essayist. Her collection of stories Diving Girls (Parthian, 2002) was short-listed for The Commonwealth Best First Book and Welsh Book …
The atmospheric Horeb Chapel is the perfect
location for a moonlight reading of Jo Mazelis’s award winning poetry. Jo is a novelist, short story writer, poet, photographer and essayist who was born and educated in Swansea, where she currently lives with her husband, the historian, Mark Matthews.
Her debut novel Significance (Seren, 2014) won The Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize in 2015. Her latest book, Ritual, 1969 (Seren, 2016) was recently voted one of the ten best Welsh books of 2016 by Wales Arts Review.
Her first collection of stories Diving Girls was short-listed for The Commonwealth Best First Book and Welsh Book of the Year. Her second book, Circle Games was long-listed for Welsh Book of the Year.
She has won prizes in The Rhys Davies, Allen Raine and PenFro competitions. Her stories have appeared in countless publications and several have been broadcast on Radio Four.
Jo has given readings at Hay Festival, Ottawa Writers’ Festival, at New York, Cologne, Cork and London as well as at a multitude of places in Wales.