Cath Barton approached us with a pitch for the Llandeilo LitFest and her collection of accolades speaks for itself.
Her novella “the Plankton Collector” won the New Welsh Writing Award.

It is a cleverly plotted and  well written novella, a short read that is compelling as it is intelligent, using exquisite prose and imagery.

Jumping somewhat between her characters, all of which at some stage meet the ominous Plankton Collector and benefit from their encounters with him, this somehow never gets confusing or feels hard work.

The flow is natural and smooth, the writing style engaging and I am excited to see Cath at the lineup of our festival.

Date And Time
Sat, April 27, 2019 2:15 PM – 3:15 PM BST

Angel Inn, 62 Rhosmaen St, Llandeilo SA19 6EN

Here is some more about the story and the praise for her book from

Take a seashore, let us say one on the leeward coast of an island, where the twice-daily coming in and going out of the sea is, in the main, a calming. There are cliffs of old rock, gneisses and schists, born of a time of greater drama. On the tops is a green sward, pockmarked by holes where rabbits burrow. They emerge at dawn and dusk and nibble the grass back into tidiness. On the cliffs is a congregation of gannets, kittiwakes and puffins. They sing songs from the hymnal of the birds. They are raucous and out of time with one another. On the shoreline a few of them land and strut about, self-important but awkward because they are out of their element.

Here the morning light is pearlescent. There is a shimmer to it. Water laps gently around rocks tumbled long ago on the shore, making the little curtains of green algae move back and forth as if they were opening and closing on the scenes of a play. Which indeed they are. It is the daily play of the creatures of the rocky shore, the sand bubbler crabs which emerge from their sandy nests and scuttle in sideways motion, the cushion stars which scavenge on them after death, and the pink polyps of hydroids which feed on plankton. Much of this, and especially the plankton, is invisible to the man we see who passes by and remarks on his disappointment that the rocky pools are not as they were in his childhood. He is thinking about those long-ago summers of (we remember erroneously) unremitting sunshine when boys wearing long shorts or short longs lifted strands of jellified seaweeds aloft triumphantly, for Mother to take a picture with the Box Brownie. That picture which will be amongst the snaps which she keeps all her life in the old chocolate box, the captured iconic moments of seaside holidays, made happy by a trick of memory.

Cath Barton was born in the English Midlands and now lives in Abergavenny. Her short stories have been published in anthologies in Australia, the USA and the UK, while her flash fiction has appeared online in Fictive DreamFirefly and Long Exposure, amongst other places. Cath was literature editor of California-based Celtic Family Magazine (2013–2016). ‘The Plankton Collector’, from which this is an extract, won the New Welsh Writing Awards 2017: AmeriCymru Prize for the Novella this summer, and will be published in full on our New Welsh Rarebyte imprint during 2018. Our animated trailer for the novella, made by Emily Roberts, can be viewed here Author website:


“This powerful, thought-provoking debut explores the author’s experiences of her eating disorder in a narrative that is emotionally and intellectually complex yet unflinchingly accessible. Her honest, crafted words are alive with meaning both in what they say and in the spaces they create for the reader’s imagination.”
Frank Egerton, author of The Lock and Invisible

“Catherine has written a precise and gripping memoir that illuminates anorexia in a way I have never encountered. Eloquent and thoughtful, there is so much here for anybody who has wrestled with themselves.”
Bridie Jabour, author of The Way Things Should Be

“Searingly honest, sparing, taut, tightly controlled, provocative in the best way, considered and beautifully written.”
Cathryn Summerhayes, literary agent at Curtis Brown.