Cymdeithas Ceredigion, 7.30pm 6 Hydref, 2018

Rwy’n edrych ymlaen at noson ddifyr yn trafod cefndir My Beautiful Imperial gyda Chymdeithas Ceredigion ar nos Sadwrn, 6 Hydref. Bydd y cyfarfod yn digwydd yng Nghaffi’r Emlyn, Tan-y-Groes am 7.30pm. Mae croeso i bawb. Os nad ydych chi’n aelod yn barod bydd angen talu £2 mynediad (bargen!) neu beth am ymaelodi am flwyddyn am £5 (bargen arall!).

I’m looking forward to discussing the background to My Beautiful Imperial with the members of Cymdeithas Ceredigion (the Ceredigion Society) on Saturday evening, 6 October. The meeting will take place at the Emlyn Café, Tan-y-Groes at 7.30pm. Everyone is welcome. If you aren’t already a member, you will need to pay £2 entry (bargain!) or why not join for a full year for £5 (another bargain!). This is a Welsh language event.

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Review by Jon Meirion Jones/Adolygiad Cymraeg gan Jon Meirion Jones

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The Welsh speakers amongst you will be familiar with the poet, author, historian and genuine all-rounder Jon Meirion Jones. Jon has agreed that I can share his review of 'My Beautiful Imperial'. I won't attempt to translate it as he writes beautifully (an incentive to learn Welsh perhaps?) but I thought that the week of the National Eisteddfod would be an ideal time to share this. Although the novel is written in English, its heart is in Ceredigion and Chile. I'm obviously very grateful to Jon for his thoughts on the book.

Adolygiad Jon Meirion Jones o ‘My Beautiful Imperial’

Mae’n gyfrol swmpus a hardd. Mae iddi ddiwyg crefftus drwyddi – yn enwedig y clawr blaen a’r cefn. Nid yw’r penodau yn faith - yn seicolegol gryno. Mae iddi stori gyffrous, anarferol, a brigau uchel fel y tonnau cyn disgyn i gafnau o fyfyrdodau a dialog rhwng cymeriadau sy’n grefftwaith ynddynt eu hunain. A’r holl stori wreiddiol yn sieliedig ar y llun yn y cwtsh glo!! Rheiny yw’r gorau bob amser. Hoffais y ffordd roeddech wedi gwau eich profiadau o’r hiwmor Cymreig – yr emynau a’r meddylfryd gwerinol – i gefndir y co’ o ddyffryn Teifi, y Preselau, yr arfordir a threftadaeth morwrol. Mi fyddai Nhad wedi ei mwynhau mâs draw ynghyd a’i gefndryd a’r halen yn eu gwaed. Roedd y dyfyniadau o emynau yn ddramatig ac yn tynnu deigryn wrth eu darllen. Yn wir roeddwn yn adnabod peiriannydd o’r enw Glanmor Evans o Blaencelyn.

Ysgrifenwyd y gyfrol gan awdur deallus, sensitif wedi ei breintio â dawn greadigol ddramatig. Roedd gwead drefnus yn llawn disgyblaeth iaith ac yn cwtogi neu ymestyn hyd brawddegau i greu yr effaith drawiadol. Roedd y dewis o ambell air anarferol ac annisgwyl yn ychwanegu at y blas.

Enw bendigedig i’r arwr – y Capten Davy Jefferson Davies. Roedd fel petawn yn ei adnabod – a’i lygaid a’i feddylfryd tua’r gorwel a thu hwnt. Roeddwn yn adnabod 15 – 20 o gapteniaid yn ardal Pontgarreg. Drws nesa’ roedd Capten Davy Rees a fu’n morwra gyda’r Blue Funnel Line. Aeth 11 o fechgyn y Cilie i’r môr.

A fyddai’r gyfrol wedi gwneud ffilm dda? Byddai yn sicr. Mae’r cymeriadau o’r Arlywydd, i Moraga, Mrs Ebrington, Hervey, swyddogion y capten i’r rocyn ifanc a’r asyn – yn fyw a chredadwy. Roeddwn wedi ceisio gosod y cymeriadau a’u cymharu a phobl roeddwn yn adnabod.

Llongyfarchiadau ar eich llwyddiant. Edmygais eich gwaith ymchwil – nid oedd yn sefyll allan ond yn gorwedd yn naturiol yn natblygiad y stori. Roedd yr enwau Sbaeneg, y tirwedd a’r enwau cynhenid – yn rhoi blas, fel sinsir mewn cacen – ac yn gwneud y cyfanwaith yn gredadwy.

Dechrau a gorffen yn eich milltir sgwâr.

Rhodder iddi ‘Oscar’.

Jon Meirion Jones



The Bristol Short Story Prize

Ymlaen at y rhestr fer!

On to the shortlist!

What the Bristol Short Story Prize says about the judging process:

Chair of this year’s judging panel, literary agent Kate Johnson, says “It was such a joy to read and discuss these stories alongside my fellow judges Lucy, Polly, and Roshi. Selected from a high-calibre longlist, the twenty that will appear in the anthology are ambitious, smart, and wide-ranging in voice and experience, and the best of them made all four of us light up in awe and say, ‘This! This is why we tell stories. This is what a story can do.’ It will be a thrill to see them in print this October, and they are sure to linger in readers’ minds long after.”


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Diwrnod Mawr Heddiw / A Big Day Today

Diwrnod mawr heddiw i fi, Steffan Glynn (dylunydd y clawr a mab werth y byd) a Victorina Press. Ar ôl chwe mis o lythyron, galwadau ffôn, ymweliadau ac e-byst oddi wrthyf i a Consuelo Rivera-Fuentes, heddiw fe ymunodd Waterstones Picadilly (siop lyfrau fwyaf Ewrop) â chwmni nodedig Awen Teifi ac Awen Meirion i werthu copïau o 'My Beautiful  Imperial' o'r silffoedd. Tipyn o gamp i wasg fechan annibynnol. Diolch yn fawr i James Gilbert am wneud hyn yn bosib, ac i Joana Suta am ddelio mor urddasol ag awdur oedd wedi cyffroi'n llwyr. Rwy' wedi bod yn ymweld â'r siop ers blynyddoedd, yn ceisio dychmygu sut fyddai'n teimlo i weld fy llyfr ar y silff. Sylwer ar y llyfrau islaw ac uwchben: Hilary Mantel, Hannah Kent...


 A big day today for me, Steffan Glynn (cover designer and top son) and Victorina Press. After 6 months of letters, phone calls, visits and e-mails by myself and Consuelo Rivera-Fuentes, today Waterstones Picadilly (the largest book shop in Europe) joined the illustrious company of Awen Teifi ❤️ and Awen Meirion ❤️ in selling actual physical copies of 'My Beautiful Imperial' from their shelves. No small achievement for a tiny independent press. Diolch yn fawr, thank you to James Gilbert for making it possible and Joana Suta for dealing so gracefully with one super excited author. I've been visiting this branch for years, wondering what it would feel like to see my book on the shelf. Notice the books above and below: Hilary Mantel, Hannah Kent...

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Bristol Short Story Prize Longlist

Mae'r stori fer, The Significance of Swans, wedi cyrraedd rhestr hir y Bristol Short Story Prize. Roedd dros 2,000 o ymgeiswyr. Croesi bysedd am y cam nesaf nawr. Gallwch ddarllen mwy am y gystadleuaeth fan hyn.

My short story, The Significance of Swans, has reached the longlist of the Bristol Short Story Prize. There were over 2,000 entries. Crossing my fingers for the next step now. You can read more about the competition here.

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Yn Llyfrgell y Fenni - At Abergavenny Library

Bore braf ddoe yn cwrdd â phobl yn Llyfrgell y Fenni. Had a great morning yesterday meeting people at Abergavenny Library.

Cafon ni gyfle i drafod 'My Beautiful Imperial' ac i edrych ar rai hen luniau sy'n berthnasol i'r ymchwil cefndirol. Dyw pawb ddim yn y llun yn anffodus, ond roedd dau eisoes yn darllen, neu wedi darllen y llyfr. Diolch i Clare a'r staff yno am yr holl help.

We had a chance to talk about 'My Beautiful Imperial' and look at some old photographs relating to the background research. Not everyone's in the photograph unfortunately, but two had either read or were reading the book already. Thank you to Clare and the staff there for all their help.

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My Beautiful Imperial is translated into Spanish


I would like to take this opportunity to introduce the amazing Guisela Parra Molina, who is translating My Beautiful Imperial into Spanish. This new version will be launched in Chile at the end of the year. 

Guisela is a very experienced translator and I am thrilled that she has agreed to take on the translation on behalf of Victorina Press.

Guisela sent me some background information about herself and she has agreed that I can share it with you here. Diolch, gracias, thank you Guisela. 

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My name is Guisela Parra Molina, originally from Concepción, Chile, but I’ve had to migrate, as it were, to other cities within the country, because it was very difficult to find and keep a steady job during the dictatorship, and I had a daughter to take care of. I have called it migration, even exile, because it has meant feeling homesick, away from my family and friends, all these years. As you know, Chile is long and narrow (“Chile es una larga y angosta faja de tierra” is the first notion on Geography we are taught at school), and it takes quite a lot of time and money to travel along all the places our beautiful Imperial got to. So I lived in Arica, then in Iquique, and finally came to La Serena. I studied and graduated as a Translator English-Spanish in Universidad de Concepción (something I am very proud of). Apart from working as a translator, I taught in translation programmes at Universidad de Tarapacá in Arica, and Iquique English College in Iquique. I finally got a steady teaching post in Universidad de La Serena, where I taught Literary Translation, among other Translation and Spanish courses, for 20 years or so. I was known among students as a rigorous and strict teacher, because I aimed at showing, spreading, and sharing with them my love for language. In the meantime, I got a Master’s Degree in Latin American Studies, major in Literature, by the same university. My thesis was a feminist study of works by María Luisa Bombal (20th century Chilean writer) and Virginia Woolf: La que procede del país próspero y el que procede del país glorioso: diálogo intertextual entre María Luisa Bombal y Virginia Woolf (an off-the-cuff translation would be something like “She who comes from the prosperous country and he who comes from the glorious country –intertextual dialogue between María Luisa Bombal and Virginia Woolf”). I had a great time writing it, by the way.

I am a feminist, therefore, I participated in Universidad de La Serena Gender Studies Programme, which unfortunately didn’t last long (it’s quite difficult for this kind of programme to survive, especially in an extremely conservative place such as La Serena). I have also formed and participated in feminist groups and organizations, among others, Casa de Encuentro de la Mujer in Arica, and Nayax Warmitwa in Iquique, aiming at contributing to women’s awareness, basically.

I retired three years ago, and that has enabled me to devote all my time to writing, and translating literature, which is what I’ve always wanted to do. At the moment I am also part of a team in charge of a fiction workshop, called “Los Viajeros del Mary Celeste”. You will probably meet them if you present My Beautiful Imperial in La Serena, I’ll do my best to arrange that.

Having a book published in this country is very difficult because of the enterprising focus prevailing over the literary one. So I’ve had only two plaquettes published, in a “marginal” way, so to speak: Crucifixión, and In Tempo de Réquiem. And I’ll have a book published soon, Piel de Culebra, in the same marginal way. I write political criticism columns, more or less regularly, which are published in online media, mainly in


Rhaglen 'Stiwdio', Nia Roberts

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Wedi mwynhau trafod 'My Beautiful Imperial' gyda Nia Roberts, Radio Cymru, ar ei rhaglen 'Stiwdio' heddiw. Mae'r rhaglen ar gael ar i-player, ac yn cael ail-ddarllediad am 5pm, Dydd Sul.

I enjoyed discussing 'My Beautiful Imperial' with Nia Roberts, Radio Cymru, on her programme Stiwdio today. The programme is available on i-player, and will be broadcast again at 5pm on Sunday.

Prynhawn Da - S4C

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Wedi mwynhau sgwrsio am My Beautiful Imperial heddiw gydag Owain Gwynedd a Siân Tomos. Es i lawr i stiwdio Prynhawn Da yn Llanelli ar gyfer y rhaglen fyw ar S4C. Wedi cael croeso cynnes. Diolch i Hana am wneud yr holl drefniadau. Mae'r eitem tua 06:00

Enjoyed chatting about My Beautiful Imperial today with Owain Gwynedd and Siân Tomos. I went down to the Prynhawn Da studios for this afternoon's live programme on S4C. Had a warm welcome. Thank you to Hana too for arranging everything. The item is around 06:00.


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Version with English subtitles HERE

Ychwanegiad at y clawr / An addition to the cover

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Yn falch dros ben gallu cael ychwanegu hwn at glawr y llyfr. Yn ddiweddar, dewisiwyd y nofel yn un o 20 llyfr a argymhellir gan y Walter Scott Prize Academy. Dewisiwyd llyfrau o bob ran o'r Gymanwlad, ac roedd y rhestr yn cynnwys ennillydd y Booker Prize hefyd!


Delighted to be able to add this to the book cover. The novel was recently chosen as one of 20 recommended historical novels by the Walter Scott Prize Academy. Books were chosen from all parts of the Commonwealth and the list included a Booker Prize winner too!

Our readers - the unsung heroes. Excerpt from the Walter Scott Prize Academy feedback on My Beautiful Imperial

Do you ever wonder how the Walter Scott Prize chooses its longlists?  Every year we receive over one hundred entries for the Prize, and we also ‘call books in’ from publishers, based on recommendations from our judges who keep a beady eye on reviews and bookshops throughout the year.

So who sifts through all the books to find the hidden gems and to rate the contenders, before they go through to the Judges and our Academy list?  Step forward our band of expert Readers, who work tirelessly throughout the year reading and thoughtfully appraising each and every book received.

Our Readers come from all walks of life and are spread across the UK – we’ve had reading teams as far apart as Shetland and Dorset.  They are voracious readers with an interest in real people’s history and an eye for what might become a future classic. Over the years, the Readers have been responsible for picking out many titles that might otherwise have been overlooked, playing a vital part in the success of the prize. Motivated purely by their enjoyment of the books, they are our unsung heroes!

We thought you might like to see some of the things our Readers said about this year’s longlist and Academy Recommends books. Their salty summaries and insightful comments make great reading in themselves!

My Beautiful Imperial by Rhiannon Lewis (Academy Recommends)

“A mighty read this, I feel bereft now that I’ve finished it, always a sign of a writer who can fascinate and engross the reader over 500 pages or so. This novel has at its heart the Chilean civil war – who knew? Not me. It is also inspired by the life and exploits of the author’s great great uncle, a Welsh lad who ran away to sea and became the captain of a steamship carrying mail and cargo up and down the Chilean coast in the latter years of the 19th Century.

Forced to turn his ship over to the government side in the insurrection he then carried troops and ammunition, facing all the usual moral quandaries of loyalty and betrayal amongst his colleagues and shipmates as well as the horrors of engagement. Other strands of the story are deftly woven in to the complex tapestry of events and provide richness and increased understanding of the pressures involved. Parliamentary questions are asked about the danger to British commercial interests in Chilean minerals and an English journalist dispatched by The Times to report on the rebellion finds that the ‘facts’ required by his editor do not match up to the facts he finds on the ground in Valparaiso.

I found this a totally satisfying novel, full of history told with a light hand and with the spark of adventure, with credible characters and a sure touch with the setting of an important Chilean port in the late 1800s. A cracker!”

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Awen Teifi

Fe gafon ni fore da iawn yn Awen Teifi, siop lyfrau Gymraeg Aberteifi, ar Ddydd Sadwrn y Pasg, yn arwyddo llyfrau ac yn sgwrsio ag ambell un am y llyfr. Diolch i bawb alwodd heibio neu a brynodd lyfr. Diolch yn arbennig i Rhian ac Anwen am yr holl help. Anghofion ni'n llwyr dynnu lluniau felly diolch i Paul Phillips am gael defnyddio'r llun hwn.

We had a very good morning at Awen Teifi, Cardigan's Welsh bookshop, on Easter Saturday, signing books and chatting to interested customers. Thank you to everyone who called by or who bought a book. Thank you especially to Rhian and Anwen for all the help. We totally forgot to take photographs so thank you to Paul Phillips for allowing me to use this picture.

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The Walter Scott Academy recommends 20 historical novel

Titles by industry figures Mieke Ziervogel and Tom Tivnan are among the 20 historical novels published over the past year to be recommended by the Walter Scott Prize Academy.

Settings for the titles range from steamships in the Chilean Civil War to warships in Greenock during the Second World War, and from 1920s Hollywood to 18th century slavery in The Cape. The list includes newly published historical novels from Australia, Canada, South Africa, Ireland, Scotland and Wales and England.

For more information visit: www.the

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