Seren’s Authors

Information on all Seren’s authors.
Bryony Littlefair studied English Literature and Philosophy at the University of York. She’s had all sorts of jobs – from cupcake baker to Editorial Assistant to dementia support worker. She currently works at the Abbey Community Centre in Kilburn and focuses on work with older people. She is also...
Candy Neubert now lives in Cornwall but maintains strong ties with South Africa where she lived from 1990 - 1996. South Africa much influenced her writing and was where she was first published. She has received numerous literary awards, including the Bridport Prize and the most recent from Kagiso...
Caradoc Evans (1878-1945) short story writer and novelist was born in west Wales. A controversial figure he worked in Carmarthen and London in the drapery trade before becoming a journalist and editor. His first book of stories, My People (1915) brought instant infamy for its portrayal of the west...
Carol Rumens was born in Forest Hill, South London. She won a scholarship to grammar school, and later studied Philosophy at London University, but left before completing her degree. She later gained a Postgraduate Diploma in Writing for the Stage from City College Manchester. She has taught at the...
Caroline Smith was born in Ilford and grew up in Hertfordshire. She originally trained as a sculptor at Goldsmith’s College. Her first publication was a 30-page narrative poem ‘Edith’ about a Lancashire-born woman who eventually works for 35 years as a nanny in Glasgow but is haunted by a secret...
Carolyn Jess-Cooke was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1978 and currently lives in north-east England. She is mother to four children aged 1, 3, 5, and 7. Her debut poetry collection Inroads (Seren, 2010) received a Northern Promise Award, an Eric Gregory Award, the Tyrone Guthrie Prize for...
Carrie Etter
American expatriate Carrie Etter has lived in England since 2001 and published three collections of poetry: The Tethers (Seren, 2009), winner of the London New Poetry Prize, Divining for Starters (Shearsman, 2011), and Imagined Sons (Seren, 2014), shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work...
Cary Archard was born in south Wales, close to Aberdare, Alun Lewis's home town. The editor of Poetry Wales from 1980-86, and founder of Poetry Wales Press, he is the general editor of the uniform edition of Alun Lewis's works. Until recently he taught English and Philosophy in Bridgend.
Cath Drake is originally from Perth, and now resides in London. Her work has been published in anthologies and literary magazines in the UK, Australia and the US. Cath's pamphlet, Sleeping with Rivers, won the 2013 Mslexia/Seren Poetry Pamphlet Prize and was the Poetry Book Society summer choice in...
Catherine Fisher is the author of three volumes of poetry for Seren: Immrama, The Unexplored Ocean and Altered States. She is also a novelist for children; her books include The Conjurer's Game which was shortlisted for the Smarties prize in 1992 and has been serialised on Radio 5. She works as a...

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Review from The Sunday Times

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“Like the city he grew up in, Liam Carson’s memoir of life in Belfast winds like a tangled web of streets, dreams, cultures and philosophies, where every page, pavement and street corner offer another dab of colour to a fascinating picture… Carson’s natural push against his parents in the 1970s coincided with the devastating change in Belfast’s complexion. Its nascent punk scene offered a soundtrack to life in a war zone. While Carson read new-wave science fiction and moved to London, his mother, Mary, drifted away from a language partly hijacked by republican violence. His father, though, retreated to his books. It seems he was living, writes Carson, ‘just off reality.’

“In time, the detached universe William created offered his son profound truths that defined the rest of his life. His father often spoke of tearmann—the idea of the Irish language as sanctuary where the language’s power to shape culture could be celebrated and explored. It is a daunting idea, but Carson handles his journey to accepting the ideas with great skill, successfully conveying the concept of the Irish language as a living, breathing organism without alienating the simplest, most compelling episodes of family life that make this book so moving in parts.

“His description of his mother’s Alzheimer’s disease and eventual death are blessed with clarity, gentleness and a heart-wrenching sadness. His memories of shared moments with his father are beautifully rendered… Carson’s greatest achievement is recycling a complex mix of emotions and ideas on language into a deeply moving read.”

Michael Foley, The Sunday Times

04/07/2012 - 15:28
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Review from The Sunday Telegraph

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"A tender, contemplative memoir examining Carson's upbringing in a happy but complex Irish-speaking household during the Troubles; it eulogises not only his parents but the Irish language itself"

The Sunday Telegraph 2012

17/12/2012 - 10:43
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Call Mother a Lonely Field New Welsh Review

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"Amy Mc Cauley discovers language is sanctuary in this memoir nominated for the Ondaaje Prize"

Liam Carson’s Call Mother a Lonely Field is a memoir of a very strange kind. Although it features some of the standard characteristics of memoir: family narrative, the odd humorous anecdote, photographs, etc, the book is much more than the sum of its parts, chiefly because Carson turns the usual chronological format inside out. Time here is fluid; like memory, it doesn’t simply represent the accumulation of events in a sequential manner. Carson instead puts forward an alternative view – one popularised by JW Dunne - which argues that ‘all time is eternally present. In other words, the past, present and future coexist.’ Carson goes on to suggest that ‘we exist on two levels, both inside and outside time.’ This idea is absolutely central: it relates not simply to the philosophical atmosphere but to the structure of the text, which embodies the very concept it proposes.
The book is also about our experience of identity. Carson comes across as a protean character – a man who reads, dreams and wanders. At various stages of his life he adopts different selves, each of which he rejects. But his relationship to these selves is alive with the spirit of enquiry. Carson is careful to resist the monomania of autobiography, however. This is firstly (and most importantly) a paean to his parents, and secondly a love letter to the Irish language.
Carson, who was born in 1962 in Mooreland, part of the Falls area of Belfast, writes lyrically about his parents, ‘the Ma’ and ‘the Da’. He says:

My parents were Falls people, with all that they entailed. Catholic people. Nationalist people. They belonged to a particular world with particular values […] In the ritual of the mass they were bound to their neighbours, to the world, to God. In the incense, the statues, the Stations of the Cross, the rosary, the stained glass, the Latin, they reaches a from of communion and community that held up their daily lives.

He goes on to say that ‘One afternoon [my Da] told me if he’d been in Iran, he would have been a devout Muslim. Perhaps it was not so important to be Catholic as it was to believe.’
‘The Da’, for me, is the most fascinating character. His singular strength is underlined by a story Carson hears only after his father’s death. When the Da joins the IRA in the 1940s, he soon realises he will have to kill. Unable to square this with his strong Christian faith, the Da leaves, only to find himself arrested and jailed. When he is released from prison he returns to work (as a postman) he finds his pay has been docked for his time spent inside. Carson writes, ‘He took a court case, logically arguing that since his employer and his gaoler were one and the same – the Royal Mail and His Majesty’s Prison Service, in other words, the King - then it followed what his employer was the cause of his absence.’ The Da wins the case and sets a legal precedent.
Call Mother a Lonely Field is full of these unrecorded, ‘unofficial’ histories. Personal family mythologies – songs, stories, poems and dreams – stand shoulder to shoulder with violent reality of Belfast’s ‘Troubles’ from the 1970s onwards. Structurally. I is like a home, each chapter is a different room witits own distinctive atmosphere and pressure, while the presence of dreams is a brave and valuable addition. They represent the hidden strand – the inner supports – of a person’s experience, and it is Carson’s unification of physical, human, linguistic and psychic geographies which make this a real stand-out read. If I had to pick a weakness I would say the ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ section of the book (detailing Carson’s love of comic books) felt slightly out of place, but otherwise I found it quite gripping. Most powerful for me was Carson’s suggestion that language is an environment we inhabit - a sanctuary which can be used to represent the various visible and invisible environments we occupy both physically and in our imaginary lives. The hidden places of memory, childhood, identity and dreams therefore become achievement is the meshing of the public and private worlds so often kept separate by the official records of history.

Amy McCauley for New Welsh Review

04/09/2013 - 11:45
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