Seren’s Authors

Information on all Seren’s authors.
Gary Ley is a sculptor's assistant, who lives in Rhossili on the Gower. Taking Ronnie to the Pictures was a runner-up in Seren's First Novel Competition.
Geoff Mungham (- 2004) was a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Journalism Studies, Cardiff University. He was a former Cardiff City Councillor and Secretary of the ’Cardiff Says Yes’ Campaign Group.
Geraint Talfan Davies has been at the centre of Welsh cultural life – in both languages – for over thirty years. He was a newspaper journalist, and a senior executive in ITV, BBC and the arts before becoming the embattled Chairman of the Arts Council of Wales. He is currently chairman of Welsh...
Gil Courtemanche (1943-2011) was born in Montreal and became a journalist in 1962, with Radio-Canada. He created, edited and hosted a variety of radio and tv journalism programmes and helped found Le Jour. His tv films included works on the Rwandan genocide and on AIDS in Africa, both of which...
Gladys Mary Coles, the leading authority on the subject, is President of the Mary Webb Society. Her earlier, now unavailable, biography, The Flower of Light (1978), was an acclaimed pioneering study and is recognised as the standard work on Mary Webb. She is also the editor of the Selected Poems of...
Glenda Beagan lives in Rhuddlan, Denbighshire. She was educated at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and at the University of Lancaster. She has published three collections of stories for Seren, The Medlar Tree, Changes and Dreams and The Great Master of Ecstasy. She has also published a...
Glyn Jones (1905-1995) was a poet, short-storywriter and novelist. Born in Merthyr Tydfil into a Welsh-speaking family, his education was entirely in English and he became a teacher in Cardiff and Bridgend. In addition to three novels, three volumes of stories and a posthumous Collected Poems, he...
Graham Clifford was born in 1973 in Portsmouth and grew up in Wiltshire. He studied Fine Art and then Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. He has been published in numerous literary magazines such as: Poetry Wales, The Rialto, Magma, and London Magazine. Graham has been commended in...
Graham Mort has had a lengthy career as a freelance writer and artist in education, specialising in innovative combined arts projects. He has taught writing courses for the Arvon Foundation and Taliesin Trust and was director of studies for the Open College of the Arts, extending distance learning...
Grahame Davies is a poet, novelist, editor and literary critic, who has won numerous prizes, including the Wales Book of the Year Award. He is the author of 15 books in Welsh and English, including: The Chosen People, a study of the relationship of the Welsh and Jewish peoples; The Dragon and the...

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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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