Seren’s Authors

Information on all Seren’s authors.
Laura McAllister is a Lecturer in the Institute of Public Administration and Management at the University of Liverpool. She has stood twice as parliamentary candidate for Plaid Cymru, and was political analyst for BBC Wales's broadcast coverage of the elections to the National Assembly and European...
A considerable figure on the drama scene in Wales in the eighties and nineties, Lawrence Allan has written eighteen plays in the past fourteen years. Inspired by the gritty, lively and often comic street life of his home town Pontypridd, he says, "I love it. It's my home, and I hope that my plays...
Lawrence Normand is Senior Lecturer in English, Cultural Studies and Communication Studies at Middlesex University.
 Leighton Andrews is Professor of Practice in Public Service Leadership and Innovation at Cardiff Business School. A former Assembly Member for the Rhondda and Minister for Children, Education & Lifelong Learning in the Welsh Assembly Government and Head of Public Affairs for the BBC, Leighton...
Leonora Brito lived in Cardiff all her life, where she took a degree in Law and History at the University. Dat’s Love collects the stories which won her the Rhys Davies Prize, a placed prize in the Stand International Story Competition and those which have been broadcast on Radio 4.
Leslie Norris (1921 - 2006) was born in Merthyr Tydfil.  Formerly a teacher and headmaster, he for many years taught literature and creative writing in American universities, most recently at Brigham Young, Utah, where he was Christiansen Professor of Poetry. He wrote poetry since 1941 and...
Born in 1962, Liam Carson was educated in a Catholic School in Belfast before reading English literature and philosophy at UCD. During the 1980s he lived in squats in Brixton and Kennington in London and worked in a variety of blue collar jobs. Returning to Ireland he worked for many years as a...
Linden Peach lectures in English at the University of Loughborough. His previous publications include British Influence on the Birth of American Literature, The Prose Writing of Dylan Thomas and, with David Margolies, Marxism and Culture: Christopher Cauldwell.
Lloyd Jones’ first novel Mr Vogel (Seren, 2005) won the McKitterick first novel award and was shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse prize for comic fiction. His second novel Mr Cassini (Seren 2006) won the Wales Book of the Year prize. He has also published a collection of short stories...
Lloyd Rees is a Senior Lecturer in English and Education in Swansea. In addition to his novels for Seren, Don’t Stand So Close and The Show-Me State, he is a published poet and co-editor of the magazine Roundyhouse.

Comments

Anonymous's picture

Review from The Sunday Times

0
No votes yet

“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
Anonymous's picture

Review from The Sunday Telegraph

0
No votes yet

"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
Anonymous's picture

Call Mother a Lonely Field New Welsh Review

0
No votes yet

"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
Please Login or register to post a comment or review