Seren’s Authors

Information on all Seren’s authors.
R D Cook was a founding member of staff at Brockwood Park School in Hampshire. He then trained as a therapist and developed and managed a range of intensive programmes for serious offenders with the Probation Service. He also worked as supervisor of counselling and trainer with several Westminster...
R.S. Thomas (1913-2000) was one of the leading poets in post-war Britain, the foremost English language poet in Wales and the outstanding religious poet of his time. The author of over twenty collections of poetry, he was nominated for the Nobel Prize.
R.W. Jones is author of Lonely's Game. His other novels include Saving Grace, Cop-Out, The Green Reapers and Seeds in the Wind.
Raymond Garlick was Principal Lecturer in English Studies at Trinity College, Carmarthen. Poet, co-founder and editor of The Anglo-Welsh Review, he was a pioneer researcher into the history of English language writing in Wales, and author of the influential An Introduction to Anglo-Welsh Literature...
Rebecca Perry was born in London in 1986. She graduated from the Centre of New Writing at The University of Manchester in 2008 with a master's degree in Creative Writing and now lives and works back in London.Rebecca has had work recently published in Iota, Smiths Knoll, The Manchester Review and...
Rhian is a multi-award winning poet. Her first collection of poems Clueless Dogs (Seren) won Wales Book of the Year 2013, the Roland Mathias Prize for Poetry 2013 and Wales Book of the Year People’s Choice 2013. It was also shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2012. Her...
Rhian Elizabeth was born in 1988 in the South Wales Valleys. She writes mostly fiction and her first novel, set in those valleys, was Six Pounds Eight Ounces, published by Seren in April 2014. More recently, her short stories have been published in various anthologies, and she is currently...
Rhiannon Hooson was born in Mid Wales in 1979, where she lived until moving to the north of England in 1998. She studied and later taught at Lancaster University, where she was awarded first an MA in Creative Writing (with Distinction), then a PhD in Poetry. Her first pamphlet, This Reckless Beauty...
Rhodri Jones grew up speaking Welsh, English and German. For the past two decades he has travelled widely in Central America, Europe, Africa and the Far East, building up an astounding photographic portfolio with images ranging from the mountains of Albania to the cities and deserts of China.
Rhys Davies (1903-1978) was an important and prolific novelist and writer. A friend of D.H. Lawrence, his fiction is notable for its strong women characters and exploration of human emotion.

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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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