'New Stories from the Mabinogion' Grand Finale - London Launch

9 October 2013 - 09:43am

'New Stories from the Mabinogion' Grand Finale - London Launch

9 October 2013 - 09:43am

A brave youngster from downtown Splott in Cardiff and a mysterious clinic in a remote borderlands town are the unlikely subjects to complete Seren’s ground-breaking series of New Stories from the Mabinogion

From the pens of acclaimed authors Trezza Azzopardi and Tishani Doshi, the final two novellas in the series, The Tip of My Tongue and Fountainville are launched this month in London, Swansea and Cardiff.

And on October 21st we are inviting you celebrate at a grand finale launch, featuring our Mabinogion authors in the wonderful setting of Somerset House on the Strand. Tickets are £7 with £2 redeemable against the price of a book. Expect and evening of wit, entertainment and excellent prose with our marvellous panel of Owen Sheers, Niall Griffiths, Russell Celyn Jones, Gwyneth Lewis, Horatio Clare, Fflur Dafydd andCynan Jones  as well as our 2013 authors.

There will also be a further chance to hear Tishani Doshi at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Wales on October 29th and Tishani and Trezza Azzopardi will launch their books at the Senedd in Cardiff on November 5th.

The series, which began in 2009, has been hailed as maybe the greatest service to the Celtic myth cycle of the Mabinogion since Lady Charlotte Guest (the Guardian). Since then we’ve been on a rollercoaster journey from the land of giants, heroes and magical beasts out to the orbit of Mars, back to WWll and the Tower of London, journeyed to the edges of India and and forward to the warm and war-torn UK of the near future; seen Iraq in drug-addled dreams, and viewed Wales aslant, from its countryside to its council estates. We’ve touched on nation-building and personal tragedy, bravery and betrayal.

In The Tip of My Tongue, Trezza Azzopardi’s retelling of ‘Geraint and Enid’ transforms a medieval heroine who won’t be silenced into a 1970s girl who, no matter how difficult the circumstances, always seems to get the last word. Trezza says:

‘Greek myth, fairy tales, modern literature and horror films are full of such interdictions: don’t look back, don’t stray from the path, don’t open the door, don’t pick up phone... and for Enid, it was: don’t speak. This particular interdiction harks back to the bible: ‘Let your women keep silence... for it is not permitted unto them to speak’ (Corinthians); and it resonates through our culture, from the medieval Scold’s Bridle right up to the recent tirade of verbal abuse heaped upon feminist and women’s rights activist Sandra Fluke by the Republican ‘talk radio’ host Rush Limbaugh…. In the voice lies power.’

And Tishani Doshi’s take on Arthurian myth The Lady of the Fountain, transports the reader to the bizarre, opium-fuelled world of Fountainville, established in 1501 but ignored by the powers that be until Luna becomes the assistant to Begum, Lady of the Fountain, the magical powers of which are soon to attract the attentions of the reserved and haughty Mr Owain Knight.

Tishani writes: ‘In India, where I grew up, myths are everywhere; they are pervasive and alive in the most wonderful and frightening ways, and they survive in multiple retellings. We stake ownership in them because they inform our most basic ideas of vice and virtue. Myths are, ultimately, personal. And that’s why I believe it’s somewhat dangerous to meddle with other people’s myths.

When I was asked to retell ‘The Lady of the Fountain,’ I suffered all the usual outsider’s misgivings.’
But myths are, ‘ forever open, ready to be transformed and reinterpreted. For this reason, and perhaps, to tap into my latent Welshness, I agreed to enter the world of the Mabinogion…’

Trezza Azzopardi was born in Cardiff to a Maltese father and a Welsh mother. She studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia and is currently a lecturer there. Her acclaimed first novel, The Hiding Place (2000), is the story of a Maltese family living in Cardiff during the 1960s. It won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and was shortlisted for both the Booker Prize for Fiction and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction). The book was also adapted for BBC Radio 4's Book at Bedtime and has been translated into 14 languages. Her second novel, Remember Me (2004), centres on 72-year-old Lilian (also known as Winnie), a homeless woman, in search of her stolen possessions and her troubled past. Her most recent novel is The Song House (2010).

Tishani Doshi was born in Madras, India, in 1975 to Welsh-Gujarati parents. A poet, dancer and writer, she has a Masters in The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Tishani’s debut book of poems, Countries of the Body, won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 2006. Her second collection Everything Begins Elsewhere is published by HarperCollins (India); Bloodaxe (UK) and Copper Canyon (USA).She has an Eric Gregory Award, and has won the All-India Poetry Prize. Her first novel, The Pleasure Seekers (Bloomsbury) is translated into several languages and was shortlisted for the Hindu Best Fiction Award and longlisted for the Orange Prize and the IMPAC Dublin Literary award.