Thursday 19 April 2018

Dewithon 2019

I recently spotted this at Paula's Book Jotter blog:

Why am I so excited?

My name is the first give away - Bronwyn (although my variation is apparently a masculine Anglicized take on the traditional Welsh spelling of Bronwen).

My mother's ancestors are the next clue. 
My grandmother's maiden name was Llewellyn, although less salubriously, it was her grandfather who first came to a convict (he stole a copper pot).

My Pop had closer Welsh ties.
His dad immigrated to Australia (from Llantrissant via the California goldfields) in the late 1800's.
We are still in touch with the children and grandchildren of his siblings back in Wales.

I have also visited Wales twice (which is quite a feat when you think about the distance between Sydney and Cardiff - 17 165 km to be precise!) My first visit was all about the family history; the second was about rugby!

One of the things I love about Wales is the resurgence of pride in local customs and language. All the sign are in English and Welsh.

Llantrissant Church were some of my ancestors are buried.
With all this ancestor pride and interest, you'd think that I would have read tons of Welsh books or books set in Wales. Wrong!
I'm hoping that #Dewithon19 will rectify this.

What exactly is #Dewithon19?
Dewi is the diminutive form of the Welsh name Dafydd (David) and the readathon is all about the literature of Wales. Paula has various links on her blog to help us discover Welsh authors, books, events, prizes and publishers.

The one and only book I've read set in Wales, by an English author, is Patrick O'Brian's Testimonies. The main female character was called Bronwen, hence my interest. Testimonies (or Three Bear Witness) was only the second book I have ever read with a Bronwen protagonist (the other being Bronwyn's Bane - book 3 in a children's fantasy series). Bronwyn is not an unusual name in Australia but it's not common either. My name has never been found on bookmarks, mugs, pens or door plates. I went to Wales thinking I would finally find a keyring or notepaper or something with my name on it, but no, it turns out Bronwen is an old-fashioned name in Wales and not considered mug-worthy!

I visited Dylan Thomas' home/museum in 1991 but have yet to read any of his work, although I have seen one production of Under Milk Wood.

I have read a few Roald Dahl books in my time, but even though he was born in Cardiff, the books never felt particularly Welsh to me, so it wasn't a connection I registered until seeing his name on one of Paula's lists. 
Philip Pullman also spent most of his childhood in Llanbedr, North Wales, but again. I don't feel a Welsh connection when I read his books.

Have you read any Welsh writers or read any books set in Wales that you can recommend to me?
I'd love to explode Mount TBR!

It's time to get our Welsh on (cael ein Cymry ymlaen)!


  1. Thank you so much, Bronwyn. There are so many writers from Wales waiting to be discovered. I'm delighted that you will be joining us for Dewithon 2019. Iechyd da! ­čśä

  2. Well, this looks like a fun challenge!
    The book I can mention is written by Edith Pargeter (pen name: Ellis Peters).
    She was born in England but has Welsh ancestory. Her books are ofter set in Wales.
    The Summer of the Danes - medieval mystery novel set in Wales1144. Brother Cadfael, herbalist mont and sometime sleuth at Shrewsbury Abbey (on border Wales/England), born in Wales.

    1. Ohhh medieval mystery sounds good! Thanks (diolch).
      Which reminds me that I have also read a number of books about King Arthur over the years, which naturally involves a lot of Welsh scenery, myth and legend.

  3. How lovely - I completely and utterly fell in love with Wales and the Welsh language when I went there last summer. I have actually finished reading a very Welsh book and author recently, so perhaps this will push me to finally write my review!

    1. I hope so, then we can find out which was the very Welsh book and author you recently read!!


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