A call for collaboration?

Hi All,

Confession - I never planned to learn Welsh. I had a mid-life crisis and decided I wanted to write a novel - and Aussie immigration novel - and because my mum was Welsh, I decided to include a couple of Welsh characters. When I found out there were Welsh classes in Melbourne, I enrolled, thinking I’d hang around for a term or two just to get an idea of how the language worked. I’d been rubbish at languages in school and never expected to actually speak Welsh. But I enjoyed learning, so I kept going. When we went through a tough time with one of our kids, I found SSiW and literally walked through that dark period holding onto the tail of the hen iaith. I now speak reasonable (cough) Welsh and lo and behold the book eventually got finished too. It is an historical coming-of-age novel about fairy tales and facing the truth. The fairy tales are Welsh. My character’s are storytellers. During the voyage to Melbourne, they:

Use lots of Welsh words
Tell a number of Welsh fairytales
Sing Oes gafr eto…
And Ar hyd y nos
But because the Ceiriog Hughes’ words were not written in 1841
I wrote my own version
In Welsh (with some help)

I’ll have a vocab list at the end of the book and a section on the Welsh language in which I will, of course, mention SSiW. However, when having dinner with Iestyn and Cat recently, we talked about an idea of Aran’s - namely recording the Welsh words and having them available on my website.

However, I’d love to do it in a way that pushes people over to SSiW. As hopefully, as well as being a good read the book will interest people in Welsh language and culture.

On that note…

An author once told me that her (Welsh) publisher told her not to have too much about Wales in her books because it wasn’t marketable. My book got rejected by the same publisher because it wasn’t mainstream enough. They must have been talking about the English market because here in Australia Wales is seen as small and brave and kinda tenacious. But then again, we always back the underdog down under - and I’m Aussie anough to want to prove that publisher wrong.

I’d also like SSiW and the Welsh language to grow.

So, I’m asking for ideas and suggestions as to how this might be achieved?

I have no idea how to record words and embed them on a site but I can figure it out. However, I can’t sing for peanuts so that will need input. A man would be best as the charcater who sings in the book is a man. Hwntw if possible though I don’t suppose it matters. It would be great to have one or two of the scenes with dialogue recorded in his Welsh accent too.

Anyway, I’m throwing it open for suggestions. Let me know if you have any ideas, energy, or expertise.

PS. I’m being published by a small independent press so there is no budget. I’m on my own with all this. :slight_smile:


Hmmmmmm… if you could share the list with me, or stick them in here, I could have a squint to see if we could build a lesson or two around them?

I’ll send it to you once I’ve got my computer fired up. I’m still in unpacking mode. It would be a fun way to tweak people’s interest.

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@elizabeth_jane Would you mind if I ‘mentioned’ this book to my colleagues? I’m not promising anything because we don’t specialise in dramas, but we are always looking for potential ideas.


And tell 'em that she’s working on an historical novel about Glyndŵr’s wife… :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

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Ha - way ahead of you… as that was on a public blog rather than a forum, I’ve already flagged that up! :wink:

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I am totally useless to you @elizabeth_jane but I was fascinated to find the publishers are still so anti- any mention of Wales, Welsh etc. Years ago, 60s, 70s or so, I started trying to get the odd SF novel or story published! I found that any character with Welsh antecedents was a no-no! I am horrified that this is still true! Would a publisher dare to say that an author must not have too much about any other place on Earth in their book? Did you say that publisher was actually in Wales? At least my ‘Wales does not sell’ came from London!

Sounds like a role for @Iestyn


<wanders round the corner, whistling a jaunty tune>

Having said that, you know you just need to put some words in my hand and I’ll start singing anyway. Happy to help if I can!


Maybe a growth club or two from the list.
(just an idea).

Cheers J.P.

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Oh wow, this is all so exciting.

Siaronjames, need you ask! Of course, mention away. Anytime. To anyone.

Iestyn, I’ll send you the words. I intend to have my computer open today. The words are based on the chwedl of Llyn y Fan Fach. They fit the music but you could tweek them if necessary.

I only got told that story by an author. So, I’m not sure of the full story. But I reckon the old prejudice is still alive.

Be in touch. I’m sleeping odd hours at the moment and just letting myself do it. I had a super busy time in Wales and I’m pretty worn out.


The author who said it was from the same publisher who rejected my work on the grounds of it not being mainstream enough. Maybe that is not the real reason. Maybe they just didn’t like my book. Wales is pretty small, so let’s keep this discussion between ourselves. But I reckon the prejudice is still around.

Okay, here is the word list:
Baban, babanod
Bydd popeth yn iawn
Ble gest ti hi? (said in a voice of alarm)
Canwyll corff
Daeth tair angel fach i’r gorllewin
Gelli di wneud e
Iesu Grist!
Llyn y Fan Fach
Nadolig Llawen
Na fydd
Nid ti sydd ar fai (straight out of the old course) :slight_smile:
Noswyl Mai
O Arglwydd, dyma ganwedd! (he also tells Dic Penderyn’s story)
Pidyn (may be hard to include in a lesson)
Pob un ohnyn nhw yn profi ’r tân
Sut wyt ti cariad?
Y Fari Lwyd

The two lines below are part of a charm. I have the full charm somewhere but it is not used in the book.
Daeth tair angel fach i’r gorllewin,
Pob un ohnyn nhw yn profi ’r tân

I recall now that this charm is also recited in full (did I mention there are fantasy elements in the story) by a Hwntw woman:

‘O garreg braint a chadarn,
‘Gad i ’m dy drochi mewn dŵr,
Yn nŵr ffynnon pur neu thon,
‘Yn yr enw Dewi Sant,
‘Yn yr enw‘r Apostlion,
‘Yn yr enw’r Drindod Sanctaid,
‘A Mihangel a‘r angylion,
‘Yn yr enw Crist a Mair ei fam!’
‘Bendith ar y garreg glir disglair!
‘Bendith ar y dŵr clir a fur!
‘Iechyd i bob salwch corff,’
‘Dyn ac anifail!

Here are the words to Ar hyd y nos

Unwaith carais i forwyn lledrith,’
‘Ar hyd y nos.
‘Gwallt hir tywyll, sgidiau flamgoch,’
‘Ar hyd y nos.’
‘Ger a llyn ei cherais hi a’i,’
‘A’i charu hi yn gywir addawis,’
‘Mor ofalus tad amheus,’
‘Ar hyd y nos.’

‘Trwy’r blyneddoedd fi’n esgelus,’
‘Ar hyd y nos,’
‘Tan cyrhaeddon mawr ergydion,’
‘Ar hyd y nos,’
‘Ohonf aeth ei hud bŵerau,’
‘Plymiodd hi o ddan y dyroedd,’
‘Nawr rwyn crwydro’r bryniau unig,’
‘Ar hyd y nos.’

Dw i’m ffeindio i un diwrnod,
Ar hyd y nos,
Rhoi i mi ei phŵerau iȃchad,
Ar hyd y nos,
Rhwymiad lledr,
Minnau ffeindio hedd a derder,
Nes y caf fforffedu galar,
Ar hyd y nos

I wrote them in learner’s Welsh and my friend Faleiry made them sound more first language. Let me know if there are mistakes.

Of course, Oes Gafr etc goes like this:

‘Oes gafr eto?
‘Oes heb ei godro?’
‘Ar y creigiau geirwon,
‘Mae’r, hen afr yn crwydro.’

I start with a white goat but do not specify the colours after that as it is simply summarised. But I’d happily put the whole song up online.

So, now you know all my secrets. I hope I haven’t spoiled the story for you?

The novel started out as an Aussie immigration novel but, in the end, the Welsh characters took over. Not unlike the effect of Cymraeg on my life. :slight_smile:

Let me know your thoughts.

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Makes ‘teeth sucking’ noise…

Won’t be able to fit all those in, certainly. Might be able to build something. Bit fuzzy at the moment, just finished a 5 dayer… but I’ll do some playing around next week and see where we get… [if I don’t say anything, ping me!]… :slight_smile:

I couldn’t imagine you getting a lesson out of them. :blush: It’s okay. I can still direct people to SSiW without a lesson.

I hope you will excuse my shameless self promotion?

For those interested, we now have a cover and release date for my debut novel, The Tides Between.

I can’t work out how to put an image in this post. I will therefore post a link to this page?

The Tides Between

The official release date will be October 20. I hope to organize reduced price eBooks exclusively for SSiW learners prior to release.

I will be having an official launch party on Nov 9 (you are all cordially invited). I realize the tyranny of distance will exclude most of you from accepting. I will try to use Facebook live for those interested in dropping in on the event. I’d love to see the feed filled with comments yn y Gymraeg!


Copy the image, and then paste it into the forum post. Discourse is clever enough to handle uploading it and attaching.

par exemple…

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Great to hear the book about to come out. Please put up the launch party place and time here for those of us within reach.


Only just seen this and wanted to wish you the best of luck with the book.

Sadly it does seem that “too much Wales/Welsh” in a book is a real thing. Had much the same rejection problems with my own novel (today’s Welshman digging into his family tree, discovers a relative that went missing during the war that leads back to what was going on in secret works in the hills etc. and relies a bit on the ‘obscurity’ of the Welsh language to officialdom for why the truth stayed hidden for so long).

Cutting this long and tedious story short - finally went the same route as you, and at least got the story out there with an ISBN number and everything :slight_smile: (though sadly no JK Rowling advances/royalty cheques just yet - or ever probably!:cry:) So pob lwc, a dal ati!

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Ah, thank you. So simple. I didn’t even think of that! :slight_smile:

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