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.