Gems popping up on Radio Cymru and audio books

I just listened to a reading from the novel Taffia by Llwyd Owen on Radio Cymru on at around 10.50 so about half way through the feed below if you can pick it up. Even though i could only get the gist of what i was hearing it was enough to be captivated by it.
This has led be to wonder if there’s as thriving a market in audio books in Welsh as there is in English? (and if so where from?)

Not sure, but there are some great learner’s books. I’ve just finished my fourth short story.

They are a great help.

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Not strictly an audio book, but if you like that sort of thing then you can still download the second series of bisgits a balaclafas from the iplayer. It’s a thriller, 5 episodes long 30 minutes each. One of the voice actors is Catrin Mara, who I would quite happily listen to reading a (Welsh) phone book!


Thanks, that’s one to track down. I’ll have a look on line for other’s as well. I used to be a bit obsessed by Sherlock Holmes back in the 1990’s so I’d not far off wet myself if I found that in Welsh!

Yes, I’ve got a few, including some Tintin which gives be an excuse to revisit my childhood (Welsh Asterix as well maybe)


Definitely not I’m afraid, compared to other European languages, anyway.

Because I’d had some fantastic experiences with German audiobooks (of which there is a terrific number…I think the Germans are very very keen on them), and some experience with Scandinavian language audiobooks, I had naively expected to find a good selection in Welsh also.

There are a few, but not easy to find, and not a great selection really. It’s a pity, because I think it could be a fantastic niche market, and could give gainful employment to a lot of Welsh speaking actors. And it would be fantastic for learners, getting into reading, who want to be really sure how a book should sound.

You are right about gems on Radio Cymru.

What I have done a lot of (not just recently,. but I certainly plan to do again), is just go through the Radio Cymru schedule on the Radio Cymru website, and just go through it, day by day, and go back about 4 weeks (the average length that a programme will remain on iPlayer Radio).

You can find some real gems that way sometimes, that are very easy to miss in the normal run of things.

And of course, there are the podcasts.

Edit: re: gems, case in point here, for example:

I had no idea that programme existed until I looked at the schedule. Looks perfect for experienced learners, or indeed anyone just interested in the language.

Edit2: and again:

A drama … now you don’t get all that many on Radio Cymru, but they do come up now and again, and are always worth giving a try. They very often seem to be northern dialect (don’t know why), and this one sounds very Gog to me. Not sure how many previous episodes are still online though. One more to come by the look of it. (They are not usually long series, if it’s an episodic drama. They don’t have long-running soaps).


Talking about audio books, I’m having a bit of a barny at the moment with Carmarthenshire, and therefore probably many Welsh, library services at the moment.

As a resident (even if travelling) and library member, I can download an app called Borrow Box, and borrow audio books. I came across this service last year and told my audio book addicted husband about it and he has used it very successfully.

But when I came to look for it, there is no mechanism for searching for Welsh audio book. On Friday I emailed the company which provides the service who replied by saying this is not a service they provide at the moment, but will forward it to their production team.

I have forwarded this to Carmarthenshire libraries with hints about legally and morally being obliged to provide a bilungual service. I know you can’t even put up a notice in the libraries in just one language.

Would anyone else like to ask their library service about it?


Margaret are you aware of Libro for borrowing ebooks?

Do they have any Welsh audio books?

I don’t think so. But i could well be wrong. Worth a look though.

There is this one, Bore Da on Audible

Edit: Actually, there are quite a few on Audible, which has probably already been mentioned on here . I’ll get me coat.

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Many thanks, will track them down.
I think that it’s revealing that audiobooks in welsh appear to be harder to find. Is it because, as with @margaretnock and experience of libraries, the assumption is that if you speak Welsh you speak English so you’ll be quite happy with an English audiobook.
350,000 ish speakers of Icelandic and, as far as a quick search seems to indicate, plenty of audiobooks in Icelandic, so in Welsh this is a real shortcoming or a great little business opportunity?
I haven’t yet checked on Gwales, Y Lolfa and so on so maybe somthing on there.


Did you fill in the consultation on the Welsh Language by the Senedd, because this should go here, perhaps via a letter to your AM?
link to siw thread on it

Libro seems to only connect up with libraries which are connected to it, which Carmarthenshire isn’t. It also has almost no support on google play, from where I would be downloading the app.
Carmarthenshire libraries got back to me, bilingually, Welsh first,

"Bolinda Borrowbox and ebooks Wales National Service are both working with the Welsh Books Council to facilitate Welsh e- audio content.

A number of Welsh audio spoken word cds are available to borrow from Carmarthenshire Libraries."

So, I look forward to hearing the results.


Do you mean quite a few Welsh audio books? If so, that’s really good news.
I was aware of one there, which I think was actually specifically written with putting an audiobook of it on audible. There was some publicity for it at the time. Not sure if it was “Bore Da”, but it may well have been. If there are more, that’s all to the good.

(However, in the grand scheme of things, I fear that there simply are not (so far) a great deal of audiobooks in Welsh at all, anywhere. Petitioning libraries, etc will only be ultimately fruitful if the books are there in the first place. My guess is that publishers just don’t see it as financially worth while. It’s a bit like the situation with DVD versions of programmes on S4C - very few and far between (“Y Gwyll” being one of the notable exceptions).).
(I do really _wan_t to be optimistic - honest! :slight_smile: )

And similar with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, none of which is a “giant” language.

(One of the big markets is crime/thrillers/“noir”, which admittedly, is not everyone’s cup of tea).

(And even though the languages are strongly related, at least for the popular books they do usually go to the trouble of translating them into the “other” Scandi languages and in many cases recording audiobooks from them. Presumably the number of Scandi speakers, while small, is still a big enough critical mass for this to be successful commercially. So, the number of Welsh speakers just needs to grow a bit, and this might happen with Welsh as well).


Or the existing Welsh speakers just need to shift their consumption preferences from English to Welsh.

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How did you find them? I remember I once found Bore Da, but I haven’t seen any others. I’d love to find audiobooks for children in Welsh, but the library in Barry was completely unhelpful about that.

So I guess that means that Borrowbox doesn’t have any Welsh content at the moment? Last time I looked at it, my phone at the time didn’t have space for the app, so I gave up.

To be fair, there is a pretty decent selection of audiobooks for adults on CD at our local library.

That’s good to know. Not being a Welsh resident, I can’t easily just browse what’s on the shelves physically. (I think I have occasionally tried to browse Welsh libraries online, but didn’t get very far. Can’t remember why now, exactly).

If you could possibly, some time while you are in your local library, note down a few authors, and maybe titles, of what’s available in Welsh on CD, that would be very interesting, just to get a “feel”.

But of course the audiobook market in general has moved away from CDs, and on to downloadable books (e.g. audible), so that’s where we will hopefully see new audiobooks becoming available.

A google search for audiobooks in Welsh (I keep trying it!) brought up this old thread:

Among many relevant postings, someone said he made use of the audiobooks (in Welsh ) in Swansea library recorded by the RNIB for the blind. That’s a great service for the blind, but it’s a pity that audiobooks have in the past (in the UK) been seen as just a niche market like that.
(It seems to be different in other parts of Europe).

The ones he was talking about were on CD, and he didn’t think they could be loaned outside of that library’s area.

There is yet one more catch about audiobooks that the serious language learner (improver) has to be aware of: some are abridged versions. Language learners (improvers) need the full, unabridged versions. They are obviously longer and presumably have higher production costs. In my (admittedly limited) experience (this was in German), what the creators of abridged versions do is miss out whole paragraphs. i.e. they don’t edit down paragraphs into shorter paragraphs. So it is at least theoretically possible to “re-sync” the recording with the original text of the book from time to time.

Hehe, your wish is my command! I happened to take some pictures of the shelves sometime last year so I could ask someone for advice about what to choose.