THE DEWITHON 20 DIARY
Dewithon is an opportunity for book bloggers around the world to discover Welsh writers and their works (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, plays, in fact anything written in English or Welsh with links to the nation of Wales).
We will begin our 31 days of celebration on Sunday 1st March 2020 (St. David’s Day), with the first of four readalong posts scheduled for 7th March. There are plenty of useful links and reading suggestions at DHQ (Dewithon Headquarters) and in our Wales Readathon Library, but please don’t hesitate to ask for help if you are struggling to get started. You are free to read and write on any literary subject relating to Wales, but if you are one of those people who prefer a little structure to your readathons, I make the following suggestion:
The Official Dewithon 20 Book
The title I am inviting you to read, review and discuss with me in March is the English translation of Un Nos Ola Leuad (One Moonlit Night) by Caradog Prichard (1904-1980), a lost contemporary classic, felt by many to be in dire need of rediscovery.
This novel, first published in 1961, is set in the Welsh town of Bethesda (referred to throughout as “the Village”) in the years 1915-1920 and tells the story of a mother-son relationship from the perspective of the boy.
Prichard made his name in Wales as one of the writers of the Caernarfonshire quarrying district and his book contains a great many biographical details, especially in relation to his family and the seemingly hard-working, devout, politically aware rural folk of his childhood.
One Moonlit Night is held by many to be one of Britain’s most significant and brilliant pieces of fiction, recalling Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood – indeed, it was described in the Observer as “lyrical and visceral, compellingly earthy and maddeningly gothic […while continuing] to elude classification.”
I have chosen this book partly because we read a non-fiction title, The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp by W.H. Davies for our first-ever Dewithon in 2019, which, of course, took place in several countries, including the USA and Canada. This year’s choice is a fictional narrative set entirely in north-west Wales – be it a mythologically subversive version of the writer’s hometown. My main reason for picking this work is because One Moonlight Night was, in 2014, selected as The Greatest Welsh Novel by a panel of literary experts and an online public poll of more than 1,400 readers of Wales Arts Review. I therefore hope it will be darllen da (which, very roughly translates as ‘a good read’).
My Canongate copy, published in 2009, is 178 pages long (including the foreword, translator’s notes, afterword etc.), but I’m sure every edition will differ slightly. Should you wish to break the book down into discussable sections and share your thoughts as you read, I would suggest the following:
WEEK ONE (Sunday 1st March to Saturday 7th March): Chapters 1-4
WEEK TWO (Sunday 8th March to Saturday 14th March): Chapters 5-8
WEEK THREE (Sunday 15th March to Saturday 21st March): Chapters 9-11
WEEK FOUR (Sunday 22nd March to Tuesday 31st March): Chapters 12-15
As an aside, some of you may be interested to learn that Caradog Prichard was depicted as a red-haired Welsh farmer in Susan Cooper’s book, The Grey King. Like the author, he is a mortal poet. In this novel, however, his character is completely crazy from spending the night on a Welsh mountain and, worse still, he serves the Dark.
Please let me know if you write anything at all about the Wales Readathon – but I’m especially keen to highlight your reviews and features. To do this, simply leave a link to your piece in the comments section below or drop me a line, and should you post anything relating to the event on Twitter, I would appreciate you using the hashtag #dewithon20.
Thank you and good luck (diolch a phob lwc)!
- PRICHARD, CARADOG (1904-1980), novelist and poet – Dictionary of Welsh Biography
- #GWN Revisited: Un Nos Ola Leuad by Caradog Prichard – Wales Arts Review
Categories: Reading Wales
I will do my best. I have unread R.S. Thomas and Saunders Lewis on my shelves, so we shall see! 😀
I really hope you’ll be able to join us, Kaggsy, but I know you have lots of other books to read. 😊
I just found “The Grey King” in Audible. Thank you for the introduction and for the invitation to the Wales Readathon 2020.
Excellent! I really hope you’ll be able to join in the fun. 😊
I love how this sounds, Paula, and I have just bought it! I HOPE this year I will join in with you and not just buy the book, as I did with Supertamp. This book sounds brilliant. Either way, I wish you an amazing Dewithon!
Thank you so much. One Moonlit Night is shorter than Supertramp, so at least there’s less reading-time involved in this year’s choice. Anyhow, I really hope you enjoy it, Jennifer. 😃
Have just ordered the Pritchard from my library. Looking forward to participating.
I’m so glad you’ll be joining us, Penny. Happy reading! 😃
This is so wonderful! Let me see whether I can join! ‘One Moonlight Night’ looks like a wonderful book! Thanks so much for hosting!
Thank you, Vishy. I very much hope you are able to join the readalong. 😃
So excited, Paula! This is so wonderful! Thanks for hosting ☺️
Count me in, Paula! I have Rhapsody (1927) by Dorothy Edwards & A Burglary (1883), by Amy Dillwyn on my shelves, and this will be a good opportunity to finally read them! 🙂
That’s excellent news, Juliana. I very much look forward to learning your views on these two books. 😃
I’m going to give this a go and knock one, maybe two of the Jon Ronson books off my To Read stack. My local library doesn’t have the Official Book of Dewithon, sadly.
Oh, I really like Jon Ronson – he’s a total one off. I’m sorry to hear One Moonlit Night isn’t available in your library but I’m sure your books will be excellent. 😊
I bought most of his books on Kindle a while ago but have only read The Psychopath Test and Frank so far. I might start with The Men Who Stare at Goats.
I requested One Moonlit Night. I will do an opening post. I will also hopefully read How Green Was My Valley–the only one I own on the list.
That’s excellent news. I hope you enjoy both of these titles. 😃
I shall go for what I’ve already got on my shelves but I shall definitely be joining in!
Hurrah! I’m so pleased, Chris, it wouldn’t be the same without you. 😃
Among other titles I’m going to try to finally complete Jasper Fforde’s Early Riser, set not too far from me, but I’ve also a Roddy Doyle for #ReadingIreland month.
One Moonlit Night sounds a great choice, Paula; I shall be seeking it out immediately. I have a few books in mind to read for this year and if circumstances permit, I might sneak in a review or two from those I read for last year’s Dewithon 😉
Well, I hope I’ve made the right decision. It’s difficult to find a title that will appeal to everyone. Anyhow, I’m delighted you’ll be participating again, Sandra. Your Dewithon posts last year were superb. 🤗
Wow, that time of year already! I will be looking into it again, Paula 🙂
It is indeed, Gretchen. I really hope you’ll be able to participate in some way. You were one of my original supporters in this project and with your help and encouragement I was able to get Dewithon up and running.🤗
I’m blushing now, Paula. It is such a pleasure to be part of it!
My blog post for #dewithon20 is up and running! Dragon art is included!
I spotted your Dewithon post immediately I went online this morning. Diolch yn fawr iawn (thank you very much), Gretchen! 🤗
Delighted to be part of it! I don’t think I’d ever master the Welsh language, Paula, and the only Aussie which springs to mind is “All good, she’ll be right, mate”.
At the risk of becoming boring, Paula, I’ve just popped in to say a Leek and Potato Soup recipe is on my home page Photo of the Week with a Dewithon mention 🙂
Thank you, Gretchen, it looks delicious. 😋 I’ll add it to the official Wales Readathon 2020 page, which I’ll probably post tomorrow.
Oh goodness, the Susan Cooper link is amazing! I can’t find that I have ANY Welsh authors on my TBR though, unfortunately, I’m gutted, but I’m so trying not to buy any extra books (having said that, I did spend a voucher I was given yesterday, but not on Welsh books). So I won’t be able to take part this year, but I will watch out for all the lovely Welsh reading going on!
Quite understand, Liz, no worries. Please feel free to join our discussions at any time if you fancy. 😊
Oooo, this sounds like fun! March is a break between my The Iliad and The Odyssey read-alongs, so I just might manage it. Thanks for hosting!
Thank you, Cleo. I really hope you’ll be able to join us. 😊
And the greatest of all literary responses to WW1 – “In Parenthesis” by David Jones. How wonderful it to be in a small group who read that aloud taking up the different voices. Mametz Wood alive with the lost voices of the Welsh and he English.
Yes indeed. Actually, it may be worth considering In Parenthesis for a future Dewithon readalong. I wonder how people would feel about tackling an epic poem?
Will have to give Dewithon a pass this year, as I’ll be traveling. But I’ll follow everyone’s progress!
I’m sorry you won’t be joining us this year, Lizzie, but hope you have fun on your travels. 😊
Looking forward to participating again this year: I’ve got a few options on my own shelves and can see there are a couple of copies of the group read on the library’s shelves too. Yay!
Excellent, I’m delighted you’ll be taking part, Marcie. I very much look forward to reading your thoughts – I enjoyed our discussions last year. 😃
I’ll be joining in – just try and stop me. My dilemma is what to read from the 20 books on my TBR shelves that are buy Welsh authors. I stupidly loaned my copy of the Pritchard to my niece – should have known from past experience that I never get them back. I’ll see if I can get a library copy though
That’s excellent news, Karen. I look forward to discovering your choice/s from the TBR shelves. 😃
My plan is to read Under Milkwood, if I can find where Mr Books has hidden our copy….:-)
I’m so pleased you will be joining us again, Brona. I very much hope you enjoy UMW. 😊
I read Under Milk Wood for #dewithon19 last year and it was a genuine eye-opener as to what I’d missed out on all these years until I thought perhaps I am now old enough to really appreciate it 🙂
I’ve been looking forward to this since last year! I have Everything I Found on the Beach by Cynan Jones and The Literature of Wales by Dafydd Johnston waiting on my shelf. One Moonlit Night sounds good–off to order a copy.
Oh, and I just ordered The Woman in the Dark by Vanessa Savage and None So Blind by Alis Hawkins. Karen of BookerTalk recommended them to me.
I’m so pleased you will joining us this year, Chris. I hope you enjoy your chosen books and very much look forward to reading your thoughts. 😊
Just posted some thoughts about a book of poetry, Gronw’s Stone at https://cathum.wordpress.com/2020/03/02/reading-gronws-stone-for-dewithon-2020/
Lovely having this focus again, Paula.
Thank you, Cath. I’ve linked to your post from the Wales Readathon 2020 page. I’m so glad you’re taking part again. 😃
Well I’ve just started reading One Moonlit Night. Finding it a bit confusing so far though ….
I’m really enjoying it so far. I can see why comparisons with Under Milk Wood have been made.