Are You Ready for Wales Readathon 2020?

Welsh flag texture crumpled up

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

ONE MOONLIT NIGHTThe 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

CARADOG PRICHARD

Caradog Prichard (1904-1980) © Canongate

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)!

USEFUL LINKS

Dewithon Logo Daffs



Categories:Wales Readathon

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50 replies

  1. I will do my best. I have unread R.S. Thomas and Saunders Lewis on my shelves, so we shall see! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just found “The Grey King” in Audible. Thank you for the introduction and for the invitation to the Wales Readathon 2020.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 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!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Have just ordered the Pritchard from my library. Looking forward to participating.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is so wonderful! Let me see whether I can join! ‘One Moonlight Night’ looks like a wonderful book! Thanks so much for hosting!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 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! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I shall go for what I’ve already got on my shelves but I shall definitely be joining in!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. 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 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Wow, that time of year already! I will be looking into it again, Paula 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. 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!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. 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!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Will have to give Dewithon a pass this year, as I’ll be traveling. But I’ll follow everyone’s progress!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. 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!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. 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

    Liked by 1 person

  18. My plan is to read Under Milkwood, if I can find where Mr Books has hidden our copy….:-)

    Liked by 2 people

  19. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

Trackbacks

  1. DHQ: Dewithon 2020 – Book Jotter
  2. Winding Up the Week #107 – Book Jotter
  3. Are You Ready for Wales Readathon 2020? – Thoughts Become Words

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