DEWITHON PLANNER 2021
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 Monday 1st March 2021 (St. David’s Day), with an official page appearing thereafter to display all your Dewithon-related posts. There are plenty of useful links and reading suggestions at DHQ (Dewithon Headquarters) and in our Wales Readathon Library, but please do not 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, so please dechrau darllen (start reading)!
Dewithon With a Difference
It became apparent quite recently that some members of our global book blogging community were having difficulties obtaining certain UK titles, which would, of course, put the kibosh on them taking part in the official readalong. The pandemic has unfortunately caused delays in ordering books via libraries and bookshops, which is an issue I rather foolishly failed to consider until February. For this reason, I won’t invite others to join me in reading a specific piece of work this year, though in all other respects the event will continue as usual.
I intend to focus on My Favourite Stories of Wales, an accessible collection of tales selected and edited by the late great Welsh historian, author and travel writer Jan Morris. I therefore invite anyone with easy access this widely admired book to join me in reading and discussing its contents.
What’s with the Goat?
Several of you have commented on this year’s Dewithon logo, depicting a rather fine Kashmiri billy goat. How can he possibly be an emblem of Wales? Well, he is one of the 100 or so feral goats living on the Great Orme, a stunning limestone headland on the coast of North Wales, in my hometown of Llandudno.
The tribe has grazed the slopes of this latter-day country park and nature reserve (where, incidentally, I worked as a ranger when I was in my early twenties) since the middle of the 19th century. It is said they descended from a pair of goats presented by the Shah of Persia to Queen Victoria shortly after her coronation in 1837. At some point, Major General Sir Savage Mostyn acquired two individuals from the Windsor herd and installed them in the grounds of Gloddaeth Hall. We cannot be sure, but it is likely the goats, having once roamed the mountains of Northern India, were unable to adapt to captivity and were consequently released on to the hillside to roam at will. They thrived in isolation and over time evolved into a unique breed (Capra Markhor). They are now completely wild and very sensibly keep their distance from inquisitive humans.
Since 1884, it has become a tradition of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers to take a Great Orme goat as a regimental mascot. Most recently, Fusilier Shenkin IV who was caught on 3rd June 2018 following the death of Shenkin III at the age of seven. A carving of the new recruit now stands outside Llandudno’s theatre, Venue Cymru, and there is also a bronze sculpture of a Kashmiri Goat at the summit of the Great Orme.
During lockdown, the goats have taken to ambling along the empty streets in the town centre, helping themselves to garden plants, snoozing in unusual places and climbing on rooves. Indeed, they have become something of an international sensation, appearing in news reports around the world.
The photograph used for the 2021 logo was taken by my wonderful mum, Eve Parry, a keen photographer and nature lover who lives in an old miner’s cottage on the Great Orme. She also happens to be author and illustrator of Aliens on the Great Orme, a fascinating book about the goats, which was published in the early 1990s.
Become a Dewithoner
Please do 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 #dewithon21. Thank you and good luck (diolch a phob lwc)!
Categories: Reading Wales