DEWITHON PLANNER 2023
Dewithon is an opportunity for book bloggers and readers in general 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 usual 31 days of celebration on Wednesday 1st March 2023 (St. David’s Day), with an official page appearing on which your Dewithon-related posts will feature. In the meantime, you can find plenty of useful links and reading suggestions in the freshly updated DHQ (Dewithon Headquarters) post and in our Reading Wales Library (there is also oodles of new information on The Welsh Diaspora and its Literature page), but please do not hesitate to ask for help if you are struggling to get started. You are encouraged to read and share your thoughts on any book or literary subject with a Welsh connection, so prepare to dechrau darllen (start reading)!
In the lap of the book gods
I wasn’t at all sure if I would receive my chosen #Dewithon23 book in time for Reading Wales this year as it has only recently been published (on 26th January in the UK). I had a couple of alternative titles lined up just in case, but I’m delighted to report that it arrived with time to spare.
I have selected something a little different for our fifth celebration of literary Wales. I hope others will find it of interest and perhaps even opt to read it for the event.
Some of you will no doubt recall Jasmine Donahaye’s work, Reading the Signs (the working title for a collection of five interlinked essays “exploring the constraints and boundaries placed upon women’s experience of the natural world”), winning the 2021 New Welsh Writing Awards: Rheidol Prize for Prose with a Welsh Theme or Setting. Prior to this, she was known in Wales and beyond for penning a range of narrative non-fiction, fiction, poetry and cultural criticism, including Losing Israel, which won the non-fiction category of Wales Book of the Year 2016.
Birdsplaining: A Natural History is a medley of memoir, environmental essay and thoughtful dialogue focussed on “the uniqueness of women’s experience of nature and constraints placed upon it.” As regular followers of my blog well know, nature and conservation are subjects close to my heart, so I was fascinated to see the book described in the official blurb, thus:
“In pursuit of moments of feeling ‘sharply alive’, confronting fear of the body’s betrayals, and roaming across Wales, Scotland, California and the Middle East, Birdsplaining is […] sometimes bristling, always ethical, [upending] familiar ways of seeing the natural world.
“Donahaye is in pursuit of ‘understanding things on her own terms and undoing old lessons about how to behave. Here, she finally confronts fear: of violence […], daring at last, to ‘get things wrong’.”
I obtained my paperback edition of Birdsplaining from Book Depository. Published by New Welsh Rarebyte, it is 208 pages long and written in English.
I would love to know what you think of this year’s choice. Is it of interest to you? Perhaps you’ve read it. If so, have you already posted a review? Please let me know.
The wild Welsh daffodil
The main Reading Wales 2023 banner (at the top of this page) shows a field filled with daffodils – the National flower of Wales. A member of the narcissus family, its name derives from Cenninen pedr (meaning St. Peter’s Leek), and it is proudly worn on lapels throughout the land each Saint David’s Day (a practice popularized by the Welsh-born, early 20th century Prime Minister David Lloyd George).
Recognised widely as the quintessential emblem of Wales (along with leeks and red dragons), daffodils are to be seen emblazoned on the country’s rugby team shirts, pinned to the chests of the nation’s ambassadors and cheerfully sprouting from Welsh hedgerows during the early spring.
Please do let me know if you write anything at all about Reading Wales, though I’m especially keen to highlight your reviews and features. To do this, simply drop me a line or leave a link to your piece in the comments section below – and should you refer to the event on social media, I would appreciate you using the hashtag #dewithon23. Thank you and good luck (diolch a phob lwc)!
Categories: Reading Wales
I will not have it ready for this year but my ‘to do’ list includes a series of posts comparing the superstitions of rural Wales and Brittany! 😉
That sounds absolutely fascinating – we have a great many cultural links with Bretons. I will definitely post a link to your piece when it appears. 😀
Exactly so – a great many links that stretch back 1,400 years or so. I think my biggest challenge will be trying to discipline myself to not fall down too many research rabbit holes! 😉
That won’t be easy!
Looks great, I will see if I have any books to fit the bill!
Thank you, Imogen. I hope you have a good Dewithon! 😊
I’ve Athur Machen, several titles on Welsh folklore, a kid’s novel about a dragon written by one uni prof about another, a post about the final The Dark is Rising novel and its indebtedness to Welsh legends and a couple more possibles – so, yes, I’m looking forward to it all! 🙂
PS Can I point out a typo? When you say you’d appreciate us using the hashtag #dewithon22 I think you mean #dewithon23. 😁
A fascinating selection, Chris. I look forward to reading your thoughts. 😀
I’m so glad you spotted my error. I had reread the post a couple of times but failed to notice I was twelve months behind. 🙄 Many thanks indeed. 👍
Really looking forward to it Paula! I will hunt through the TBR…
That’s excellent news, Madame B. I hope you discover some Welsh treasures in your TBR pile. 😀
I’m not sure what I’ll read yet, but will definitely try to join in!
Brilliant! Have a good Dewithon, Helen! 😀
I’m trying to read my TBR this year – looks like I will finally have to brave The Mabinogion 😅
So glad you will be joining us again this year, Brona. 😀
Oooh, I hope to join in – will have a search through my TBR!!!!
Great news, Kaggsy! 😀
I am very much looking forward to it – I have a copy of How Green Was My Valley ready to go, reading along with Mallikabooks, a plot hatched for a while and I’m glad she reminded me. And your post about the excellent-sounding Birdsplaining, which I am putting on my wishlist, has reminded me that I have a copy of Sugar and Slate, which I think was last year’s group read, on my Kindle, bought in late March last year but not got round to then! So I will attempt both.
I’m so pleased you will be Dewithoning again this year, Liz. I hope you and Mallika enjoy How Green Was My Valley. I’m looking forward to reading Birdsplaining. Happy reading. 😊
OMG I love the Dewithon. I can’t believe it’s that time of year again already. I had no idea what to read this year but thanks Paula now I know. It’s Birdsplaining for me. Can’t wait. I read Jasmine Donahaye’s Losing Israel and loved that too.
That’s splendid news, Frances. I’m so glad you will be Dewithoning and absolutely delighted you will be reading Birdsplaining. 🤗
I’ll be joining in of course! Birdsplaining doesn’t appeal to me but I have several Welsh authors that I’e been meaning to get around to for a long time so that time has come. On the horizon could be Margiad Evans, Drift by Caryl Lewis which was a Waterstones Wales book of the month in January or I might seek out one of the many Welsh crime writers
An excellent choice of titles, Karen. Have a bibliomarvellous Dewithon! 😀
Birdsplaining sounds interesting, though it could become preachy. I’ll see if I can find it. I haven’t found any essays to read for this year. I’m looking forward to this event though, regardless. Thank you again for hosting.
Thank you, Lisa. Have a great Dewithon! 😀
I’m definitely taking part, Paula. I’m attempting to knock 60 books off my TBR this year and deliberately put a Jon Ronson book on the list because he’s my fall back Welsh writer for Dewithon! I’ll probably also get hold of a copy of Mike Parker’s book On the Red Hill – he and his partner have donated to Amgueddfa Cymru a collection they inherited from Reg Mickisch and George Walton that records life in Wales as a gay couple from the 50s to the 2010s. Mike’s book tells the story of the two couples’ friendship and what Mike discovered about them in their archive https://museum.wales/news/1310/Amgueddfa-Cymru-acquires-a-new-collection-of-objects-that-shed-light-on-LGBTQ-life-in-Wales/. I hadn’t come across the book until the news about Amgueddfa Cymru’s acquisition this week.
Oh Jan, I’m so sorry. I very nearly missed your comment. A squillion apologies for being so remiss. 😱
Thank you for sharing the information about Mike Parker and his partner donating such a fascinating collection to Amgueddfa Cymru. I will check out your link right away. I believe On the Red Hill was read for the event by Liz Dexter a year or two ago. If memory serves she spoke very highly of it – so you should be in for a treat! 😊
I was late to comment, to be fair! I’ll have a look on Dewithon Central for a link to Liz’s review of On the Red Hill, thanks for reminding me that Liz had read it!
Just thinking, this would be a splendid subject for Llyfrbabble if you don’t mind me nicking your idea, Jan? 🤔
Go right ahead!
Thanks, Jan. 😊 Here’s the link to Liz’s review: