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 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