This Autumn we’re taking A Voice Coming from Then on tour in Wales, to celebrate the collection winning the English Language Poetry Category in the 2022 Wales Book of the Year Awards. Join us at one of the events below for readings and conversation with poet Jeremy Dixon (and occasional guests).
Links to tickets for all the events will be updated as they become available.
We couldn’t be more excited to share the news that A Voice Coming From Then by Jeremy Dixon is on the shortlist (of three!) for the 2022 English-language Wales Book of the Year, in the Poetry category.
We are celebrating by holding an online event with the other shortlisted poets, Angela Gardner and Abeer Ameer, on 20th July at 7pm. Get your free ticket here.
A Voice Coming From Then, which we published in August 2021, starts with poet Jeremy Dixon’s teenage suicide attempt and expands to encompass themes of bullying, queerphobia, acceptance and support.
As well as exploring identity, the tragic effects of bullying and the impact of suicide, this collection also includes unexpected typography, collage, humour, magic, discotheques and frequent appearances from the Victorian demon, Spring-heeled Jack.
Jeremy Dixon said: “I am beyond delighted that my collection of poems dealing with bullying, queerphobia and attempted suicide has made the shortlist of Wales Book of the Year 2022. My greatest hope throughout the difficult writing process was that the book would be understood and resonate with an audience beyond myself. For the book to have been selected by the judges is the most unexpected and welcome compliment!”
The Wales Book of the Year Award is an annual prize celebrating outstanding literary talent from Wales across many genres and in both English and Welsh. Today, Friday 1 July, Literature Wales announced which books have reached the English-language Wales Book of the Year Short List 2022.
First of the videos from the launch of Mamiaith at Canolfan Ucheldre in Holyhead.
On the night the Eisteddfod packed up early because the weather was so bad, the hardy folk of Ynys Môn shrugged on their coats, and very possibly sou’westers and wellies, and came out to celebrate Ness Owen’s lovely book.
I don’t normally include my wittering on in the videos, but there were some important things to report in this introduction, so it’s included.
And here’s author Ness Owen reading her title poem, Mamiaith.
Ness Owen (Mamiaith, An Outbreak of Peace, Noon, Dusk, Shortest Day Longest Night)
We are publishing Ness Owen’s first collection of poems, Mamiaith on 8th August.
The Title means Mother Tongue and the collection is partially bilingual, because when the manuscript arrived, and there were several poems about the Welsh language, my first question was, why aren’t these in Welsh?
Ness is of an age that she was not taught in Welsh in school but in English, so that Welsh was effectively taught as a foreign language. Although she is a native speaker, she is unconfident of the fine detail fo writing in Welsh. After some discussion we agreed that if she could find someone to help, at least some of the poems should be in both languages.
That help was supplied by Sian Northey in the main, but also Iona Evans.
Pwy wnaeth ddwyn y geiriau
o geg fy mam a’u taflu yn
ôl ataf mewn darnau sy’n
disgyn i’w lle yn fy mhen ond
yn gwrthod disgyn ar bapur?
Fel perthynas annisgwyl, yn dal
ag ogla capal, yn twt-twtio yn
fy nghlust, ysgwyd ei phen
a thrio fy neud yn ddiarth i fy
Wyrion y ‘Not’ pryd nawn ni
dorri’r cortyn? Sut nawn ni
ddweud ein stori yn yr iaith fain?
Yn baglu ac ymddiheuro
dan ni’n anadlu Mamiaith
yn barod am chwyldro
ond yn gwybod y bydd ein
hysgrifen yn ein bradychu.
Stolen from my mother’s
mouth, thrown back to me
in pieces that fit so neatly
inside my head but will
not fall onto the page.
Like an uninvited relation
still smelling of chapel
she tuts in my ear, shakes
her head, tries to make
me a stranger to what’s
Grandchildren of the Not
When will we break the chord?
How do we tell our story in
a thin language? Tongue-tied
excusing our way through
we breath in Mamiaith
waiting to be unearthed
always knowing our
pen will betray us.