Sunday, 24 June 2018

Music License at the Three Tuns

Work is going on now to get the Three Tuns ready to re-open, and a sign has gone up in the window saying that they are applying for a music license, which would mean they could continue musical events until 1am. The Three Tuns hasn't had a music license before, as far as I know - though I do remember the belly dancing evenings in the days when Lucy was landlady.
Some residents of Broad Street are very concerned about this, and will be making formal complaints.
However, The Old Electric Shop has occasional music, just up the road, and the Globe has music regularly until late, to the great annoyance of some of their neighbours, at the other end of Broad Street. So I'm inclined to wait and see what the new owners of the Three Tuns are planning.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Historical Hereford Day

I'm just back from a pleasant day out in Hereford, dressed as a suffragette to celebrate Historical Hereford Day on Castle Green. The theme was celebrating remarkable women and Herefordshire history, and I wasn't the only suffragette there:

There was a very good display of local history information, including the history of the women's suffrage movement in Herefordshire and history of the River Wye and hop picking. One of the leaflets I picked up was for Herefordshire Life Through A Lens, about a film called Stories from the Hop Yards, inspired by the photo archive of Derek Evans, who died in 2009 after a long photographic career. There is a website at and Derek Evans' photos can be seen at
Also in the tent was a woman dressed as one of the Rotherwas factory girls from the Second World War - I didn't get a picture of her because she was busy talking to people while I was there. There is a book out about them, called Bomb Girls.

Out on the Green there were activities for children, including Have A Go Archery and a traditional Punch and Judy show, and stalls selling crafts and vintage stuff, as well as stalls for local history groups and campaign groups.
I'm now the proud owner of a badge saying "Save Mortimer Forest", for instance. A local group wants to stop the Forestry Commission from making a deal with Forest Holidays to build 68 holiday homes, with a shop, restaurant, bar and cycle hire facilities inside Mortimer Forest, near the border with Shropshire. They can be found at (with bird song!).
There was also a campaign group opposing the present plans for a Hereford Bypass. They are in favour of more cheap, reliable public transport, such as electric buses and trams, more trains and carriages, and safe cycle and pedestrian routes. Like the Mortimer Forest campaigners, they are against the destruction of the local environment, especially ancient woodland, along the route which will cross the River Wye on a high bridge. They can be found at

I also picked up the leaflet for this year's Three Choirs Festival, which is in Hereford this year ( One of the highlights of this year's performances will be Ethel Smyth's Mass in D - she was, of course, a prominent campaigner for women's suffrage. It's also the centenary of the death of Hubert Parry, local composer, and of 24 year old Lili Boulanger, who wrote a setting of Psalm 130 as a response to the horrors of the First World War.

I rounded off my trip to Hereford by having a bottle of Liberty Ale from San Francisco at the Hereford Beer House - while I still can. Many of the small businesses in that area have been forced to move out because of huge rent increases, and the Hereford Beer House may have to follow. I hope they're able to find another home in Hereford.

And finally I went to St Peter's Church, where a big suffragette rally was held over a hundred years ago. There was a photo of it in the exhibition tent on Castle Green, with a lady addressing the crowd from a platform that must have been just about where the war memorial is now. The war memorial was built in 1922. I'm not sure if the person in the archive photo was local campaigner Mrs Massey, or one of the Pankhursts who visited Herefordshire to campaign.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Celebrating the NHS

Owen Sheers has written a new play, To Provide All People, to celebrate 70 years of the NHS - and what a star--studded cast BBC Wales have assembled to perform it! The actors include Michael Sheen, Eve Myles, Sian Phillips, Jonathan Pryce, Aimee Ffion Edwards, George Mackay, Martin Freeman, Meera Syal, Celia Imrie, Tamsin Grieg, Rashan Stone Michelle Fairley, Suzanne Packer, and Michelle Collins. It covers a day in a single hospital.

Copies of the book are available from the Poetry Bookshop.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Hay-on-Wye Rocks

That's the name of a new Facebook page for a group that is painting pebbles and leaving them around Hay for people to find. They are encouraging people to paint their own rocks to leave out, and anyone who finds a rock can either leave it where it is, or take it home, or put it somewhere else for another person to find.
Here's one, lurking somewhere in Hay....

Monday, 18 June 2018

HOWLS Meeting

HOWLS will be holding their AGM on Wednesday 20th June at 7pm, at what we must now call the Old Library.
It will be a time to say goodbye to the old Library, look back on the campaign, get updates on the new library, and plan for the future.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Dan the Elgar Dog and other Statues

When I was talking about statues around Hereford a little while ago, I was told about a statue of a dog down by the river, in King George V Playing Fields. So yesterday I went to find it.

This is the bulldog that belonged to the organist at Hereford Cathedral, who was a friend of Elgar's. The story goes that they were walking along the riverbank one day when the dog fell in. It's quite a steep bank there - there's another memorial nearby to all the people who have drowned in the Wye, adding sternly "Don't Let It Be You".
The dog paddled furiously to a place where he could pull himself out, and shook himself vigorously. The organist said to Elgar something along the lines of: "I bet you can't make a tune out of that!" Elgar took up the challenge, and the tune he wrote became part of the Enigma Variations.

I was also told last week about the three legged statue in Hereford Cathedral. I didn't take a picture, because my camera is a bit weedy indoors, but I went to pay my respects to Sir Richard Pembridge, 14thC knight, with his head resting on his great helm. One of the statue's legs was badly damaged at some point, and a wooden leg was carved to put in its place. Then in the 19thC an alabaster leg was carved as a replacement, and the wooden leg passed into private hands. And now it's back, donated by the owner, and propped up against the pillar beside the tomb.

A little way along the wall from the tomb (opposite the main door of the Cathedral) is the new SAS memorial, in rather beautiful polished blue stone, very plain, and with a modern window above it, also in blue, with the title Ascension.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Clifford Castle

What a wonderful evening!
Cusop History Group organised a trip to Clifford Castle, which is privately owned, yesterday. The present owners have been there for 7 years, and have just completed extensive renovation of the castle with the help of Historic England. As part of the agreement with Historic England, they have to open the castle to the public for 20 days a year. The castle is also open today and Sunday morning, though they do ask on their website for any group larger than 5 people to contact them in advance. The website is
Parking is limited in Clifford, so the group met up in the Co-op's car park for car sharing. Signs are now up in the Co-op car park restricting parking to one and a half hours for customers only, but permission was granted for the History Group to park there.
I've been to Clifford Castle before, many years ago, as the guest of Mrs Parkinson, who used to own it. The people who owned the castle after her were not well liked in the area - there were stories of them stopping local people from walking their dogs and so on - but the present owners seem both enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the castle.
We were taken round by the owner, who had prepared laminated sheets with details of the castle's history and features, and a rather good reconstruction drawing. One of the group is an expert on Fair Rosamund, who was the daughter of Sir Walter de Clifford and mistress of Henry II. Henry was known to have visited the castle, and the owner commented that he couldn't see the king being entertained in the Great Hall of the keep, because it's really quite small. There is a possibility that there was a larger, wooden great hall in the outer bailey, though there would need to be more excavation to find out.

As part of the renovation work, several trenches were dug around the site, and the soil taken out of the tops of the walls was sieved, yielding mostly Victorian pottery. They think that Dr. Trumper, who owned the castle in the 19th century, and built the present house there, deliberately planted ivy in the walls to make the keep look more like a "romantic ruin". All that ivy, and the several trees that had burrowed their roots into the walls, have had to be removed to save the stonework from further damage. They also had to remove masses of brambles. The owner said that he only found one of the five towers by accident, when he fell into it while strimming - it was completely covered in brambles, and he went into them up to his waist.
The trench in the middle of the shell keep revealed, somewhat disappointingly, that the present ground level is about a metre above the original ground level - and across the courtyard stones from the castle walls had been neatly stacked on end. They assume that this was done by Dr Trumper, who probably intended to use the stone to rebuild some of the walls. When he came to sell the castle, not having used the stone he collected, he just covered them with earth. The owner said he wished he'd known the stone was there - they wouldn't have needed to buy in new supplies!
Other walls have primitive repairs, with little columns of stones holding up walls where there are gaps or the facing stones have disappeared. One wall, overlooking the river, has a solid buttress at one end, provided by the railway engineers who were building the railway down below, between the castle and the river, presumably so stones from the castle didn't fall down onto the tracks!

View of the entrance to the keep

And here's the reason that the castle was built on that spot in the first place - the ford across the river Wye, as seen from the walls of the castle. You can see how high above the ford the castle is, hence the "Cliff" part of the name.

There is a lot of potential for more work to be done to discover the secrets of the castle - they still don't know where the kitchen was for sure, and they don't really know the purpose of the hornwork behind the keep either - but the work that has been done has ensured the castle's survival for perhaps another hundred years.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Changing Banking Arrangements

Well, that was easier than I thought it was going to be!
This morning I went into Barclays and withdrew all the money from my savings account. I'm leaving the current account, because that's kind of essential for paying rent and direct debits and so forth, and there is no other bank in town I could transfer it to. The savings, though, went straight across the road to the Yorkshire Building Society, where I already have a small account. I suppose that means I don't count as one of the 67 people that the leaflet from Barclays said use the Hay Barclays branch exclusively for their banking needs, even though I do 95% of my banking through Barclays. The lady at the Yorkshire Building Society said that they'd been busier than usual over the last week or so. She banks with Barclays too, and said: "Don't mention that name to me!"
I had thought that I'd have to go into Hereford to get the Barclays savings account closed, but Helen did it all for me on the spot.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Meanwhile, at the Library....

The Library has closed its doors to the public for the last time, and the books are being boxed up.
The new Library, at the School, will open on Monday, in what the County Council are calling a "brand new flexible community space" according to the article in the B&R. Also according to the B&R, the County Council are saying that they hope the new library space will "open up opportunities for residents and community groups" to utilise a community resource for a multitude of activities. They say that the space can easily be re-arranged to suit a variety of activities.
Every single one of those activities, except perhaps the suggested possibility of cookery demonstrations, could be done in the existing Library building, which also has more space than the new building at the school. I'm not sure how practical cookery would be at the new building, even though it has a little kitchenette.
One of the suggestions was a "knit and natter" group - I belong to the local Stitch and Bitch group, and we meet at Kilverts on the first Thursday of the month from 6pm to 8pm - where we can also buy a drink, which won't be possible at the Library. Maybe the Council should have talked to the local groups before blithely declaring they could meet in the new Library.

The new Library will only be open for 12 hours a week - Mondays and Thursdays from 9am to midday, and 1pm until 3pm, and Saturdays from 10am to 12.30pm.
So any adults at work during the week will only be able to go to the library on Saturday mornings.
Any secondary school pupils who want to use the library will only be able to go on Saturday mornings.
The parents of children at Hay School are already complaining that their children will not be able to go to the library after school, and it hasn't even opened yet. The school has already decided to use the space for after school clubs most afternoons.

Rachel Powell, the portfolio holder at the County Council for young people, culture and leisure, says that the new library will include "a great range of books" as well as computers, wi-fi and information for residents on other council services.
But there's no point in having "a great range of books" if you can't get to the Library when it's open, and in any case there will be fewer books, because the space is smaller. And the "new and exciting activities" could have been housed in the original Library building if there had been the will to do so.

This morning, I was approached by two ladies who want to start some sort of community activity for local mums (I forget what it was). They wanted to know if I'd put a poster up, and if I had any idea of where they could go to find a suitable venue.
There used to be a community centre, which was knocked down, of course. The new school only provides a small fraction of the space that the community centre used to offer. Rachel Powell can talk about "new and exciting activities" all she likes, but the new school and library complex is not an adequate replacement for the amount of space there used to be in Hay for community activities.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

A Pub Without a Till

I went to Stitch and Bitch at Kilvert's last Thursday, and we had an interesting chat with the lady who has come out of retirement to run it again, after Hay Tap, and then the management buyout of Hay Tap, failed. She had to come back from Spain to pick up the pieces.
And the till behind the bar had just been taken away by the company it had been leased from, because Hay Tap hadn't paid the bill - so now they're operating without a till. Which rather begs the question - what happened to the till that Kilvert's used to have before Hay Tap took over, which they owned?

Monday, 11 June 2018

Meet the Builder

On Wednesday, 13th June, Hay Castle is having an open evening to meet the builders who will be carrying out the restoration work (the metal fencing has already been going up around the Castle). The open evening starts at 5.30pm, and entrance is by the Oxford Road gate.
On the Hay Castle Trust Facebook page, they say that conservation expert Nathan Goss of John Weaver Contractors will talk about their approach, critical conservation works, opportunities for the community, and how long the work will take.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

More Thoughts on Barclays Closure

Just a small point that I've been pondering - the leaflet I was given at Hereford concentrates on customers of the Hay branch, and how they say that those customers have been finding alternative ways to do their banking. They do not seem to have considered Barclays customers from elsewhere who come to Hay as tourists.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Barclays Bank is Closing

I'd been planning to do a little gentle retail therapy in Hereford (I needed new pumps/gym type shoes for summer) - and then I got the letter from Barclays, telling me that the Hay-on-Wye branch will be closing on Friday 28th September.
I don't often swear, but on this occasion I think it was an appropriate reaction.
An hour on the bus on the way to Hereford made me think I was feeling calmer - still furious, but calmer.
So the first thing I did when I got to Hereford was go round to the Barclays branch there.
It's all do-it-yourself screens now, so I queued for the one desk that has real people behind it, and I said I wanted to make a complaint. As soon as I mentioned Hay, the young lady went to speak into some sort of intercom on the wall to tell the manager.
After a short wait, the manager came out to see me and took me into a little side office.
Honestly, I can't fault the staff in the branch at all. They were as helpful and professional as they could be, and I did my best to be polite, and told them that I knew it wasn't their fault and I wasn't angry with them.
The bank had obviously been prepared to receive complaints, because the manager had a leaflet all ready to give me, explaining the decision and offering alternative ways to bank.
They claim that only 67 people use the Hay branch exclusively for their banking, which I find difficult to believe, with other customers using telephone and online banking more. They also say that they have "taken into consideration the availability of other branches in the wider community", and then say that the next nearest branch is in Brecon. Oh, and there's a free cash machine at the Garage at Llyswen….
I informed the manager that the bus fare to Brecon is £8.30 (Explorer ticket), and the bus only runs every two hours, so that's half the day gone every time a customer wants to use another branch in the wider community.
The leaflet also says there is help available for people who want to switch to online banking.
The other option appears to be the Post Office, which is on the market at the moment. They recently had a cash machine put in, though it's had teething problems and breakdowns.
I have no wish to do online banking, so it looks like it's the Post Office or nothing for me - which led me to ask why I should remain a Barclays customer at all, having banked with Barclays since 1977? She had no answer for that.
I also mentioned local businesses, who need to bank their cash frequently, and get change for the tills. Are they supposed to drive across to Brecon to do this? The manager had no real answer to that, either, but mentioned some sort of collection service that might be offered, and said that all the businesses that bank with Barclays will be contacted.
The manager also said that, although Barclays was taking feedback, the decision had been made.

I feel a bit sorry for Gareth Ratcliffe. No sooner had he posted on his Facebook page that he was going away for a couple of days, all this blew up and he's been taking calls on his mobile. Most people commenting are against the closure, and are angry. Barclays is the only bank left in Hay, since the HSBC and Nat West closed down.
The Nat West send a van once a week. They've already changed the original arrangement of Thursday lunch time for an hour. At the moment it comes to the front of the Cinema Bookshop on a Friday, for three quarters of an hour.

Having done all that I could, I went shopping, and I did find some nice pairs of pumps.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Discovering Historical Hay

When Tim Pugh came round to tell me what had happened to the Le Redu twin town sign, he also gave me a new leaflet which should be appearing around town now. It's called Discovering Historical Hay, and costs 50p, which is to raise money for the Warren Club.
There's a good map in the middle, and it's really comprehensive, starting with the biggest and most important historic building in town, the Castle, and working round the Cheese Market, Butter Market, chapels, the sites of the old town gates, the oldest pub (the Three Tuns), the town clock, St Mary's Church, and the various historic wells and springs which used to provide the water supply for the town.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Update on the Sign

A couple of people dropped by today to tell me what had happened to the Le Redu twinning sign.
Apparently it was taken down because the wooden frame was rotten, but once that is repaired, the sign will be going up again. It probably won't be in the same place - the Castle were not very interested in having it back, it seems. But another possibility is the Buttermarket.
At the same time, wall space is being sought for a new slate sign celebrating Hay's twinning with Timbuktu, so they may go up together some time soon.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

The Disappearing Sign

For many years, there was a sign cemented into the wall beneath the castle, commemorating the twinning of Hay with Le Redu. This is a village in Belgium, in the Ardennes, and it became a Village du Livres in 1984. I don't think that many people, in either Hay or Le Redu, now remember the twinning. Certainly I don't think there have been any visits between the two book towns for many years, though Richard Booth did have a friend who lived in Le Redu. I met him in 1991.
And then, last week, I noticed that the sign had been taken away.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Goodbye Beer Revolution

Beer Revolution's closing night was on the last evening of the Festival, so I went down there after work to have a last half. There were lots of local people there to give them a good send off (Beer Revolution will still be trading online, though), and the sun was shining, so people were standing outside.
The beer they stock has always been interesting, and they had a very successful vegan menu for a while.

Meanwhile, in Backfold, Greenaway Books will be closing on 15th June, and George will be leaving for sunnier climes after 16 years there, and 15 years before that working for Richard Booth.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

On the Ocean with Barry Cunliffe

This was the talk I'd been most excited about when I got my Festival programme. Barry Cunliffe was a big name in archaeology when I was in college, and he's written several good books over the years.
We were in the Oxfam Moot tent, one of the biggest venues - and before we went in staff were taking some of the fixed panels out of the walls so there would be a breeze. At last the weather had turned hot and sunny.
This was a lecture, with slides, picking out some of the stories from the book, from the very earliest beginnings of seafaring in the Mediterranean. Recent research has pushed this date back to 130,000 years ago, after a field survey on Crete (I think) found hand axes datable to that period. Previously it was thought that nobody got to those islands before about 10,000 years ago.
One interesting snippet of information was that archaeologists can tell whether people got to an island and stayed there, or whether they went back and forth to the mainland, by the skeletons of mice. If the mice came with a human population which stayed on the island, then the mouse population would drift, genetically, from the mainland population. If there was constant travel between the two, new mice would constantly be arriving, stowed away in cargo, so the populations would remain the same.
At the end of the lecture, a chap stood up to ask a question in the audience and said that he had been involved in researching mice on islands, and gave Barry Cunliffe a bit of information that he hadn't previously known, about an island off the coast of Ireland. The mice there had similar DNA to the mice on mainland Ireland - but the fleas came from Southern Spain!
Another story, and the place Barry Cunliffe got his book title from, was of the voyages of Pytheas, a Greek explorer who had circumnavigated Britain and either went to Iceland or met people who had and wrote down their stories. The impetus for these voyages was to find a source of tin that the Greeks could access, as the Phoenicians had cut off their access to the source they had been using, in Spain.
And then there were the Viking journeys that led to the coast of Newfoundland. Columbus was really a late comer to the continent of America - even Bristol fishermen were ahead of him. Here we learned about latitude sailing, by which ships can travel in a straight line by measuring the distance of the sun above the horizon at noon, or of several stars at night, out of sight of land, instead of hugging the coasts.
And it's worth mentioning that all the maps in the book look unusual because north is not at the top. Barry Cunliffe said that the direction of sunset would be of more interest to an early sailor, so all the maps are oriented with west at the top.
He also spoke about Phoenicians, and later Portuguese, traders and explorers heading down the coast of Africa. There's an island at the mouth of a big river in Senegal, Port St. Louis, that may well have Phoenician archeology under the modern town, but no digs have ever been done there.
He also mentioned St Brendan the Navigator, who headed out to sea to put himself into the hands of his God - the exploration was of his own mind as much as the wonders that they came across in the journeys.
He also spoke about the delight of being an archaeologist - that a new dig could unearth new evidence that completely changed the story we thought we knew, such as the hand axes that changed the entire timeline of seafaring in the Mediterranean.
I was delighted at having the opportunity to listen to a really good archaeologist give a lecture - and that I recognised quite a bit of what he was saying.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Music and Poetry at the Drawing Room

My usual routine is to do my washing at the launderette fairly early on Friday afternoons, but what with one thing and another it was ten past six when I finally transferred my washing from the washer to the dryer. I knew that there was a free event on at the Drawing Room (which used to be Mayall's the Jewellers), and when I got there the shop was full, with standing room only at the back. In fact, I ended up sitting on the floor, almost underneath a three legged table with a jug of cow parsley on it.
At the front of the shop were fiddler Alan Cooper, cellist Di Esplin, and poet Simon Armitage. The musicians were adding background music to the poetry. However, they were quite conscious of the possibility that they might drown out his voice, so it tended to be a bit of improvised music with the poems slotted in between. They hadn't rehearsed, but they are so good at playing together it sounded fantastic anyway.
I think my favourite poems came from a time that Simon went on a 10 day silent retreat, with meditation for 11 hours a day, especially the one about the Male Ego, in which the men's side of the meditation hall was full of the sounds of coughing, farting and belching (as if to say "I'm here! Look at me!") while the women's side was silent apart from the odd sneeze every two or three days.
I also enjoyed the poem he finished on, looking for Christ at the Warren in Hay, and deciding that seeking was probably better than finding.
The event was Alan's idea, and the owner of the shop generously allowed them to use the space. I saw several local people there, including Chris the Bookbinder, who also produces Quirk poetry magazine.
As they were packing up at the end, Alan said that he was on his way to the Bean Box, in the garden by Hay Bridge, to play there for the rest of the evening. He said there would also be pizza.
I had to go and pick up my washing, and when I walked down past the Poetry Bookshop another poetry event was going on in there, with several poets reading their work.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Library of Wales - Welsh Writing in English

There seems to be a theme running through my Festival going this year - as the three speakers settled into their chairs at the Starlight Stage, one of them said: "I'm not Dai Smith - I'm afraid he's indisposed."
I was there because someone had advertised on the Hay Community Facebook page that they had spare tickets for the event. They'd won 4 but only two people wanted to go - so I was the third. I don't know if anyone was interested in the fourth ticket.
The Starlight Stage is one of the smaller stages at the Festival, and even then it wasn't full, which is a pity because it was a fascinating event. I'd never heard of the Library of Wales before, but they have been publishing since 2006, and now have a list of 50 books, all of them out of print or forgotten novels, memoirs, journalism or short story collections by Welsh writers in English.
One of the more recent authors was up on stage. Rachel Trezise is from the Rhondda and said that, when she started writing she thought she was the first writer to come from the Rhondda. In fact, there were several previous writers from the area, but she'd never been taught about them in school or university. Tomos Owen, who teaches Welsh literature, said that when he was in University there was a particular book that the tutor wanted to teach, but it had gone out of print, and this was just before the Library of Wales started and republished it. Later, though, she said that she was a bit embarrassed that her book had been published by Library of Wales, because she had been very young when she wrote it, and wished In and Out of the Goldfish Bowl had been forgotten.
The conversation ranged widely. Topics included Welsh authors having to write in a certain way in order to get published by London publishers. One author had actually won a Gollancz prize, but his book was then not published because it was considered to be too bleak! The view of the Valleys in How Green Was My Valley was considered by the speakers to be a saccharin version of Welsh experience, and they were pleased that there are now more opportunities for work to be published within Wales.
On the other hand, some authors have been criticised by local people for their depictions of Welsh working class life. The chap who was standing in for Dai Smith (I'm afraid I don't remember his name) said that he had worked on a film once about life in the Valleys in which one of the characters relieved himself on top of a car. When he went to talk to the Rhondda WI about the film, 240 women turned up to tell him that this was not the image of their area that they wanted to be publicised!
The books on the list are not just from the Valleys - they come from all over Wales, and over a span of about a hundred years. Tomos Owen said that some of the most interesting writing came from the Borders, because the writers were grappling with problems of identity, and how this came into sharp focus in the Border areas.
They also talked about the future of the list, and whether it should be widened to admit more contemporary writers. Rachel Trezise said she thought it shouldn't, because the purpose of the list was to bring back into publication writers who had been forgotten or were out of print. There was also a question of how far back in time the list should stretch - there had been an explosion of writing during the Industrial Revolution, but where had that writing come from? Who were the writers who influenced the later ones?
There are only 10 women writers on the list of 50, and there were hopes that more would be included in future. The list is very much Dai Smith's personal choice, and when questions were being asked at the end one woman said that there were plenty of good Welsh women writers if you took the trouble to look for them. However there are other Welsh publishers, like Hano, who publish women writers.
Another lady who got the mike commented with passion that she was sick of not being considered properly Welsh because she couldn't speak Welsh - having grown up at a time when speaking English was considered necessary to "get on in life", and Welsh was discouraged. So it was good to see Welsh writing in English being celebrated as being properly Welsh.
The final question couldn't be answered for lack of time, but she wanted to know if there were plans to publicise the Library of Wales outside Wales. I think the conversation carried on after the event finished.

I went straight to the Festival bookshop while the names they mentioned were fresh in my mind, to find the Library of Wales shelf. The books have black spines with a red bit at the bottom. Gwyn Thomas was much admired, as well as Dorothy Edwards, Lewis Jones, and many others. I came away with A Rope of Vines by Brenda Chamberlain, about her time on a Greek island. And while I was there, I picked up Mary Beard's Women and Power, and 101 Things You Need to Know about Suffragettes.