PENfro has been one of those literary festivals I’ve idolised for a while: what after all could constitute a more idyllic venue than a country mansion in a glorious fold of Pembrokeshire countryside? So to speak at PENfro – as I will be doing on Sunday September 9th – is a privilege indeed.
I’m going to be talking on Brutality and Bardism: or to put it more directly, the extreme circumstances that those who wished to create culture in medieval Wales had to endure.
A literary festival today is a beautiful thing, and writers and readers alike truly appreciate the efforts those who organise such festivals make. But more incredible still is that, contrary to popular opinion and despite the colossal odds stacked against, music and art and poetry was not only produced in Wales in the 11th and 12th centuries, but produced to such high standards that it often had no equal anywhere else in Europe. And this, despite the wars, and the dire poverty, and the remoteness and backwardness of the country at this time.
A feat indeed: and one I am going to be celebrating, touching on topics as diverse as the dangers of travel in medieval Wales, how Cistercian abbeys advanced Welsh culture, and how being a bard could be the making – and the breaking – of a man and, indeed, of a woman…
It should be great fun. And it should hopefully offer some insights into this turbulent yet culturally rich chapter in Welsh history – as well as a few into my own novel Song Castle, which of course deals with one of the world’s most famous examples of an attempt to preserve culture: the very first Eisteddfod, in 1176…
Please come along. I’d love to see you there!
Date: September 9th 2018
Place: PENfro Book Festival, Rhisygilwen Mansion, Cilgerran, Pembrokeshire, Wales SA432TW
Cost: £10 for a Sunday pass (which covers you for access to a whole range of talks as well as mine!)
More Info: PENfro Book Festival Website