Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus! To mark St David’s Day on 1st March we’ve put together a list of some of our favourite books set in or inspired by Cymru.

Have we missed your favourite? Let us know at get in touch with us on Twitter at @PicadorBooks.

 

The Mabinogion

The Mabinogion

Translated by Sioned Davies 

One of literature's greatest epics, the eleven medieval Welsh tales that make up The Mabinogion are some of the earliest prose literature of Britain.

These stories, compiled in the 12th–13th century from earlier oral traditions, interweave Celtic mythology and Arthurian romance . The myths in The Mabinogion offer drama, philosophy, romance, tragedy, fantasy and humour; refined through long development by skilled performers.  

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How Green Was My Valley

How Green Was My Valley

By Richard Llewellyn

Growing up in a mining community in rural South Wales, Huw Morgan is taught many harsh lessons - at the kitchen table, at Chapel and around the pit-head. Looking back on the hardships of his early life, where difficult days are faced with courage but the valleys swell with the sound of Welsh voices, it becomes clear that there is nowhere so green as the landscape of his own memory.

Richard Dafydd Vivian Llewellyn Lloyd, better known by his pen name Richard Llewellyn, claimed to have been born in St David's, Pembrokeshire; after his death he was discovered to have been born of Welsh parents in Middlesex.

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The Awakening

The Awakening

By Kate Roberts

Kate Roberts was the dominant figure of Welsh-language literature in the twentieth century.

The happy family life of Lora Ffennig is shattered when her husband abruptly and unexpectedly leaves her for a colleague. The world she has taken for granted is suddenly unfamiliar, and Lora must find a new compass to guide her and her children. Set in a tight-knit Welsh-speaking community at a time when separation, adultery and divorce carried huge social stigma, The Awakening is a novel full of insight into human character and changing social mores.

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Under milk Wood

Under Milk Wood

By Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas's classic radio play is an emotive and hilarious account of a spring day in the fictional Welsh seaside village of Llareggub.

We learn of the inhabitants' dreams and desires, their loves and regrets. It is a unique and touching depiction of a village that has 'fallen head over bells in love'. The First Voice narration reveals the ordinary world of daily happenings and events, while the Second Voice conveys the intimate, innermost thoughts of the fascinating folk of Llareggub.

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Resistance

Resistance

By Owen Sheers

Resistance opens in 1944, as the women of a small Welsh farming community wake one morning to find that their husbands have gone. Soon after that a German patrol arrives in their valley.

Poet and playwright, Owen Sheers’ debut novel is a beautifully imagined and powerfully moving story of love and loss.

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The Dig

The Dig

By Cynan Jones

Deep in rural Wales, a farmer is struggling through lambing season when he becomes aware that his land is being stalked by a badger-baiter who brings with him the stark threat of violence. Built of the interlocking fates of these two solitary men.

A story of isolation and loss, The Dig is a meditation on the casual violence of ordinary men from an author who has been compared to John Steinbeck and Cormac McCarthy.

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Submarine

Submarine

By Joe Dunthorne

Meet Oliver Tate, 15. Convinced that his father is depressed and his mother is having an affair with her capoeira teacher, ‘a hippy-looking twonk’. He embarks on a hilariously misguided campaign to bring the family back together.

Meanwhile, he is also trying to lose his virginity - before he turns sixteeen - to his pyromaniac girlfriend Jordana.

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Carrie's 
 War

Carrie's War

By Nina Bawden

It is the Second World War and Carrie and Nick are evacuated from London to a small town in Wales, where they are placed with strict Mr Evans and his timid mouse of a sister. Then one day Carrie does a terrible thing - the worst thing she ever did in her life.

Bawden used her own childhood experiences to write Carrie's War, in fact it is set in the mining valley in Wales where she lived as an evacuee in wartime.

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Poetry

In Parenthesis

In Parenthesis

By David Jones

In 1914 David Jones went to war with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, where he fought in the battles of the Somme and Ypres. His long poem 'In Parenthesis', described by T. S. Eliot as ‘a work of genius’, is a detailed and moving evocation of an ordinary soldier’s experience of the trenches and sees Jones creating a Celtic epic of ‘the war to end all wars’.

Jones was more profoundly influenced throughout his life by the landscape, language and myths of Wales. An extraordinary and multi-talented man, he occupies a unique place in twentieth-century British art, and is often called the greatest painter-poet since William Blake.

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Listen to Gillian Clarke reading 'Miracle On St David's Day'