Seren News, April 2017
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The April newsletter celebrates our legendary author of the month and is packed full of prizes, events and new books. Read on for the Poem of the Month and a giveaway...

Legend of the Month: Ruth Bidgood

Legend of the Month Ruth Bidgood

Each month we are shining the spotlight on one fantastic Seren author in honour of Wales’ Year of Legends. Our selection for April is the poet Ruth Bidgood.

Ruth Bidgood turns 95 this year, and her poetry career spans over five decades. She was born in Blaendulais, near Neath, educated at Oxford, and worked as a coder in Alexandria, Egypt in World War Two. She has lived in mid-Wales since the mid-sixties.

She has published fourteen books of poetry, including The Fluent Moment (Seren, 1996), Singing to Wolves (Seren, 2000), and her New and Selected Poems (Seren, 2004). Her twelfth collection, Time Being (Seren, 2009), won the Roland Mathias Prize and was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Her most recent collection is Land Music (Cinnamon, 2016). As well as poetry, she has written a prose book about Wales, Parishes of the Buzzard (Goldleaf, 2000), and published many articles in country historical journals.

Matthew Jarvis writes of Bidgood’s achievement: ‘The heart of Ruth Bidgood’s poetry is her varied and intertwined rendition of the mid-Wales area that she has made her home… Artistically, what she has achieved in such material is nothing less than a mid Wales epic.’

Find Ruth Bidgood’s poetry on the Year of Legends page

Ritual, 1969 longlisted for Edge Hill Prize

Ritual, 1969 Jo Mazelis Edge Hill

The longlist for the Edge Hill Prize 2017 has just been announced, with Jo Mazelis’ gothic and uncanny short story collection, Ritual, 1969, featuring alongside forty other titles from both new and established writers, such as Mark Haddon (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), Susan Hill (The Woman in Black, The Mist in the Mirror and I’m the King of the Castle) and Helen Oyeyemi (Mr Fox and Boy, Snow, Bird).

The shortlist will be announced by 30th June with awards to be presented at a special event as part of Edinburgh International Book Festival in August.

Buy your copy of Ritual, 1969: £8.99
Claim 20% off as a Book Club member


Brood – the new, illustrated poetry pamphlet from prize-winning Welsh poet Rhian Edwards

Brood Rhian Edwards
Winner of three categories in the Wales Book of the Year Awards 2013 for her debut poetry collection, Clueless Dogs, Bridgend-born and based Edwards is known for her dazzling performance style and her vivid, often acutely personal poems.
The centre of this new pamphlet is a ten-part poem, ‘Pied Margot’, based on the rhyme about magpies, ‘One for Sorrow, Two for Joy…’. Birds are at all times present: hovering, chattering, casting their shadows, they are both tricksters and familiars in these hypnotic, spell-like poems. Welsh artist Paul Edwards has provided some beautiful charcoal drawings of magpies inspired by this atmospheric sequence, which feature throughout the pamphlet.

Brood is available from the Seren website: £6.00
20% off when you join our free Book Club


Read our new Short Story of the Month

Hollie McNish Ted Hughes Award
April’s Short Story of the Month is Anna Lewis’ unsettling tale, ‘The Birthday Guest’:

Pushed unwillingly back into his thoughts, a man remembers a marginal figure from his school years – the ‘new boy’, odd and overweight – and his strange, uncomfortable birthday party, a party to which no-one else was invited.

Read ‘The Birthday Guest’ for free on the Seren website


April book giveaway

Heat Signature Siobhán Campbell giveaway
This month we are giving away a copy of Siobhán Campbell’s new poetry collection, Heat Signature.

A blend of dark comedy, tragedy and politics, Heat Signature contains complex, thoughtful and profoundly entertaining poetry, written in Siobhán Campbell’s characteristically spikey voice.

We will pick a winner at random from all our email subscribers on 1st May. As you already receive our monthly emails, you are already in the running to win!

Why not give your friends a chance to win too, by recommending that they sign up to our newsletter before the end of the month using this link?

Congratulations to last month’s winner, William Lenihan, who won a copy of Maggie Harris’ short story collection, Writing on Water.
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This month’s recommended reads

Claim 30% off these titles: use discount code NEWS at checkout (offer ends 01/05/17)
The Way the Crocodile Taught Me Katrina Naomi
The Way the Crocodile Taught Me
Katrina Naomi

RRP: £9.99
Discount price: £6.99

‘This is a stunning collection’
Write Out Loud

 With warmth, flair and a certain ferocious wit, Naomi tears into her subject matter: a childhood fraught with family dislocation, upsets and even occasional violence. This is a vibrant, heartfelt and tragi-comic collection of poetry through which we see grace, humour and redemption triumph over hardship.
Writing on Water Maggie Harris
Writing on Water
Maggie Harris

RRP: £8.99
Discount price: £6.29

‘...bitter-sweet, beautifully written tales’
– Janet Montefiore

Maggie Harris’ stories of loving, losing and belonging have a Caribbean influence; the voices in these tales, told by migrants, mothers, children, whisper of far-off lands, as well as close-by communities. These are stories of migration and survival, of children and families brought together or torn apart. Writing on Water was longlisted in the Saboteur Awards 2017.

Edging the Estuary Peter Finch
Edging the Estuary
Peter Finch

RRP: £9.99
Discount price: £6.99

‘An imaginative and informative book’
Wales Arts Review

In the Middle Ages, the port of Cardiff stretched from Chepstow to Gower. Peter Finch, archetypal Cardiffian, sets out to explore his heritage, walking the Welsh and English sides of the Severn Estuary, reclaiming personal memories and discovering the lives of others.
Finch’s epic walk will take you along some of the most beautiful coastline in Britain.


A taster of some of the readings and author events coming up this month. Visit our events page to find out what’s happening near you.
Writing Motherhood Northern launch
Thursday 6 April – Northern Launch of the Writing Motherhood Anthology

The launch of a much-needed book, the Writing Motherhood anthology, which comprises poems, essays, and interviews by 85 female writers on the tensions and bounties inherent in being both a mother and a writer.

The launch features readings by contributors Pippa Little, Jane Burn, Nuala Ellwood, Janette Ayachi, Catherine Ayres, and others, and is free to attend – children and babies very welcome!

Let us know you’re attending on the Facebook event page


First Thursday
Thursday 6 April – First Thursday at Chapter, Cardiff, with Mulfran’s Jenny Lewis and Adnan Al-Sayegh

Join us for First Thursday, our monthly celebration of new poetry and fiction at Chapter, Cardiff.

April’s special guests are Jenny Lewis and Adnan Al-Sayegh who will be reading in English and Arabic from their award-winning ‘Writing Mesopotamia’ series, including extracts from Jenny’s re-imagining of the Epic of Gilgamesh and Adnan’s ‘profound and witty’ epigrams from his new pamphlet, Ten Poems, illustrated by Kate Hazell. Readings will be followed by the Open Mic.

Entry: £2.50 on the door, redeemable against purchase of a book

The Glass Aisle Paul Henry Brian Briggs
Sunday 9 April – Paul Henry and Brian Briggs’ The Glass Aisle Live at The Laugharne Weekend

The Glass Aisle is a unique collaboration between acclaimed poet Paul Henry and singer-songwriter Brian Briggs, frontman of the band Stornoway which is touring festivals and venues throughout 2017. The Glass Aisle will be performed as part of a broader event featuring Henry’s poetry from his acclaimed Seren collections Boy Running and The Brittle Sea .
Tickets: £13.20 + delivery fee. For more information visit the festival website:
or book tickets for this event


Seren authors at the Llandeilo Lit Fest

Seren at Llandeilo
The 2017 Llandeilo Lit Fest has a packed four-day programme of literary events running from Thursday 27 to Sunday 30 April, featuring several of our authors.

Steve Adams will be reading from his book Murder at the Star, which examines an unsolved murder in Garnant, a Welsh mining village near Ammanford, Carmarthenshire. Quilting authority Jen Jones will present an exhibition of some traditional quilts from her extensive collection, and talk about the new expanded edition of Welsh Quilts. There will be an illustrated talk from Phil Cope about Wales’ holy wells, and Jo Mazelis will give a moonlight reading of her award-winning poetry in the atmospheric Horeb Chapel.

See the full programme on the Llandeilo Lit Fest website.


Poem of the Month

Ruth Bidgood New and Selected Poems
Our April poem is taken from Legend of the Month Ruth Bidgood’s  New and Selected Poems.

Ruth Bidgood’s New and Selected Poems (2004) features work from her five early collections, starting with The Given Time (1972) through Kindred (1986), along with selections from The Fluent Moment (1996) and Singing to Wolves (2000). Our featured poem, ‘Legacy’, can be found in the last section, of poems new to this collection.

Bidgood’s ostensible subjects are the storied landscape and history of her region of mid-Wales, the hills and valleys of Powys and Breconshire, but her themes frequently have a wider reach, a spiritual depth that is often darkly suggestive and mysterious.


Buy your copy of New and Selected Poems now:

Join our free, no-purchase-necessary Book Club for 20% off every time you shop with us


Seren bids a fond farewell to Fiction Editor Penny Thomas

Penny Thomas

After 11 years at Seren, Penny Thomas is leaving to work full time in her other role as the Publisher of Firefly Press.
With her keen eye for quality fiction, Penny has been behind many prize-winning Seren books, such as Francesca Rhydderch’s The Rice Paper Diaries, Jo Mazelis’ Significance and Graham Mort’s Touch.
Penny will be sorely missed by the Seren team, and by the many fantastic authors whose books she has championed; we wish her every possible success for the future.


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