Image: Lea Sautin, "Forest." Woodcut. Courtesy of Lea Sautin.
This month we present writing from Wales. From nineteenth-century religious fervor to twenty-first century dystopia, in lush rural villages and desolate urban streetscapes, the fiction here reflects a national literature incorporating diversity into a fight for survival. Start with Casi Dylan’s insightful introduction to this little-known literary landscape, then turn to these stellar examples. Welsh Book of the Year winner Manon Steffan Ros portrays a mother and son writing their lives in a postapocalyptic Wales. Llŷr Gwyn Lewis’s epistolary tale reveals a Baptist missionary who travels to Japan only to find herself converting to a new way of life. Caryl Lewis depicts a household besieged by multiple intruders, while Fflur Dafydd observes a resentful lackey scheming in his supervisor's absence. And Llwyd Owen conjures a grim future in which the Welsh language itself is a crime. We thank our guest editors, Alexandra Büchler, Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones, and Cari Lake, and the Wales Literature Exchange. Also this month, we present contemporary Chinese religious poetry.
Reimagined Communities: An Introduction to Welsh Writing
In a world reimagining its cultural and political axes, Welsh-language literature gives voice to an experience more necessary and valuable now than ever.
Dolores Morgan’s Letters from the Far East
I have become Japanese and I am no longer a Welshwoman.
The Blue Book of Nebo
It happened so quickly. The End.
Yes, there was a shadow there.
The Library Suicides
Dan believed it had all started going wrong when they took away his keys.
2026: In the Beginning
Food banks are one of the country’s main industries now; having replaced actual banks, who fled the island like rats from a sinking ship.
Reviewed by Frances Riddle and Mariano Vespa
With The Wind That Lays Waste, Almada may have invented an entirely new literary genre, something that could be called Southern Cone Gothic.