Thursday, June 17, 2010

Aled Lewis Evans and the Launch of Driftwood

Last night I went to Wrexham library for Aled Lewis Evans's launch of Driftwood, his first collection of short stories and monologues in English. Normally Aled writes in Welsh, and even though I don't understand much I love to hear him reading his work. But last night I heard, for the first time, his stories translated into English. These turned out to be affectionate character studies of the people around him. Some of them were funny, and several had a poignancy which I think could only be Welsh. There was a large audience; clearly many people are hugely fond of Aled, and looking at this picture it is easy to see why.

Aled is a member of Chester Poets, but I've also come across him at various events in Wrexham Library. Wrexham Library, according to the librarian who introduced him, is one of his favourite haunts, particularly the cafe, and he has written a novel in Welsh called Y Caffi, which is based on characters in a cafe (which I suspect may be inspired by some of the people he has met in Wrexham). Driftwood contains a dramatic adaptation from that novel at the end, and also a short story involving one of the characters. Aled read it out last night: a subtle story of a love affair that never really started, and I liked it for everything it didn't say.

Driftwood is published by Gwasg y Bwthyn and I've admired the cover ever since I saw it on the invitation a few weeks ago. Apparently it is a photograph of a piece of driftwood from a beach of that name on the Pacific coast of America.

At the end we were able to look around the newly refurbished library (which makes a change these days because most of the news in England is of libraries shutting). It is an impressive complex of rooms - all brightly lit and inviting.


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