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Wales Arts Review have suggested that the book The Withered Root, written by Rhys Davies, might be the greatest Welsh novel. The story narrates the downfall of Reuben Daneils and his people from the South Wales industrial valley, involving interesting elements of passions that lead to human sexuality which chapel culture then represses. The troubled lives of the characters take the reader to analyse the point of view of different generations, finally confronting the conflict between the body and the spirit.

The Withered Root is a novel that captures, in rarefied prose, a quintessential element of Welshness. That it is a strand of Welsh life largely forgotten by the vast majority of the public makes it all the more important as a historical document. Through fiction we remember.

“It is therefore, I think, not a Great Welsh Novel, but simply a great novel that happens to be Welsh; we should be grateful that it, and he, was so.”
-Dylan Moore, Wales Arts Review

A critically-acclaimed short story collection of alienation and the high-life of ex-pats in Dubai, written by Welsh journalist Craig Hawes, has recently been banned in the UAE, the very place it is set, joining a forbidden list that includes Robin Moore’s 1977 sex-orgy blockbuster Dubai.

While many more liberal European texts that do not necessarily ‘adhere to the religious and moral values of UAE’ such as Fifty Shades of Grey are widely available in Dubai (even if the sequels were not), all books available in the UAE have to go through the censors first. Yet rather than public out-rage and book burnings, the titles that upset are silently censored out of existence in the bookshops of Dubai and removed from sale.


Welcome to a friendly, informal and interesting festival that everyone from the casual to the most passionate reader can enjoy... Win a free Sunday pass in our competition below.

What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun…
Fancy reading something Slovakian this autumn? The nights may be drawing in but, before you decide which books to hibernate with, why not join us for a pop-up international literary festival in Cardiff this October and discover new playwrights, novelists, works in translation and more? Will you find your new favourite drama king or queen or meet new local and global talents?

Novelist Dan Tyte is offering you two dates for your diary this month, one the night after the first. Does that makes him keen or you desperate? We'll soon find out. Here they are in order of appearance...


Date 1: Making Hay, Wednesday 27th August, Digital event: Live Hay Festival Blog interview with Dan Tyte at Google Hangouts at 7pm.  Play it safe with a digital first date.