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A signed colour plate hardback edition of Dannie Abse’s Goodbye, Twentieth Century is a part of twenty-five limited sets of the whole series of the Library of Wales, available from Parthian this December. Dannie signed the colour plate of his portrait by Josef Herman, which is in the National Museum of Wales collection, on publication in 2012.

Dannie's rich mixture of Welsh and Jewish backgrounds, and his dual occupations of doctor and author, have led to what is widely regarded as one of the most readable, humorous and poignant autobiographies available today. Goodbye, Twentieth Century incorporates his acclaimed first volume of autobiography, A Poet in the Family, and in this new edition from the Library of Wales brings his life up to the present day and the outset of a new century. It includes a moving epilogue that speaks of his recent years which brought tragedy and dramatic change to his life.

Cynan Jones, author of Betty Trask Award-winning The Long Dry (Parthian, 2006) and Everything I Found on the Beach (Parthian, 2011), was recently asked by The Guardian to choose his top 10 books which best evince the "mythic power of place" that is to be found in the rolling hills, solitary farm communities and weathered mountain crags of rural Wales.



Wales’s physical landscape changes dramatically region by region. The Beacons differ from Snowdonia differ from the Cambrian Mountains differ from the Preselis. There are isolated hill farms, wealthy border farms, small patchwork farms – all within relatively close distance. But the individuality of each place and the characters who live in them is strong. Landscape, then, is a strong if not main protagonist in the books below. But there’s a thing that seems to seep time and again into those landscapes: myth. Myth that sticks in the treads of boots and gets walked all through these stories…

For BBC Economics Editor Robert Peston, In the Chair by Andrew Green is ‘An excellent guide for those who perform that most under-rated and important of roles; chairing a group' and The Bay concurs, praising the fact that the book 'is concise and digestible without sacrificing any relevant and useful information.' 
 
Also reviewed recently in The Welsh Agenda, Issue 53, was Leighton Andrew's Ministering to Education by Rajvi Glasbrook Griffiths.
 
He writes that 'Candour is really the strength of the book, particularly so in the clarity with which Andrews describes the workings of ministerial duties and life.' Additionally: 
 
'The meetings; the people; the internal power jostling; the ‘silo mentality’ blocking so much inter-departmental communication; lack of corporate memory; dubious degrees of accountability; initiative compounding initiative within a culture of cosy consensus in, too often, a ‘quango mentality culture of sweetheart deals with local authorities’: all pitfalls described with vim, humour and self-deprecation.'
 
Both books are available now. 
 
In the Chair can be found Read more
Carly Holmes' debut novel The Scrapbook
99p on Kindle until 2nd December 2014
 
 
Three women, three generations: one dark secret...
 
The Scrapbook captures darkly dangerous grandmother Ivy, alcoholic mother Iris and daughter Fern, emotionally detached but striving to get more from life, at the moment Fern is tasked with tracking down her errant father Lawrence. Lawrence is the absent heart of the novel, the voiceless centre that the three women circle. He is the love of Iris’ life and the bane of Ivy’s. In the process of finding Lawrence, or at least finding out what happened to him, Fern must confront her own chosen template for living and decide whether she wants to continue with it and pass it on in her turn to the next generation.
 
The Scrapbook meditates on the unreliability of memory. It’s about the tangled, often dysfunctional, bonds of family; about soothing yourself with fairytales instead of challenging yourself to live with reality. 
 
"...an impressive debut novel from an extremely talented writer."  – Adrian Masters, Wales Arts Review
 
"[A]n extremely readable debut.