The second series of Pobol y Rhondda, presented by Siôn Tomos Owen starts this Thursday 23 March at 21:30 on S4C exploring the Rhondda Valley and its people. The series will feature the book launch of Cawl – Siôn Tomos Owen's anthology of short stories, poems and essays.
‘Siôn Tomos Owen’s book couldn’t come at a more opportune time as Wales and the valleys especially, face the future. Owen’s work speaks for the present with magnificent confidence; witty, elegant, profound. This book should be read widely as it brings us the finest blend of what literature can do to enrich the mind and tug at the heart with the intermingling of prose and poetry. It is a delight to read but also an urgent book as it challenges simplistic assumptions of what it means to belong. The need for roots is present here but uprootedness is never more than a heart beat away from y filltir sgwâr, the "square mile". Owen is a writer of breadth and depth. He is a writer of extraordinary gifts who will soar to great heights. It is more than a book — it is a revelation.’ – Menna Elfyn
‘Good, honest, mean-minded, violent, foul-mouthed stuff, just what a good cartoon should be. Siôn Tomos Owen is a down ‘n’ dirty Welsh Robert Crumb, as exhilarating and slightly terrifying as a Saturday night in the rougher parts of Swansea (and if you can find the less rough parts, good luck to you!).’ – Martin Rowson
‘An electrifying concoction, of poetry, essays, cartoons and short fiction that veers from Charlie Brooker-esque black comedy to warm tributes to family members. Sewn together these fragments form a tapestry that tells the whole gut-wrenching story of the Rhondda, the pride of the past to the uncertainty of the future, shot full of seething anger for the architects of the community’s downfall but scorching with love for the resilience of the trodden upon. From a place where hope is hard to come by, emerges Sion, himself an intrepid cawl of talent and passion, frustration and hunger, of devotion and revulsion, his voice crucial.’ – Rachel Trezise
Consisting of short stories, poems, essays and cartoons and comics, Cawlis an anthology of one multi-prize winning, funny, angry young man's creative endeavors and social and political frustrations. Traditionally Cawl is a mix of everything thrown into one stew pot and left to simmer, boil over and be savoured. Here Siôn Tomos Owen invites the reader to choose what to taste next. The meat of the essays, the parsnip of poetry, the spud of satire or the OXO cube of comedy.
Ranging in genre from gritty realism, macabre, sci-fi and comic writing, his is a collection that can be interpreted as an anthology of more than one writer but written by one author. The poems range from short rhyming poems to long free form but consist mainly of valleys-based Cwm on 'enpoetry including a centre-piece reinterpretation of Rhydwen Williams' epic 'In praise of a valley' from his Rhondda Poems.
The cartoons are a mix of comic strip style humour and satirical cartoons, heavily influenced by Martin Rowson, Art Spiegelman and Gren.
The essays blend humour and frustrated social commentary on Wales and particularly the political situation in the valleys, and are entrenched in Labour idealism while hoping for change that can only come from the people themselves.
Siôn Tomos Owen was born and raised first language Welsh in the Rhondda Valley. After a BA in Creative Writing and Media at Trinity College Camarthen, Siôn won the Tudor Bevan Bursary Award in 2007, was runner up in the Terry Hetherington Young Writers Competition in 2014 and 2013 for short fiction, won the Young Writer's Prize in the Planet Essay Competition 2013 and was specially commended in the Welsh Poetry Competition 2014. His writing has been published in a number of magazines and anthologies including Ten of the Best, Square, Nu, Nu2, Planet, Red Poets and Cheval and he's performed many events including the Hay Literature Festival 2009-2014 and a very late night Poetry Slam on BBC Radio 5live. He is the presenter of S4C's Pobol y Rhondda.