John Sam Jones’ new memoir, The Journey is Home: Notes From a Life on the Edge came out this month.
As John is also the Author of the Month this May, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate him and his work!
In The Journey is Home, John Sam Jones writes of a life lived on the edge. It is a story of journeys and realisation, of acceptance and joy. From a boyhood on the coast of Wales to a traumatic period studying at Aberystwyth, to a scholarship at Berkley in California as the AIDS epidemic began to take hold, before returning to Liverpool and north Wales to work in community engagement and sexual health. The book maps his journey of becoming a writer and chronicler of his experiences with award-winning books, and the desire to become a campaigner for LGBT rights in Wales, as well as the adventure of running a guest house with his husband in Barmouth, where he eventually became Mayor. Three weeks after the European Referendum they put the business on the market and moved to Germany. John is still on that journey.
Y Daith Ydi Adra
If you would prefer to read the memoir in Welsh, we have got you covered! Sian Northey translated The Journey is Home, or Y Daith Ydi Adra for us, and both the English and Welsh versions have been published simultaneously, so you can have a read of the fantastic memoir in Welsh or English.
Check out the Welsh summary of the memoir below.
Cawn ei hanes o’i blentyndod yn Bermo i’r cyfnod cythryblus pan oedd yn fyfyriwr israddedig yn Aberystwyth, o ysgoloriaeth a’i galluogodd i fynd i Berkeley yn San Francisco ar yr adeg pan oedd AIDS yn lledaenu ar ras, cyn dychwelyd i Lerpwl ac i ogledd Cymru i weithio fel caplan ac yna ym maes gwaith cymdeithasol ac iechyd rhyw. Mae’n daith a’i harweiniodd i fod yn awdur a ddefnyddiodd ei brofiadau i greu ffuglen a enillodd wobrau, ac a’i hysgogodd i ddod yn ymgyrchydd, anfoddog braidd, dros hawliau LGBT yng Nghymru. Cawn glywed am yr antur o gadw Gwely a Brecwast yn Bermo, gyda’i ŵr, academydd Almaenig, eu priodas ar ôl partneriaeth hir, a’i gyfnod fel Maer Bermo.
Ddyddiau’n unig ar ôl y Refferendwm ar Ewrop penderfynodd y ddau werthu’r busnes a symud i’r Almaen. Mae taith John Sam yn parhau.
The book is available to buy here if you'd like to read it in Welsh.
There will also be an interview with The Journey is Home translator, Sian Northey, going up on Nation.Cymru all about the translated book soon, so keep your eyes peeled on the website to have a read!
Kiss and Tell
A new selection John Sam Jones' resonant short stories will be published in September. The book, Kiss and Tell, is a compendium of Jones' greatest short stories, from Fishboys of Vernazza and Welsh Boys Too, all collated into one volume. There will also be a foreword by David Llewellyn in the upcoming title.
Praise for John's short stories:
On Welsh Boys Too
“John Sam Jones’s charming, thoughtful collection of Welsh stories, Welsh Boys Too, is a joy to read.” Sebastian Beaumont, Gay Times
On Fishboys of Vernazza
“This slim, stylish collection is sheer joy.”
Peter Burton, Gay Times
“These stories are sometimes poignant, often witty and always perceptive. As he grows older, John Sam Jones is becoming raunchier.” John Davies, author of The Penguin History of Wales
We are also pleased to announce that we have recorded the audiobook version of The Journey is Home, which will be coming soon. We are incredibly excited to be able to record and release the book ourselves.
Keep an eye on our social media to find out more about when, and where, you can access the audiobook!
The Parthian Podcast
As you may know, we recently began a new journey of our own: The Parthian Podcast. The first episode of the series, Queer Welsh Voices, came out on April 1st, and we were fortunate to have John Sam Jones be one of the esteemed guests on this series.
You can check out The Parthian Podcast on all major streaming services including Spotify, and if you’d like to hear John Sam Jones in interview, have a listen to episode two.There are some absolutely wonderful bits of advice, and the interview provides an insight into the new memoir.
We have teamed up with Paned o Gê to bring you a book launch of The Journey is Home this May!
On the 25th of May at 6pm, the bookstore will host an online launch event for the book, which we highly anticipate! You can get your tickets for the event here to watch the event with John Sam Jones and Dr. Surabhi Kandaswamy, a researcher at Cardiff University.
There will also be a Welsh launch event for the memoir with Gwyn Siôn Ifan and the bookshop Awen Meirion on 21st May, to celebrate the simultaneous release of the Welsh translation by Sian Northey. You can sign up to this one here.
To hear more about John Sam Jones' books, radio interviews and appearances, as well as all our other bookish news, keep an eye on the Parthian social media!