In this clear and absorbing memoir John Sam Jones writes of a life lived on the edge. It is 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. A 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. The adventure of running a guest house in Barmouth where he eventually became Mayor with his husband, a German academic, who he had married after a long partnership. Three weeks after the European Referendum they put the business on the market and moved to Germany. John is still on that journey.
Praise for John Sam Jones:
Winner of the Stonewall Award
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
“Hugely enjoyable” The Big Issue
“A bold adventurous collection.” The Western Mail
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
“Clever, poignant and perceptive...” The Daily Post
On Crawling Through Thorns:
“A challenging and compulsive read – often harrowing but ultimately uplifting.” Suzy Ceulan-Hughes, GWALES.com
After working in ministry, education and public health for more than thirty years, John Sam Jones lives in semi-retirement with his husband and two Welsh Collies in a small German village a stone’s throw from the Dutch border. John realised he was gay as a teenager at the beginning of the 1970s and quickly came to understand that his life would be lived always on the edge – between truth and lies, rejection and ridicule, self doubt and a search for acceptance. He ultimately chose to negotiate a route through life where honesty and integrity, in an often toxically homophobic society, were not always appreciated. In 2001 he became the first co-chair of the LGB Forum Cymru (which was later renamed Stonewall Cymru), set up to advise the Welsh Government on LGB issues.
He studied creative writing at Chester. His collection of short stories – Welsh Boys Too – was an Honour Book winner in the American Library Association Stonewall Book Awards. His second collection, Fishboys of Vernazza, was short-listed for Wales Book of the Year and was followed by the novels With Angels and Furies & Crawling Through Thorns.