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João Morais

Things that Make the Heart Beat Faster

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‘João Morais’s “Yes Kung Fu” is a great slice of comic Cardiff urban realism, as if written by a Welsh Irvine Welsh’

Independent on Sunday

‘This is the side of Cardiff that needs to express itself, behind and beyond the glitz in the Bay and the office parties and the executive junkets to the Principality Stadium; this is the capital in its seething, sordid, seamy glory, exhilarating and intoxicating and hilarious and sad all at once. God, João Morais can write.’

– Niall Griffiths

‘The stories in Things that Make the Heart Beat Faster are love letters to a Cardiff few people from outside the city will ever really know, except perhaps through Morais’ fierce eye and incisive ear for detail. To read him is to feel you’ve been granted access to a kaleidoscopic riot of a place where you wouldn’t ordinarily be allowed.’

– Rachel Trezise

‘A wise, funny and fizzing-with-life depiction of Cardiff, its street life, nightlife, and home life. Morais tells us stories of compassion, self-destruction, and awakening, all brilliantly captured in the distinctive voice of the Welsh capital and its multi-cultural people.’

– Holly Müller


João Morais’s contemporary debut collection of stories beats paths through a capital city from street food markets and art galleries to the park and the pub. From illegal raves to prison visits, Morais turns his unflinching beam on the quickened pulse of urban living: spliffs, fights, and hearts spark as relationships and power struggles are tested. Often comic, sometimes tragic, these stories detail the moments in their characters’ lives when everything changes and their hearts beat faster.


About the author

João Morais is from Cardiff. He has a Portuguese name as his father’s side of the family hail from the Cabo Verde. He holds a Ph.D. from Cardiff University. He has been shortlisted for the Rhys Davies Short Story Competition, the Percy French Prize for Comic Verse, and the All Wales Comic Verse Award. He was longlisted in the New Welsh Writing Awards 2017: Americymru Prize for the Novella and is a previous winner of the Terry Hetherington Prize for Young Writers. He has also had many short stories, reviews, and poems published in New Welsh Review and Wales Arts Review. @_JoaoMorais