Our Best Articles of 2019

Our Best Articles of 2019

Here is a small selection of some of the best articles we have published in 2019.

Sex Education: Accidental Elegy for Post-Industrial Wales

Gareth Leaman investigates how Netflix’s new teen drama, Sex Education, filmed primarily in Caerleon, can be used as a metaphor for ‘official Welsh culture’.

The Library of Wales at 50

Series editor of The Library of Wales series, professor Dai Smith, looks over the achievements and ambitions of the project as it hits its fiftieth title.

Renegade Wales

Renegade Wales is a new anthology of Welsh short stories edited by Wales Arts Review’s Gary Raymond exclusively for Indian publisher Bee Books in Kolkata. It has formed part of the legacy of the 2017 India-UK Year of Culture projects, and has formed part of the 2019 #WalesinKolkata project. Here we publish the introduction to that collection.

Great Welsh Albums: Shaky by Shakin’ Stevens

Goldie Lookin’ Chain’s Gray Taylor looks at the 1981 number one album from the biggest selling British singles artist of the 1980s. That’s right, it’s Shaky by Shakin’ Stevens.

Crime Writing | The Allure of the Brecon Beacons

Sunday Times best-selling crime writer Amanda Robson on how her creativity is linked to her beloved Brecon Beacons.

Will Humans Survive the Century?

Caragh Medlicott explores the theories and implications of a recent episode of BBC Radio 4’s Analysis, “Will Humans Survive the Century?”

Motherhood, Mayhem and Magic

Rufus Mufasa is just about to release the follow up album to her award-winning debut Fur Coats From the Lion’s Den (2017). Here she writes about the power she draws from motherhood for her music.

Emyr Humphreys: Where Are the National Celebrations?

In 2014, Wales set a new standard for cultural celebration with an ambitious, co-ordinated, cash-rich year of events and projects that reached all the way to New York for the hundred year anniversary of the birth of Dylan Thomas. In 2016, a similar effort was made for the centenary year of Roald Dahl. In 2019, however, the opportunity to celebrate the life and work of perhaps Wales’ most gifted and admired novelist, while he’s still alive, at 100, has been all but passed by. Gary Raymond asks, where are the national celebrations of Emyr Humphreys?

Ramadan in Wales

As Ramadan begins, Delyth Jewell AC/AM writes on the history of Islam in Wales, and asks for more to be done to commemorate the contributions of Muslim communities to Welsh culture.

Rap, Poetry, and Activism

Poet Mab Jones offers a personal reflection on the new album of activist spoken word, Imam Sis We See You, which was recently created by a collection of Welsh artists in an act of solidarity with the Kurdish hunger strikes.

Prince of Wales Bridge: The Symbolism of  Sign

The controversy in 2018 surrounding the renaming of the second Severn crossing to “The Prince of Wales Bridge” had died down until recently a new sign on the structure was erected. Gary Raymond asks if that sign might not become a powerful symbol for the Welsh independence movement.

The Ancient Art of Storytelling at Felin Ufach

James H.F. Lloyd explores the magical world and unexpected delights of traditional storytelling at the Felin Uchaf retreat in north Wales, and talks to Daniel Morden, one of Wales’s most renowned exponents of the art form.

John Cale and the End fo the Velvet Underground

Max Ashworth charts the final flings of the Swansea’s greatest son and the band that launched a thousand ships – settle in the for fascinating story of John Cale and the Velvet Underground.

The End of Free Movement and the Arts

As more reports of arts festivals being hindered by Brexit, Hal Fish explores the most likely impact that the end of Free Movement will have on the arts in the UK.

How I Wrote… Lovecraft (Not the Sex Shop in Cardiff)

Carys Eleri describes the daunting but hilarious task of creating a Welsh-language adaptation of her science-comedy-musical Lovecraft (Not the Sex Shop in Cardiff) – including the song Tit Montage – and rehearsing both versions ahead of her Wales-wide tour this Autumn.

Borderlands: Nationalism and the Poetic Imagination

Writing in response to a recent collaborative project with musician Mark Daman Thomas exploring the borderlands of Y Mers (the Welsh Marches), poet Sophie McKeand reflects on nationalism, borders, Cymraeg, environmentalism, migration and the poetic imagination.

On Bear Ridge: A New Dawn for Welsh Theatre?

Gary Raymond found little to write home about in National Theatre Wales’s On Bear Ridge, but it cannot be denied the buzz around it in some quarters is telling of a wider political movement.

British Winters: A Community Feature Film Success Story

A community-made feature film from North Wales has just landed on Amazon Video. Steve Swindon, CEO of community arts charity TAPE, shares the inspiring story behind the movie and the impact it has had since its release.

Still We Rise: The History of Welsh Women’s Aid

To mark the announcement that Welsh Women’s Aid is to be Wales Arts Review’s official charity of 2019-20, Gwendolyn Sterk of Welsh Women’s Aid reflects on forty years of the organisation in Wales, how it has grown, what it has achieved, where it’s headed, and looks at the commemorative project that marked the anniversary, Forty Voices, Forty Years.

In Defence of… Cassette Tapes

Hayley Long offers an impassioned defence of cassette tapes in the latest in our series of essays on some of modern culture’s most maligned items.

Writers’ Rooms | Tristan Hughes

In the latest of our series taking a peek into the creative spaces of Wales’s leading authors, award-winning writer Tristan Hughes shows us his cabin in the woods.

Writing for Children: Moonbeam and Sunbeam

Molly Holborn leads us on a journey through the writing of her bestselling children’s book, Moonbeam’s Arctic Adventure.