High up on the summit of the Mynydd Bach, where there are fantastic views across Cardigan Bay and the Cambrian Mountains, there is a memorial to a group of poets and authors from the area who had been successful at national level in Eisteddfodau. Another well known and successful group of poets, 'Bois y Cilie' (after the family farm, Y Cilie, near Llangrannog) had strong links with both land and sea, and drew inspiration from their love of their environment and community for their work.
Poets and Writers
Several members of the 'Bois y Cilie' group were successful at Eisteddfodau, including Dic Jones, who became Archdruid of the Gorsedd of Bards. He quipped that farming was his bread and butter, and poetry the jam. Follow a poetry trail round the family farm, Yr Hendre at Blaenannerch, on the Ceredigion coast path, to discover his talent with words and humour.
Llandre was the childhood home of Tom McDonald, author of novels depicting life in Ceredigion at the turn of the 20th century, including ‘White Lanes of Summer’. Visit St Michael’s Church at Llandre to discover the rich heritage of the village, the churchyard and its mariners' graves and follow the poetry trail through the woods to discover work by 16 prize winning poets in both English and Welsh.
Another successful 20th century novelist who drew inspiration from local tales and people was Anna Adeliza Puddicombe, who wrote under the nom de plume of Allen Raine. Born in the Teifi Valley, Allen Raine published eleven novels and three of her works were turned into films, which are now lost. Some of her work has recently been republished including ‘Welsh Witch’, a tale of friendship, courage and resilience on the coast of west Wales and in the mines of south Wales.
Two young contemporary writers who take inspiration from living in Ceredigion are Caryl Lewis, author of 'Martha Jac a Sianco', and Cynan Jones. Caryl's tale is of a farming family facing huge changes in the late 20th century. Cynan Jones’ novel ‘The Long Dry’ is an atmospheric description of a hot summer and ‘a glimpse of life in all its beauty and sadness'.
Ceredigion’s contemporary poets include a mother and daughter. Author and Hay Festival Fellow, Fflur Dafydd, is the daughter of poet, playwright and librettist Menna Elfyn, whose work has been translated into 15 languages. Gillian Clarke has published poetry and stories in which she explores the relationship between places and languages, and describes the experience of living and working the land in Ceredigion. Samantha Wynne Rhydderch is from a New Quay sea faring family and lives and works in the village. Twice nominated for Welsh Book of the Year, her work often refers to New Quay and the area.