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This report is taken from PN Review 267, Volume 49 Number 1, September - October 2022.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams
The notion of a collection of essays exploring contemporary Welsh identities arose from discussions involving Darren Chetty, Elan Grug Muse, Hanan Issa and Iestyn Tyne at the Hay festival in 2019 about the need to pose again the questions Raymond Williams asked (in Welsh Culture) back in 1975, ‘Where is the real identity, the real culture’ of Wales? It is clear that, as editors, the four invited a personal response from contributors, and that is what we find in Welsh [Plural] – Essays on the Future of Wales (Repeater, 2022). But the title is misleading: nowhere among the contents is there a vision of the future. Almost all the writers have a present grievance, be it with the condition of Wales as a nation of the United Kingdom, or shockingly common manifestations of racism in Welsh daily life.  

The collection showcases some familiar names, including the novelists Jo Dunthorne and Niall Griffiths, the former admitting to pronouncing ‘tooth’ like ‘tuth’, as any phonetically sensible person would, while Griffiths, an altogether thornier character, skewers ‘the hollow men in London’ and the Welsh Tory leader who said, ‘Wales is sleepwalking towards independence’ with vitriolic rejoinders. Historian Martin Johnes writes of the common perception of a subjugated Wales which, though not entirely lacking supporting evidence, is difficult to uphold when hundreds of thousands of our contemporaries have either recently arrived from England or have English ancestry. ‘Dismissive and patronising’ attitudes to our language and notions of nationhood may make the blood boil, he says, but what really matters is the marginalisation of the Welsh economy by ...


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