Robin Llywelyn

Llywelyn, Robin

Robin Llywelyn was born in 1958 in Llanfrothen near Penrhyndeudraeth in Eifionydd, north Wales. He was educated in Llanfrothen, Harlech, and Aberystwyth where he studied Welsh and Irish. He is Managing Director of the Italianate village of Portmeirion created by his architect grandfather Clough-Williams Ellis, where he lives.

He is the author of three novels. His first novel, Seren Wen ar Gefndir Gwyn (White Star, Bright Sky),(Gomer, 1992) won him the National Eisteddfod Prose Medal and the Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year award. It was seen to mark a new departure in the Welsh-language novel. With its inventive use of language, its departure from conventional genres, and its marrying of fantasy with elements drawn from the Welsh medieval tales of the Mabinogion, it creates a classic love story in a semi-real place and time.

His second novel, another highly inventive work, O'r Harbwr Gwag i'r Cefnfor Gwyn (From Empty Harbour to White Ocean), (Gomer, 1994), won him the National Eisteddfod Prose Medal for a second time in 1994 and the BBC Writer of the Year award in the same year, and confirmed Robin Llywelyn's reputation as one of Wales's most significant contemporary authors. A collection of short stories, Y Dwr Mawr Llwyd (The Big Grey Water) followed in 1995 (Gomer).

Un Diwrnod yn yr Eisteddfod (One Day at the Eisteddfod) won the Daniel Owen Memorial Prize for Literature at the 2004 National Eisteddfod.  It follows 24 hours in the life of Wil Chips, a 30 year old soldier from Blaenau Ffestiniog who's just returned from Iraq.

To date, his work has been published in English, French and Italian. Robin Llywelyn's work is a synthesis of heterogenous elements which lend it its highly personal character. One of these elements may be described as 'magic realism'. In the context of Welsh prose, it means that Llywelyn's work has strong affinity with medieval Welsh, and Irish. A second element in Llywelyn's work places it firmly in the contemporary world. It is a blending of different things prevalent in the 20th century: the sub-conscious, the surreal, and finally the fragmentation which characterises the postmodern world. Thirdly, Llywelyn has developed a highly personal idiom which characterises his writing. Complementing dialect, Llywelyn draws on the rich and varied Welsh literary tradition. Two major themes in Llywelyn's work are nationalism and individualism. Between these twin poles is the axis on which Robin Llywelyn's work turns.