Saith Cam Iolo dances along the borders of truth and lies, of history and imagination.

Saith Cam Iolo (The Seven Paces of Iolo)

It is 1808 and a man sets out to walk from south Wales to London. The stonemason Edward Williams, who has reinvented himself as the poet, antiquarian, literary genius and fraud, Iolo Morgannwg, is on his way to visit Owain Myfyr, a successful furrier in the city who shares Iolo’s passion for early Welsh literature. Owain has devoted untold time and money to publishing the fruits of Iolo’s research in ancient manuscripts, but after fifteen years of their working together to preserve early Welsh poems and tales, he has openly accused Iolo of forgery. Iolo drafted a riposte, but never sent it, and now Aled Evans, in this impressive début novel, imagines what could have happened if Iolo had gone to face his accuser in person.

Blending fact and fiction, Evans recreates the relationship between the two men and their contrasting worlds: the astute, pragmatic London businessman, confidently navigating the city’s tavern intrigues and dangerous streets, and the cash-strapped dreamer, living with one foot in an imagined past, but cunning and alert. Keeping step with Iolo on his mission is the story of Gwri Goleuwallt’s journey in a world full of magic: authentic traditional tale or another of Iolo’s fabrications? Now dark, now ludic, celebrating the will of stories to adapt and survive, Saith Cam Iolo dances along the borders of truth and lies, of history and imagination.

Reviews

  • ‘The author is a very able strict meter poet.  While his prose is already rich, at times he surrenders to poetry, it all works together, and creates a style that is unexpectedly original. There is a sweeping originality and excellence in parts…an incredible talent.’

    Jerry Hunter

  • ‘It has seared my memory for some weeks, it’s definitely the best Welsh novel I’ve read this year, and I can’t think of a better English one either.’

    Arwel Vittel

Aled Evans

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Publication details:

Saith Cam Iolo (The Seven Paces of Iolo)
Y Lolfa (2016)

154pp

Translation rights:

Garmon Gruffudd
Y Lolfa, Talybont
Ceredigion, Wales / UK

garmon@ylolfa.com
www.ylolfa.com