Y Gwreiddyn (The Root)

Characteristically powerful, deceptively simple narratives make up this latest volume by Caryl Lewis, twice winner of Welsh Book of the Year. In these perfectly sequenced, thematically-linked short stories she reveals once again her unerring eye and ear as she explores lives rooted in the conventions and rhythms of life in west Wales rural communities. A woman notices a loose tile on the kitchen floor and finds an intruding root from an ash tree outside pushing its way under the foundations of the house, but her husband refuses to cut down the tree until, years later, his lover is dead; brother and sister, still rivals in later life, bicker over their elderly father’s future while he makes his own plans; the death of his widowed mother at last enables a farmer to release his emotions and free himself from the dark shadow of an abusive father – these tales pursue themes of love and loss, of loneliness within a relationship, of grasping small but meaningful consolations, and of painful adaptation to changes in personal and community life. In this second book of short stories Caryl Lewis once again reveals her deep understanding of the human condition and her unique ability to convey movingly, in understated but rich prose, the unsung heroisms of everyday life.

Winner of Welsh Book of the Year Award 2017 in the Welsh Fiction category.


  • 'A collection of eleven short stories all set in rural Wales. Close-knit rooted communities lend themselves to traditional narrative techinques - characters and plots can develop naturally and cohere into a unified whole, providing a long perspective with implications beyond their immediate setting.'

    Helle Michelsen, Planet

  • 'While all the eleven stories stand independently, there is also a sense of unity within the collection. There is a feeling of longing, disappointment and loss within the work, but not never in a sentimental way.'

    Aled Islwyn, Barn

  • 'I read the whole collection in one evening, but the stories will stay with me for the rest of my life.'

    Bethan Mair

Caryl Lewis


Read about the author...

Publication details:

Y Gwreiddyn (The Root)
Y Lolfa (2016)


Translation rights:

Anwen Hooson

Bird Literary Agency