Ymbelydredd (Radiation)

Winner of the Daniel Owen Memorial Prize

When a young man from a small town in rural north-west Wales has to spend six weeks in Manchester undergoing radiotherapy to treat a tumour, his hospital treatment is only one of the challenges he faces. For all his fluent English, smart-phone and savvy use of social media, he finds the gap between the two worlds overwhelming. Brutally exiled from a familiar, Welsh-speaking community to a vast English city, from home with his wife and baby to lonely, cheap hotel rooms, he must learn to navigate his strange new environment geographically, socially and linguistically. His very identity is destabilised, and as he begins to define himself by his anonymising hospital number, concealing his Welsh name which nobody can pronounce, he finds himself behaving in surprising, transgressive ways and becomes involved with an increasingly menacing group of rough-sleeping anarchists. When he finally returns home at the end of his treatment this episode in his life is not concluded: the continuing effects of radiotherapy are not the only legacy and the city retains a threatening hold on him.

Winner of the fiction prize at the 2016 National Eisteddfod, Ymbelydredd is Guto Dafydd’s second, ground-breaking novel. Inspired by the author’s own experiences, it explores with great sensitivity concepts of identity and self-perception, of normality and disfigurement. Winner of Golwg360 People Choice Award at the Welsh Book of the Year Awards 2017.


  • ‘This is an excellent novel, and the author is to be praised for avoiding  all trace of sentimentality where less able authors might well have succumbed. And the last sentence is surprisingly shocking.’

    Gareth F Williams

  • ‘An extremely sophisticated novel which is full of ideas and gives great pleasure on nearly every page.  Here is an author of unmistakable talent in terms of language and imagination; this powerful intellectual work reminds one of authors such as Ivan Klíma, Elias Canetti and Italo Calvino.’

    Jon Gower

Guto Dafydd


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Publication details:

Ymbelydredd (Radiation)
Y Lolfa (2016)


Translation rights:

Garmon Gruffudd
Y Lolfa, Talybont
Ceredigion, Wales / UK