Bookcase Focus: An Interview with Angharad Tomos

Bookcase Focus: An Interview with Angharad Tomos

Wales Literature Exchange interviewed our Bookcase author Angharad Tomos, about her writing and her influences.


1. What first inspired you to be an author and where do your ideas come from?

I've always loved writing, but winning in Eisteddfodau was important for me to feel that I had an audience, and that I could write for them. My ideas come from being a woman who's Welsh speaking in the last half of the C20th and the beginning of the C21st, being told that I'm peripheral and that there's no future for Wales and the Welsh. Knowing that there are people all over the world in the same situation, living next to what was once a powerful Empire, colours my response to the world, and I feel we have a lot to share and a lot in common. I have been heavily influenced by stories my mother told me and family history.


2. How would you describe your writing?

Inspired and influenced by magic realism, my theme is often Time, and its effect on characters, who are female mostly. It is subjective and philosophical, but quite accesible at the same time.


3. Which authors have influenced you the most?

With my mother coming from Bethesda, Caradog Pritchard's Un Nos Ola Leuad would naturally have influenced me, and I belive Robin Llywelyn's stories in the 90s in Wales opened a door. Isabelle Allende was an influence, as well as Milan Kundera. One is always looking for different ways to tell a story.


4. In your opinion what are the biggest challenges that writers face today – and do you think these challenges have changed since you started writing?

Survival – and keeping an interest in story-telling. There are so many challenges facing humanity that young people as well as older people can find the struggle to live (especially post Covid) very, very difficult. My belief that literature can heal bruises and discuss alternative models of living keep me going. Having been in the job for over forty years, I think these challenges have accumulated.


5. What are the hardest and easiest parts of being a writer?

The easiest is being your own boss, and having the freedom to organise your time. The hardest part is sitting down and actually getting the writing done! But as my son once told me, “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it”, and I try to remember that when the going gets tough. Researching can be an opt out sometimes, and you keep researching so that you don't have to sit down and get the novel done.


6. Which writer from Wales would you recommend to readers and why?

I would certainly recommend the work of Angharad Price, because O Tyn Y Gorchudd stands the test of time and is an extraordinary story told in an extraordinary style. Twenty years later, we have Ymbapuroli, a collections of essays which sums up so well the experince of being Welsh.


Y Castell Siwgr is selected to the Wales Literature Exchange 2021–22 Bookcase, our annual selection of recent Welsh literary works which we recommend for translation.

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