New book explores what would have happened if Meibion Glyndŵr had been caught
A new novel explores what would have happened had one of the Meibion Glyndŵr group responsible for setting fire to holiday homes in Wales from 1979 to the mid-1990s had been caught.
Despite much discussion and speculation at the time and since, no one knows for sure who was responsible for the campaign to burn down summer homes across Wales, that began and ended so abruptly.
The novel by author Emyr Evans tells the tale of Siôn, an Aberystwyth-based student who is part of the Welsh nationalist movement. But one night, a friend’s reckless act turns his work upside down and he spends 20 years in prison.
When he emerges, the new Wales is very different to the one he remembers. As he becomes disillusioned, he is drawn back into the circle of his former prison mates, and is drawn to another dangerous situation that has the potential to ruin his life once again.
Emyr Evans said that growing up, there was something “quite romantic” about the Meibion Glyndŵr but had now “become older and a little wiser”.
“There was mystery, enterprise, and a campaign of action – and I had a secret admiration for them.
“But before anyone asked, no, I wasn’t a member! I have no idea who was doing it, and my version of the campaign is based on pure imagination. I only ventured to paint a few slogans on a wall here and there.”
But the author from Cwrtnewydd, like his main character, sees the change that has taken place in rural Wales in the last twenty years.
“Undoubtedly, the monolingual Welsh-speaking areas of rural south Ceredigion have long disappeared,” he said. But he added that people “could be persuaded to accept our language and our heritage”.
Emyr Evans said that the idea for the novel had been simmering since his time at university, when he was inspired by one of his friends Ifor ap Glyn’s poems, but he did not put pen to paper until recently when he had a dormant period between two jobs.
“Within three days most of the story was complete,” he said. “But I had to return to it tens of times before offering it to the press, and the finished story is nowhere near the original idea that had been bubbling away for decades.”
Defryd Oes is out now and can be bought on Gwales.
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