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New book blends African and Welsh traditional folk tales

01 Aug 2023 2 minute read
The Fish Princess, by North Wales Africa Society & Casia Wiliam, is available now.

A new book that blends African (Ghanaian and Nigerian) and Welsh traditional folk tales has been launched in both Welsh and English.

During the summer of 2022, families from the North Wales Africa Society came together on Saturdays to talk about old stories and traditional tales from African countries and from Wales.

From the power of this sharing emerged The Fish Princess – a beautifully written book created by the families of the Society in workshops with writer Casia Wiliam, and delicately illustrated according to the children’s brief by artist Jac Jones, four-time winner of the Tir na N-og award.

The project was coordinated by the BLAS programme at Bangor’s Pontio Arts Centre, which has a long-standing relationship with the North Wales Africa Society.


Dr Salamatu J. Fada, Director of the North Wales Africa Society, said: “The families all enjoyed developing the ideas, with the guidance of the diverse facilitators who were involved in the project.

“We are immensely pleased with the process and can’t wait to see the published book.”

Arwel Jones, Head of Publishing Development at the Books Council of Wales, said: “It has been wonderful to see this project develop as one of the recipients of the New Audiences Grant.”

Mared Huws, Arts Development Co-ordinator at Pontio, added: “The idea of working together on a book came quite easily to me when thinking of a way to encourage reading, as this is how I have devised community theatre performances for years now.

“But my knowledge of writing books was limited, so I learned a lot along the way. I noticed what was common between the legends and tales of Wales and Ghana, and it was wonderful to see how the families wove their knowledge of these stories intricately into their ideas and characters.”

Co-author and former Bardd Plant Cymru Casia Wiliam won the 2021 Welsh-language Primary Tir na n-Og award has been particularly commended for her sensitive treatment of issues of race and identity.

She said: “I loved working on this project with the children. It’s a brand new story that’s full of old, old magic. You’ll be spellbound.”

The Fish Princess, by North Wales Africa Society & Casia Wiliam, is available now, published by Y Lolfa (£5.99).

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8 months ago

What a wonderful idea! I love the idea of blending Welsh culture with the varied traditions of elsewhere. Check out Japanese kwaidan tales as chronicled by Lafcadio Hearn – they have many aspects that mirror our folk tradition too.

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