In his 1938 controversial essay, ‘Is There an Anglo-Welsh Literature?’ Saunders Lewis denounces such an idea and claims that Wales’ most famous Anglophone Welsh writer Dylan Thomas ‘belongs to the English’.
However, since then Welsh Writing in English has established itself firmly in colleges and universities as a literature that is vital to understanding modern Welsh experience. But not quite everyone knows what I mean when I say I’m studying ‘Welsh Writing in English’.
What is Welsh Writing in English?
A bit of a mouthful some might say- but just explaining the concept of Anglophone Welsh Writing to people is an art I still have yet to perfect and a reason why this project came about.
‘So you translate Welsh literature into English?’
‘So you’re studying literature about Wales and Welsh people? Isn’t that just Welsh Literature?’
People tend to get confused and when at the end of my tether my stock reply is something like, ‘yeah you know Dylan Thomas, you know Under Milk Wood – yep that’s Welsh Writing in English!’ And with that fail-safe example I cringe a little inside knowing I’m doing a massive disservice to a collection of literature I admire and love.
In the broadest sense it is literature written in the English language by Welsh people. In most cases these the first language of these Welsh writers is not Welsh but they do not feel any less Welsh as a result of being an English speaker.
The trouble is that Welsh Writing in English is so widely neglected outside of academia that the general public are unsure of what constitutes Welsh Writing in English. This blog aims to uncover a variety of Anglophone Welsh writers old and new in an accessible way and provide a platform for discussion.