Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Welsh Hundred/Marc Stengel selected for Southern Festival of Books 2009

A Welsh Hundred: Glimpses of Life in Wales will be a featured book at this year's Southern Festival of Books, 9-11 October 2009, at Legislative Plaza in Nashville, Tenn. Although the writer's session devoted to this book of translations from the Welsh has not yet been scheduled, updates will be forthcoming – both on this blog and at the Humanities Tennessee website for the festival.

Stengel invited to join FiledBy site for published writers and authors

With the 21 July 2009 release of A Welsh Hundred: Glimpses of Life in Wales, I'm pleased to report my new membership in the FiledBy online community for published writers and authors. Founded in the spring of 2009, FiledBy describes itself as “a digital marketing company providing membership sites, web tools and community building solutions to content creators - authors, writers, illustrators and photographers – and their fans. The Company, based in Nashville, TN, has launched its flagship site, FiledBy, the most comprehensive online marketing platform and directory of published author web pages on the internet.”

I'm pleased to be a part of this promising new venture, and I invite readers to join me at Marc Stengel @ FiledBy

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It's official: A Welsh Hundred is now for sale

I'm pleased to announce the official release of the book A Welsh Hundred: Glimpses of Life in Wales (drawn from a pair of family diaries for 1841 and 1940), by W. Ambrose Bebb; translated from the Welsh by Marc K. Stengel. The book is available directly from AuthorHouse, the publisher, in both the US ($9.90) and the UK (£6.80), using the links appearing below. A Welsh Hundred [ISBN 9781434359919] is also available from Amazon.com, Borders.com, BarnesandNoble.com, as well as at all discriminating booksellers.

Order direct in the US: AuthorHouse.com
Order direct in the UK: AuthorHouse.co.uk

Sunday, July 12, 2009

One of Wales’ Favorite Sons Makes Long-Overdue Return to Print


CONTACT: Marc Stengel

With Newly Translated A Welsh Hundred,
One of Wales’ Favorite Sons Makes Long-Overdue Return to Print

With the recent publication of A Welsh Hundred: Glimpses of Life in Wales, the crisp, evocative voice of Welsh writer and statesman W. Ambrose Bebb comes to life again after a silence of almost 70 years.

A Welsh Hundred combines in one volume – and for the first time in English – two of Bebb’s most popular works originally published in Welsh in 1941. These two newly translated works – The Faraway Paradise and 1940: Gleanings from a Diary – introduce English-language readers to one of 20th-century Wales’ most colorful and provocative personalities for the very first time. Bracketing an important century in the life of Wales, A Welsh Hundred opens with the 1841 diary of Montgomeryshire farmer and church deacon William Bebb, as conceived and imaginatively reconstructed by his great-great-nephew W. Ambrose Bebb. By 1940, it’s the turn of Ambrose Bebb himself to document – touchingly, enthusiastically, sometimes starkly – the daily rhythms of life in and around the college town of Bangor, North Wales, on the eve of Europe’s second all-consuming world war.

An ardent defender of the Welsh language and prominent activist on behalf of Welsh political self-determination, W. A. Bebb’s entire body of work (numbering some two dozen volumes and scores of peri­odical articles) has existed until now solely in the Welsh language. In 2009, over half a century after his un­timely death in 1955 at age 61, Bebb’s surviving children have consented to allow their father’s work to ap­pear in English for the first time. With A Welsh Hundred, writer and translator Marc K. Stengel – a dual citi­zen of the U.S. and Canada – makes available the first in a series of planned re-releases of Bebb’s most sig­nificant works of Welsh history, cultural observation and travel writing.

During his lifetime, Ambrose Bebb was perhaps best known as a revered and popular lecturer at Normal College, Bangor, as well as one of three co-founders in the 1920s of Plaid Cymru/The Party of Wales. The intensity of his Welsh patriotism and the persuasiveness of his defense of Welsh culture have been obscured since his death by the inaccessibility of his works to the English-speaking world-at-large. The books comprising A Welsh Hundred, published this summer by AuthorHouse, have been specifically selected for Bebb’s English-language debut on account of their breezy, conversational style and their inti­mate, episodic cameos depicting Welsh daily life. At a more subtle yet fundamental level, however, A Welsh Hundred is also the portrait of an age – a vital century in the life of Great Britain during which tra­ditional, rural village culture was uprooted and transformed by the twin forces of industrialization and emigration into our recognizably modern society of towns and cities, untrammeled progress, mass communica­tions…and total war.

At the summit of his prolific career, Bebb was heralded by his Welsh contemporaries as “the writer of the most beautiful and most vivacious Welsh of our century” and “as a literary man who was a splendid artist. He had the rich vocabulary of Cardiganshire,…of dialect witticism, moral idioms, proverbs and rhymes, a cascade of language.” For far too long, this unique blend of talent, cleverness and verbal mischief has been out of the reach of an English-reading public. Upon encountering W. Ambrose Bebb for the first time in the pages of A Welsh Hundred, it will become all too clear to readers that the experience of life in Britain ranges far beyond the confines of English only – and is, in fact, immeasurably enriched by spices and seasonings not the least bit Anglo-Saxon in flavor.

A Welsh Hundred [ISBN 9781434359919] is published by AuthorHouse both in the United Kingdom and in North America. Direct or­ders (priced $9.90/£6.80 per copy) may be placed with the publisher online at AuthorHouse.com (US) or AuthorHouse.co.uk (UK). A Welsh Hundred is also available via major online retailers, including Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, BarnesandNoble.com and Borders.com (priced $14.49/£8.95 per copy); as well as through all major bookstores and discriminating booksellers. Sample selections from A Welsh Hundred are posted at the AuthorHouse website and at the translator's Welsh Hundred blog. Any ques­tions or enquiries concerning A Welsh Hundred may be directed to the translator, Marc K. Stengel, using any of the following media:

Postal Address:
Historix, 2042 Galbraith Dr.
Nashville, TN 37215-3407 USA

Office telephone:
+1 615-292-4386

+1 615 385-2930

Mobile telephone:
+1 615-337-8916





[PLEASE NOTE: Between 17 August and 3 October, 2009, the translator of A Welsh Hundred, Marc Stengel, will be traveling extensively through mid-Wales in connection with research for a forthcoming book project. During this time, Stengel will be promoting his translations of Bebb’s diaries in person in towns and villages along an itinerary conforming approximately to the Usk, Teifi and Wye river valleys. During the course of this journey, which he is undertaking entirely on-foot, Stengel will be available for comment via telephone, email or in person concerning any aspect of A Welsh Hundred or his plans to release subsequent volumes of Bebb’s works which have already been translated.]

# # #

"W. Ambrose Bebb's Contribution to Welsh Literature"

"W. Ambrose Bebb's Contribution to Welsh Literature," by T.H. Lewis
originally published in Y Genhinen [ The Leek], 1970-71; vol. 21, pp. 65-69.
(adapted and translated by Marc K. Stengel)

Sample preview

JULY THE 12th [1940]: I get a chance to turn my back on town life for a while, and on townspeople too. I’m spending three days in the calm, quiet countryside between the small villages of Talywern and Aberhosan.

I arrive at Cilwinllan, the home of an aunt and uncle of mine – and what a charming home it is indeed. It feels like I’m sailing on a sea of kindness. This is a perfectly peaceful place, awash with the burble and chatter of flowing streams. I walk through cloudbursts; I ramble; I run. I soak up the sounds of the rushing waters and the bleating sheep; I’m almost completely at one with the peacefulness that sighs inaudibly beneath, through, within the clamor of the landscape.

All about me are verdant seas of fern, wooded glens, small random hamlets, shepherds climbing and farm girls calling after their dogs and sheep. Just as it has always been! O, how agreeable it all is! Everything is charming – a district of sheer delight. I rise in the morning and laze about as luxuriantly as I please. I watch idly as my uncle shears some wandering lambs. Rays of sunlight descend through the treetops into the stillness of the farmyard.

I go to Chapel on Sunday morning and savor the sounds of the sheep bleating in faint counterpoint to our lofty devotions to the saints. Monday morning: I strike out for Cae-tu-cefn-i’r- Beudy [“Field-behind-the-Cowshed”], where I sit on the seat of a hay-mowing machine. I look out, amazed, over the small, sloping fields all bright and green. I see groves of trees in a narrow valley. On the summit of one of the farthest ridges, I can make out the tiny village of Darowen smiling down at me affectionately amidst a raiment of white and green. The soft shapeliness of the mountain known as Aran Fawddwy muses in silence beneath a billowing shroud of mist.

Off to my side, the man from Rhiwgoch farm and his son are mowing hay upon a narrow strip of steep, craggy land. There’s less and less and less…until the last thin swathe disappears entirely. The son takes the tractor to another field, while the father stays behind to tidy up with his scythe. It’s a gentle, quiet morning. As the scent of new-mown hay diffuses, the voice of a three-year-old child chimes in from nearby. She approaches her dad with some difficulty through the felled swathes. He lays his scythe down and bends to his knee, then draws the little girl to him. He strokes her; pecks her with kisses. I see her pretty green frock merging into his cotton waistcoat, and her yellow-blond hair spreads out over his tan-dark arms.

It’s such a charming scene! Here, my fellow countrymen, is your genuine birthright in all its glory. Here is your throne and your consolation with which to endure the interminable perfidy arrayed against you. My Wales, my own people…I love you beyond the power of words to say. During every dark hour, still you bend to your daily toil, sustained by oceans of virtue and seas of compassion. Hail to thee, dearest Wales.

Tomorrow, I must turn back unwillingly and leave behind the people, the experiences and the vistas that have served as balm for my heart. I’ll be back to see you again before the end of the holidays. Once more, you have restored in me a lost vitality.

About the author and translator

W. Ambrose Bebb (1894-1955) was revered in Wales as a writer, historian, teacher and statesman. A native of rural West Wales, he graduated from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, in 1918 with honors in Welsh and History, whereupon he earned his M.A. degree in 1920. He subsequently lectured at the Sorbonne in Paris and traveled widely in France, Brittany and the Continent before returning permanently to North Wales where he lectured in History and Welsh at Normal College, Bangor. Bebb was also a co-founder of the Welsh Nationalist Party whose Plaid Cymru members today constitute an increasingly visible presence in the U.K. Parliament at Westminster and in the National Assembly for Wales at Cardiff. Marc K. Stengel, a dual-citizen of the U.S.A. and Canada, is a writer and translator living in Nashville, Tennessee.

About the book

By combining a pair of diaries written a century apart, A Welsh Hundred reveals for the first time in English the genuine character of daily life in the Welsh-speaking heartlands of Middle and North Wales. In the hands of W. Ambrose Bebb, the published diary opened up a new avenue for Welsh-language literature; and Bebb's work was hailed at its debut as "the tour de force of a true artist.... There is nothing exactly like it to be found written in Welsh, French or English." This contemporary translation gives English readers their first glimpse into the joys and disappointments, struggles and achievements of "real life" in Wales as lovingly portrayed by one of her favorite sons. [Pictured: The original first editions of the two diaries, published in Welsh in 1941]

Book is now in production, release date imminent

As of Friday, 10 July 2009, the book A Welsh Hundred: Glimpses of Life in Wales (drawn from a pair of family diaries for 1841 and 1940) is officially in-production and scheduled for imminent release. The book will be available directly from AuthorHouse [A Welsh Hundred] as well as from all prominent online booksellers.

ISBN: 9781434359919