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 (US) or (UK). A Welsh Hundred is also available via major online retailers, including,, and (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.]

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