Launch of translation of Rhys Lewis

A brand new contemporary English translation of Daniel Owen’s best-known novel, Rhys Lewis (made from the original 1885 Welsh version) will be published later this month by Brown Cow Publishing, as part of the Daniel Owen Signature Series. Rhys Lewis is the timeless story of a poor boy from a broken home who has great ambitions, but knows that his family has a dark secret. Finding that secret, and confronting it head-on, is the only way that he can free himself and fulfil his calling. It is at the same time a family drama and a page-turning adventure, but along the way we find plenty of humour and meet some of the most colourful and memorable characters in the whole of Welsh literature, including Wil Bryan the grocer’s son and Rhys’s best friend, Thomas Bartley the simple-minded but unfailingly hospitable cobbler, and Abel Hughes the forbidding chapel elder with a heart of gold.

 

This new translation has been made by Dr. Stephen Morris, himself a Welsh learner who knows Owen’s home town of Mold well, but who now lives in Shrewsbury with his English wife. As Dr. Morris read the Welsh original during the summer holidays, by turns engrossed in the plot and laughing out loud at the comedy that Owen weaves into his story, his wife, Tina, asked him what on earth was so good about the book that he was reading. He decided that, rather than try to explain everything out of context, it would be better to translate the whole book so that she could enjoy it for herself. This he did, along the way taking the time to dig into the background of the many real-life people, places and events that are mentioned throughout the text. He has provided extensive footnotes and appendices which will help the reader understand and appreciate Owen’s world in a way that has not often been unlocked for the English reader. He said “Owen has sometimes been described as the ‘Welsh Dickens’; personally I would compare him more to Thomas Hardy or Anthony Trollope, since he has the same depth, the same literary quality and the same flashes of humour when called for. Despite the excellent work that Brown Cow publishing has done in releasing translations of some of his other works, The Trials of Enoc Huws and Fireside Tales, it is shocking how little-known he remains outside Wales. Rhys Lewis was the book that made his reputation, and I hope that my translation of it will appeal to anyone who loves the works of Hardy, Dickens or Trollope, anyone who shares my fascination with the golden age of Welsh literature and culture, and anyone who just enjoys a good story and a good laugh.”

Stephen Morris presenting the first copy of his translation to Tina, his wife.

 

Rhys Lewis will be launched during the 2015 Daniel Owen Festival at an event held in the Jubilee Room at Mold Town Hall, 7.30pm on Wednesday October 21st [visit www.danielowenfestival.com]. For more information, call Stephen Morris on 01743 340521.

 

Title: Rhys Lewis, Author: Daniel Owen, translated by Stephen Morris, Language: English, ISBN: 978-0-95670310302, Publication Date: 21/10/2015, Number of pages: 511, Binding: Paperback, Price: £12.99