The PENfro Book Festival is an annual event celebrating the quality and diversity of writing in Wales today, recognising the contribution of local publishers and booksellers, and encouraging more people to enjoy the wealth of books Wales offers. Held in the glorious setting of Rhosygilwen in Pembrokeshire, the festival aims to be friendly, informal and inviting to everyone from the casual to the most avid reader.
Mae Gŵyl Lyfrau PENfro yn ddigwyddiad blynyddol sy’n dathlu ansawdd ac amrywiaeth ysgrifennu yng Nghymru heddiw. Mae’n cydnabod cyfraniad cyhoeddwyr a gwerthwyr llyfrau lleol, ac yn annog mwy o bobl i fwynhau’r cyfoeth o lyfrau mae Cymru’n ei gynnig. Cynhelir yr ŵyl ym mhentref bendigedig Rhosygilwen yn Sir Benfro a nod yr ŵyl yw bod yn gyfeillgar, anffurfiol a deniadol tuag at bawb o’r darllenydd achlysurol i’r un mwyaf brwd.
Brenda Squires was born and studied modern languages in London. She lived and worked for a number of years in Germany, after which she trained as a psychotherapist and practised in London. Writing has always been a secret love and after relocating to Wales she was able to spend time writing historical fiction. She did an MA in Creative Writing at Cardiff University. In 2004 she won the RNA New Writers’ award for her novel: Landsker. In 2016 Parthian Books published The Love of Geli Raubal. a novel about the collapse of the Weimar Republic. She is involved with poetry and novelists’ groups at Rhosygilwen and is currently chair of the Penfro BF.
Deputy Chair and Minute Secretary
Sue Lewis has worked in journalism for over 30 years including spells in Cardiff and London ending her career as the editor of the Tivy-Side in Cardigan. A fervent campaigner on local issues, she now works at Cardigan Castle. She was a member of the building preservation trust which raised £12m to restore the castle which resulted in a national award. Her interests include theatre, local politics, literature, heritage, the environment and community. She is a community councillor in Aberporth and is also a school governor as well as sitting on the board of Small World Theatre.
Her favourite reading material (at the moment!) is political biographies and diaries plus 1930s murder mysteries.
Richard Lewis Davies
Richard Lewis Davies is one of the founding partners of Parthian. It was established in 1993 to publish his first novel Work, Sex and Rugby, and has since developed into a leading independent publisher based in Wales with a focus on Welsh writers working in English while also assembling a carnival of voices from many languages and cultures. Richard has been involved in the literary scene in Wales since 1990 and is the current commercial director of Parthian and the Library of Wales series. In addition to publishing, he has a parallel career as a creative writer.
Barbara’s life is full of words. She has read them for work and pleasure, researched them for a well-known dictionary, and (with a writing partner) written a fair few, taking one play to the Edinburgh fringe and having another performed in Oxford and Cape Town. She and her writing partner are currently working on a screenplay. Since moving to Pembrokeshire 3 years ago from Oxford after completing a doctorate, she is now a managing editor for Parthian’s Modern Wales Series. When not being wordy, she works in a local cafe/bakery and on her small farm.
Glen Peters was brought up in an Anglo-Indian railway community in early post-independence India. His family was from Lucknow. After attending University in London he had a successful career with an international Accounting Firm, retiring in 2010 to live in Pembrokeshire where he now runs an arts charity and a renewables business.
His novels include Lucknow Ransom, which features the character Mrs Joan d’Silva. With a cast of colourful characters, Lucknow Ransom is inspired by his youth in the dwindling Anglo-Indian community. It is a witty, vivid tale of intrigue, immersed in the sights, sounds, smells and especially the tastes of 1960s India.
Derek’s plays include a number of 1-act comedies and dramas – one of which, Another Life, has won five Best Play Awards in 1-act festivals. His series of full length comedies, featuring the crime novelist/amateur sleuth Agatha Crusty, has had many hundreds of performances in the UK, USA and Australia.
Other plays include: Call Me Dusty – about Dusty Springfield; The Railway Children Lady – about Edith Nesbit; The Lady Vanishes – an adaptation of the classic Hitchcock film, and an adaptation of HG Wells’ The Invisible Man.
Derek has also abridged many dozens of books, for Hodder Headline, Random House and Harper Collins among others, ranging from Jane Austen to Ruth Rendell, and has dramatised a large number of children’s books for audio.
In addition, he is the organiser of the Pint-Sized Plays international writing competition, and a children’s author – his first full length children’s novel called ‘Is‘ – about a girl who thinks she is Isambard Kingdom Brunel reincarnated – is published by Parthian.
Since 1977 Brian has made his living as a writer and publisher. He publishes under the Greencroft Books imprint. In 1980 he founded Eco Centre Wales in Newport and is one of the leaders of the community group GM Free Cymru. He is the author of innumerable articles and 90 books, including university texts, walking guides, coffee table glossies, and books of popular science. His “Glaciers and Landscape” (written with David Sugden), a university textbook, remained in print as a geomorphology classic for almost 30 years. In recognition of his contributions to polar geomorphology, a glacier in the Pensacola Mountains of Antarctica has been named John Glacier. He also writes on topics of local interest related to Wales: tourist guides, books of local jokes, walkers’ handbooks, and titles on local folklore and traditions. In 2012 he won the Wishing Shelf Gold award for his children’s book called “The Strange Affair of the Ethiopian Treasure Chest”. In 2001 Brian published his first novel, set in North Pembrokeshire and called “On Angel Mountain”. It became an instant best-seller, and has now sold 37,000 copies. Its very imperfect heroine, Martha Morgan now features in another seven novels. The eight-volume Angel Mountain Saga now has accumulated sales of 84,000 copies.
Another of Brian’s abiding interests is the local connection between the Stonehenge bluestones and the Preseli Hills. His first book on this topic has gone through several printings and is now sold out, and a more controversial sequel, called “The Stonehenge Bluestones”, is published in June 2018.
David Lloyd Owen
Since 1996, David Lloyd Owen has been a water consultant, advising governments, multilateral institutions, companies, and banks about water policy, especially regarding finance and sustainability. David founded Envisager Limited, a water consultancy in 2003.In the 1990s, several months were spent travelling through Western China, Baltistan and Ladakh, the subject of two lectures at the Royal Geographical Society. After marrying Polly in 1998, they decamped to Wales, buying a farm near Cardigan which they now share with Bethan, Trystan and plenty of animals. As well as collecting books on Wales and South and Central Asia, he dabbles in rural life, writing, epicure and local politics, ending up as Mayor of Cardigan in 2003. Along with eight technical books on water finance, markets and management he has written non-technical book on water ‘The Sound of Thirst: Why urban water for all is essential, achievable and affordable’ which was published by Parthian Books in 2012. He is also a member of the Rhos-y-Gilwen writers’ group. ‘A Wilder Wales: Travellers’ tales, 1610-1831’ was published by Parthian Books in 2017.
Kate McAll is a Sony Gold award-winning radio producer, director, and writer with over 30 years’ experience of making programmes for the BBC. A Classics graduate, Kate began her career producing history documentaries and literary features for Radio 3 and Radio 4, before turning to drama. In 2005 she became head of the radio drama department at BBC Wales, where she was responsible for developing new Welsh writers and actors. Now freelance, she continues to produce programmes both for BBC Radio in the UK and NPR in the US. Current productions include How to Survive The Roman Empire, by Pliny and Me, set in first century Rome, and Life At Absolute Zero, a series of stories set in a fictional seaside town, written by Lynne Truss. Kate’s recent adaptation of George Eliot’s novel Daniel Deronda, for LA Theatre Works, played to sell out audiences in Los Angeles.