writer reads at Prairie Lights
BY CAROLINE BERG | SEPTEMBER 09, 2009
Fflur Dafydd’s eyes glint when she talks about
her writing. The Welsh fiction writer and singer/songwriter
is known to tell fantasy tales of weapon-wielding librarians
holding a lockdown and of eccentric characters congregating
on a mystical Welsh island.
like the games that the fictional narrative plays with
the reader,” she said. “In fiction, the
book is always one step ahead of you.”
will read from her first novel in English, the award-winning
Twenty Thousand Saints, today at 7 p.m. at Prairie Lights
Books, 15 S. Dubuque St.
author is the first Welsh representative to participate
in the UI’s renowned International Writing Program.
She will spend five weeks as a writer-in-residence through
a maiden partnership launched with the British Council’s
UK Writer-in-Residence Program. In addition to working
on her own writing, she will teach an undergraduate
writing workshop, visit English classes, and showcase
her finished work around town.
writes at a high literary level in both English and
Welsh,” IWP Director Christopher Merrill said.
He said he loves the fresh ways she thinks about writing
and addresses universal issues.
Dafydd has participated in a number of writer residencies
and has documented each experience in a novel or short
story. The idea for Twenty Thousand Saints evolved from
her residency on Wales’ Bardsey Island, where
her real-life acquaintances became a fictitious community,
including archaeologists, dolphin watchers, tourists,
and nuns, thrown into affairs of tension and conflict.
get inspiration from the people that I meet,”
she said. “These people [from Bardsey Island]
are so far from myself.”
Dafydd, traveling detaches her from her own life. She
finds herself able to immerse herself in the stories
of new places and people, which all provide sparks to
her stock of writing material.
such a wonderful feeling to immerse yourself completely
in another world,” she said. “There’s
almost an anxiety when you must separate yourself from
the people in the story.”
her stay in Iowa, Dafydd will work on an English translation
of her award-winning and controversial novel Y Llyfrgell
(The Library). Prompted by her numerous visits to the
iconic National Library of Wales as a Ph.D. student
in 2004, the satire takes place in 2020 and poses relevant
questions about digitization and the imminent threat
of the e-book.
like to write stories in which there is a point to be
made,” Dafydd said.