How Outstanding Books Breed Many Volumes of Fresh Writers

Article excerpt

Byline: By ELAINE MORGAN

Last week i paid my second visit to the Millennium Centre. It's an impressive building, as I couldn't help remarking to the man standing next to me. He agreed with a smile and mentioned that his son had designed it.

That's the nearest I've ever come to meeting a real live architect - it always strikes me as the most mysterious of the arts.

Imagine sitting down and making marks on paper and then seeing a place like this rise up out of the earth to make your vision a reality.

However, the art we'd come to celebrate was literature. The Minister for Culture was present, announcing the launch of a Library of Wales, reissuing the first five of a list of titles published in the last century, but very hard to get hold of nowadays.

Their claim to be part of the Welsh heritage rests on the fact that they were all written about Welsh life by people who wrote in English, but were as proudly conscious of being Welsh as Rabbie Burns was of being Scots, even though he spoke no Gaelic. There was no literary tradition embodying that feeling. They had to carve one out.

Why, you may ask, bother to republish books by dead authors when there are living ones still struggling to get a foothold?

It's because they were the pioneers. It's important for new writers to know something about those who blazed the trail they're treading, even if they intend to veer off along a different pathway. …