NOVELIST'S A HIT WITH AMERICANS; City Author Compared to Dylan Thomas As: US Literature Fans Snap Up Book Following Rave Reviews

Article excerpt

Byline: Rachel Misstear

HE has been described as Wales' answer to IrvineWelsh.

Now, Cardiff author Llwyd Owen hasbeenso successful in theUS,extra copies of his books have been printed to cope with demand.

Llwyd's first English-language novel, Faith Hope And Love, received a rave review in American literary journal PublishersWeekly.

Within three months of the book being printed, publisher Alcemi has had to reprint due to the demand across the Atlantic.

The story, set in a middle-class suburban Cardiff, is an adaptation of Llwyd's second Welsh novel that won him theWelsh book of the year award in 2008.

The author, who lives in Rhiwbina with his wife Lisa and their two daughters, Elian and Syfi, has already had four highly acclaimed Welshlanguage novels published. "It seems surreal that so many Americans would enjoy what is very much a book about life in Cardiff," said Llwyd.

Butthebookdoestacklesomesocial taboos, such as assisted suicide.

"That part of the story was inspired by my grandmother who died very slowly in a bed in Rookwood Hospital in Cardiff. It was a difficult time for her and she wanted her life to end. You can't help ponder the situations that people are put in."

He puts the US interest in his book down to the American fascination with its Celtic forefathers, but said his success may be due to a review which compared him to Dylan Thomas.

"It is extraordinary how the book has sold so well in America. They are relatively modest numbers, the first run was somewhere in the region of 2,000 copies but they sold out within 12 weeks and had to go to reprint."

His rising cult following in Wales stems from his lively use of street language and his exploration of some of society's less visible characters - prostitutes, pimps and criminals.

Cardiff provides the inspiration for a lot of his work.

The story takes in Cathays Cemeterywheremain character Alun Brady is at one stage forced to live. …