'The writing's on the wall!': Wales' awakening

The Welsh response to the vandalisation of the iconic mural near Llanrhystud was the spark that inspired Mari Emlyn’s new bilingual book - Cofiwch Dryweryn: Wales Awakening (Y Lolfa).

 

Author Mari Emlyn says:

“We are indebted to the group of young people who went and rebuilt and then repainted the wall. Perhaps the vandals did us a favour, as a mass patriotic awakening has snowballed as a result of their heinous act. Even when some of these new murals have been defaced, the Welsh people have returned quietly, and with dignity, to repaint their tributes.”

 

The original slogan was painted by author Professor Meic Stephens, who was a student at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth at the time, as a protest against the decision to drown the Tryweryn Valley in order to provide water for the people of Liverpool. Despite all his literary work, Meic Stephens swore: ‘This is my most famous statement, my most eloquent poem, my most important political act’.

 

The book places the mural phenomenon in the context of Capel Celyn’s history, with contributions by three whose roots are firmly in the Tryweryn Valley: Eurgain Prysor Jones, Gwyn Roberts and Elwyn Edwards. Their stories make up the early chapters of the book, as well as a chapter by Emyr Llywelyn who was imprisoned for a year for his part (with Owain Williams and John Albert Jones) in trying to stop the development of the dam in February 1963. There’s also a chapter by radio and television presenter, Huw Stephens, who is the son of the original mural painter.

 

Following these contributions, elements of this year’s story are presented in the form of pictures and short written pieces by the public who have been appreciating other people’s efforts during the spring and summer – from Bridgend to Bwlch-y-Groes, from Llangrannog to Llanuwchllyn – and even Chicago! This book is only a taster of the hundreds of murals which continue to be created.

 

Siôn Jobbins, Chaiman of Yes Cymru said:

“Destroying the Cofiwch Dryweryn mural was an attempt to destroy the memory and idenitity of Wales as a nation. This book shows that we will never let that happen again. It documents the brave and challenging words on walls across Wales that commemorate our history and demand a better future for our nation.”