The Year of Legends in Wales

2017 is the Year of Legends in Wales, and Welsh family run children’s book publisher, Rily Publications, are about to launch their latest original title based on the legend of King Arthur.

Award winning author, Siân Lewis, continues her relationship with Rily, following the success of the acclaimed, Tir na-nOg 2016 winning title,  Pedair Cainc y Mabinogi The Four Branches of the Mabinogi.  Teaming up with prolific illustrator, and fellow Tir na-nOg winner  (Merlin's Magical Creatures,  2009), Graham Howells, Siân has created a striking, timely and beautiful piece of literature which is set to hold a special place on the bookshelves of children, and adults, the length and breadth of Wales; and beyond! This is the kind of classic storybook that will be passed down through the generations; almost an heirloom, and an important legacy for young readers.

What makes this book even more special is that it is, in fact, two books! Rily are publishing a Welsh and an English version side-by-side, following the same model as the Mabinogi books in 2016. The books are hardback, 240 x 240 mm gift sized formats of the highest quality and are aimed for children aged six years plus.

The illustrator, Graham Howells's love for the King Arthur legend runs deep and he was even an extra in the new Jude Law film, Legend of the Sword, filmed in Snowdonia, Wales! He speaks of his work, "I especially like the themes of myth and magic. I've spent a lot of time creating all sorts of magical creatures." King Arthur was the perfect project for Graham and his illustrations reflect his passion for the legend.

Siân Lewis, who has penned both the company's original works, says:

"Rily are relatively new to the original book market, having predominantly published adaptations of popular English titles into the Welsh language. They are responsible for bringing such well-known series as Peppa Pig, Mr Men, Thomas The Tank, Fireman Sam, Wimpy Kid, Doctor Who, and Tom Gates to young Welsh language readers. This branching out to original work has been met with huge acclaim, though, and the Mabinogi books remain on the bestsellers list a year after launching."

"We're enormously proud of our two (or rather four!) original books. It was quite a departure for us from our usual work on adaptations, but we believe that there is more scope to publish original books with strong Welsh themes and we hope to work on similar books in the future. Our four books mean so much to us because they are based on the very essence of our country, and our identity. We should all be proud of our myth and legends here in Wales; and I hope our books really celebrate this and will encourage readers to embrace creativity and imagination. We have found that not many people know that the very first mention of King Arthur has been found to originate from the Welsh Mabinogi tales and so it is very fitting that our book brings King Arthur home to a wonderful Welsh setting", says Lynda Tunnicliffe of Rily.

King Arthur  / Brenin Arthur  will be Welsh Books Council's Children's Book of the Month for June, following the launch at Caerleon on bank holiday Monday 29th May, in which the books will be a part of a King Arthur dedicated, medieval themed event, run by CADW; with arts and crafts, archery, puppet shows and a crowning ceremony for King Arthur. Siân Lewis will be present to sign copies of the book, and a reading of the books by the esteemed actor Gareth John Bales will take place in the Caerleon Roman Amphitheatre, where the Knights of the Round Table were said to have convened.

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Team @ AberdareOnline

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