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Bibliographical Information
Tea in the Heather
Kate Roberts
ISBN: 9781854113207 (1854113208)Publication Date June 2002
Publisher: Seren, Bridgend
Adapted/Translated by Wyn Griffith.Format: Paperback, 202x124 mm, 88 pages Language: English Reprinting Our Price: £6.95   
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Eight stories focusing on a girl's childhood in the slate-quarrying district of Nantlle in North Wales by the foremost Welsh storywriter of the twentieth century. Foreword by Derec Llwyd Morgan. First edition published in 1968.

Cyfieithiad i'r Saesneg o glasur Kate Roberts yn portreadu bywyd plentyn yn ardal chwarelyddol Dyffryn Nantlle. Rhagair gan Derec Llwyd Morgan. Cyhoeddwyd yr argraffiad cyntaf ym 1968.
This is a translation by the late Ll. Wyn Griffith of Te yn y Grug that was first published in 1968. Seren are to be congratulated on bringing the classic back into print in an attractive paperback format.

Tea in the Heather consists of a sequence of short stories in which the principal characters are Begw, a young girl gradually awakening to the pains and pleasures of life, and her friends, Mair, the haughty, priggish daughter of the Manse, and Winni Ffinni Hadog, an impudent, uninhibited but likeable rascal who is among the most memorable of the author’s creations.

Kate Roberts was born in the hillside village of Rhosgadfan in 1891 and was generally regarded as the greatest Welsh prose-writer of the twentieth century. It is not difficult to see how her native place went into her writing, even in English translation, which inevitably loses much of the richness and subtlety of her Welsh. These stories are the work of a master-craftswoman, deft in her delineation of character and faultless in her handling of plot. Slices of life some of them may be, but they read as polished pieces worthy of Checkhov or Maupassant – and that is no exaggeration.

Set in the slate-quarrying districts of Caernarfonshire about a hundred years ago, the eight stories are based on Roberts's own childhood and are a mixture of innocent joys and the most harrowing of experiences such as the drowning of a favourite cat. The author herself once said that she thought that it was in these stories that she had come closest to entering a child’s mind and exploring its response to its own world.

The backdrop to these tales is made up of hardship, unremitting toil, loneliness and a strict chapel religion which only Winni’s hedonism overcomes. But there is also humour, many colouful characters, a delicious irony, a life-enhancing vision that transforms everything Kate Roberts touches, and a strong sense of the matriarchal society in which she was raised.

The book has a foreword by Derec Llwyd Morgan, Vice-Chancellor of the University at Aberystwyth, and an evocative jacket design by Peter Prendergast.

Meic Stephens

It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgement should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.

Gellir defnyddio’r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatâd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
Further Information:
Te yn y Grug
Te yn y Grug (Tea in the Heather) is Kate Roberts' tale of childhood in north Wales. A new edition of the English translation of this classic book for children and adults was published in 2002 (Seren). The book is a loosely-structured short novel in eight episodes. It tells of the trauma and joys of four-year old Begw as she learns to come to terms with the drowning of her cat Sgiatan and her favorite jelly treat gulped down by Winni Ffini Hadog. The adventures take place in the hills south of Caernarfon near the village of Rhosgadfan. Mair the minister's daughter is Begw's playmate, but the friendship they enjoy is rather formal. One day, Begw calls to play with Mair only to find the family are having dinner. She is given some pudding, but made to sit alone. The minister wears a beard to avoid the cost of shaving, and the grace he piously recites lasts longer than the meal. All differences between Mair and Begw are swept away when, as they climb the hill to have a picnic, the reckless Winni Finni Hadog ambushes them and spanks them soundly. Winni is twelve, almost a grown-up, her father a drunkard, her stepmother callous and uncaring. She is poorly dressed, wears no bloomers, and dances wildly on the heather. So, Begw asks her mother to invite her to tea. Winni comes, wolfs down the sponge-cake, and, much to the indignation of Mair and her parents, an unlikely friendship is born. In Tea in the Heather Kate Roberts opens the door to the early years of a child in a bewildering world.
Cyfnewidfa Lên Cymru/Wales Literature Exchange
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