Robin McBryde 6 Nofel


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Robin McBryde

Neb Ond Ni, nofel fuddugol cystadleuaeth y Fedal Ryddiaith 2011, yw dewis Robin McBryde. Robin McBryde, forwards' coach for the Welsh national rugby team, talks about the novel ...


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-I'm Robin McBryde.

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-I played rugby for Wales

-between 1994 and 2005.

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-I'm currently Wales's forwards

-coach.

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-I also belong

-to the Gorsedd of the Bards.

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-I don't swear or curse,

-unless they lose, of course!

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-It's given us a bit more confidence,

-knowing if we perform well...

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-This is Llanfechell village square.

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-I was raised here

-until I was eight or nine years old.

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-The post office and shop

-across the way...

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-..were the hub of the village.

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-They still are to this day.

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-Y Cefn Glas pub is behind me.

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-My friends and I gathered here.

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-We were free

-to roam around the village.

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-This is the river where I'd spend

-hours playing in the water...

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-..and on the riverbank

-under the bridge...

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-..with my two

-closest friends in the village.

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-Alun Lloyd and Stephen Humphries,

-or Stephen Bach, lived nearby.

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-The three of us would climb trees

-and jump across the river.

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-We had the freedom

-to wander through the fields.

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-We had lots of fun

-and I have many fond memories.

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-We used to walk

-and ride our bikes...

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-..from Llanfechell to Cemaes...

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-..and spend the day

-playing on the beach.

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-We'd jump off the pier into the sea.

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-On a day like today,

-there's no better place to be.

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-It's a world away...

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-..from the upbringing Dewi and

-Siriol had in the novel, Neb Ond Ni.

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-I bought the book because it won

-the Prose Medal at the Eisteddfod.

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-I read the synopsis of the book...

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-..and read a few pages.

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-The dialogue contained Southwalian

-and Northwalian dialects.

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-It was nice and simple to read.

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-It gave me a feel for the book.

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-It captivated me.

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-The story revolves around...

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-..the two central characters -

-Dewi and Siriol.

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-They are two remarkable children

-with special needs.

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-They're very close and understand

-one another better than anyone.

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-The novel begins

-and Dewi is missing.

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-Only Siriol knows where he is.

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-"Voices calling, lights bobbing like

-shooting stars, Mam staring at me.

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-"I wanted to say he was safe

-under the Felin Ganol footbridge.

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-"He'd gone to measure it with

-the tape he was given as a present.

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-"He would return at midnight.

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-"But how could I?

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-"And what did I say?

-I said I knew nothing, as usual.

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-"I tried not to look at my watch.

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-"I wanted it to be midnight.

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-"He arrived back,

-grinning as usual.

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-"He sauntered back with a

-what's-the-problem look on his face.

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-"'You'll be sent away forever if you

-don't behave yourself, sonny Jim.'

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-"I started crying

-and Mam put her arm around me.

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-"'Don't worry, dear Siriol,

-it's an empty threat.'

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-"But on the way back, she

-whispered something in Dad's ear.

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-"If Dai sent the little boy away...

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-"..she'd break her heart.

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-"That's what she said.

-And she's completely right.

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-"If Dewi was sent away forever...

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-"No, I refuse to think about it.

-It hurts too much."

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-The novel is set in the 1970s...

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-..and Dewi and Siriol are

-the same age as I was at the time.

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-It was easy for me to empathize

-with them as characters...

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-..and easy for me to conjure up

-images in my mind, like Dewi.

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-I'm very fond of the style...

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-..because we see

-different situations...

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-..through the eyes

-of the five central characters...

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-..and are privy

-to their inner thoughts...

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-..instead of open conversations.

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-As a man

-who likes to mull things over...

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-..the book appealed to me...

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-..and made me think...

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-..during the time I was reading it

-and also after finishing it.

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-What comes across...

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-..is how cruel people can be...

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-..without realizing.

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-Cruel things they say and do in

-the company of these small children.

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-Children with special needs...

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-..are sensible enough

-to know what's hurtful.

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-That's something else...

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-..that makes you think about

-how you behave and act...

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-..around children

-with special needs.

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-The novel is set

-in a village similar to Llandwrog.

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-I'm on my way there

-to meet the author, Manon Rhys.

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-I call on Sitting Bull to stand.

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-The sun is shining today and there's

-a picture of the sun on the cover.

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-I'm guessing

-there's a reason for that?

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-Hand on heart,

-this was my inspiration.

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-It's the same sun that appears on

-Dafydd Iwan Ac Edward's album cover.

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-It's a collection

-of children's songs.

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-Cwm Rhyd Y Rhosyn

-typifies the ideal village.

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-The name is so pretty...

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-..and it paints

-a picture of beauty...

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-..and happiness.

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-Dewch Am Dro

-Ar Hyd Y Llwybr Troed...

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-.."invites children to walk along

-the footpath near the house...

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-"..where we shall see many wonders."

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-It's an invitation for children

-to go and see these wonders.

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-It made me think about children

-who maybe can't see.

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-Another line of the song is,

-"We'll have races in the meadow".

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-But what about children

-who can't run?

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-I came up with

-a character called Siriol...

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-..who's wheelchair-bound

-and partially blind.

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-Her best friend is Dewi...

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-..a little boy who can walk, run

-and do everything children can do.

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-But he suffers from what people

-would nowadays call autism.

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-But back in the 1970s...

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-..Dewi wouldn't have

-been given any support...

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-..to help him deal with

-the problems going on in his mind.

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-That's the basis of the story.

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-Dewi and Siriol

-live in the village of Llan...

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-..which is similar to Llandwrog...

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-..where we're sitting at the moment.

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-The theme for the Prose Medal

-competition was Conflict.

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-I've tried to convey that

-the parents are trying their best...

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-..to rebel against an inadequate

-system for their children.

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-But in the end, Siriol's mother

-and Dai, Dewi's stepfather...

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-..have to conform with that system.

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-Yes, that was apparent

-in Siriol's mother.

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-She wanted to find out

-as much information as she could...

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-..while the father

-accepted the situation.

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-He just wanted to deal with it.

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-There's one scene in the kitchen...

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-..where Siriol's grandmother...

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-..obviously knows that something's

-wrong but doesn't like to ask.

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-For some reason, Siriol's mother

-hasn't said anything to her.

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-Then comes the line,

-"like a ticking bomb".

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-I like that. It's ticking,

-waiting for the bomb to explode.

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-And the bomb does explode.

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-As it says on the cover...

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-.."an author that trusts

-the reader's imagination."

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-You have to come to

-your own conclusions, in a way.

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-That appealed to me too.

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-It raises a lot of questions, so

-I'm glad you're here to answer them!

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-Thank you for the opportunity

-to answer them...

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-..but perhaps there are

-no answers to some of them.

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-I'm comfortable with that too.

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-It leaves it wide open

-to the imagination.

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-There are lots of sad

-and emotional passages in the novel.

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-One of those is when the children

-are old enough to realize...

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-..that they're not the same

-as other children...

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-..and that they have a disability.

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-"I can cope with them

-calling me names...

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-"..like Siriol Saucer Eyes

-and Jam-Jar Glasses.

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-"And I can cope with worse...

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-"..like Billy Bunter's sister

-in a wheelchair.

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-"But seeing Mam and Dad suffer

-is very difficult.

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-"But that's what cruel people do.

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-"They upset them and make them cry.

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-"I see them holding hands

-on the patio and crying.

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-"Seeing your parents cry

-isn't right.

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-"There's something else too.

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-"I know I'm the problem.

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-"I'm to blame.

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-"But I don't want to be a problem or

-for people to think I'm a problem.

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-"Mam and said have never said

-or thought I was.

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-"Dad says, 'No problem' to

-everything. Others are the problem.

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-"That's what I'm trying to believe,

-but I'm failing miserably.

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-"Because I am the problem,

-and that's the end of it.

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-"I'm a big, ugly, clumsy problem...

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-"..that can't walk

-and has to wear thick glasses.

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-"I'll always be a problem

-for as long as I live.

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-"And that scares me."

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-.

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-Subtitles

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-Subtitles

-

-Subtitles

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-Hazel Walford Davies

-adjudicated the Prose Medal...

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-..when Neb Ond Ni

-won first prize in 2011.

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-This was a novel...

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-..that didn't focus

-on the state of rural Wales...

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-..the Welsh-language crisis,

-grandparents...

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-..or the good old days

-when Wales enjoyed a golden era...

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-..and so on and so forth.

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-It was something

-completely different and fresh.

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-It was also striking...

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-..because it expressed great truths

-without moralizing or preaching.

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-All those elements,

-coupled with the novel's style...

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-..which is innovative in terms

-of Welsh-language literature...

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-..was exceptionally fresh.

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-In essence, what you have

-is a series of soliloquies...

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-..and a vivid imagination...

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-..woven very adeptly into the novel.

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-It's quite a complicated novel.

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-It excels...

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-..because Manon Rhys

-trusts the reader's imagination.

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-Few Welsh-language novels do that.

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-Usually,

-everything's in black and white.

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-What I like about it is that it's

-a delicate and suggestive novel.

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-"I don't like mess.

-It makes me sick.

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-"Nobody cares

-and that's why I get angry.

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-"That's why I fly into a rage.

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-"A vandal, like Dafydd Iwan.

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-"Dai says I'm like

-a Welsh-language extremist...

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-"..defacing signs

-and painting slogans.

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-"'You'll wind up in jail.'

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-"I wanted Dafydd Iwan's autograph.

-I went up to him.

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-"I said, 'I'm Dewi.'

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-"'How are you, Dewi,

-and where do you live?'

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-"'Cwm Rhyd Y Rhosyn, halfway

-between Lleyn and Bro Afallon.'

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-"I didn't say that - I couldn't.

-Just in my head.

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-"I said, 'Cwm Rhyd Y Rhosyn.'

-He looked surprised.

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-"'Well, well, the very Dewi off

-the record.' That's what he said.

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-"'The two records,' you mean.

-'You're right,' he said.

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-"'Do you want to see them?', I said.

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-"I showed him my list. 'These are

-my favourite songs,' I said.

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-"Mi Welais Long Yn Hwylio.

-Tyrd Am Dro I'r Coed.

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-"Tyrd Am Dro Ar Hyd Y Llwybr Troed.

-Ty A Gardd.

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-"'That's Siriol's favourite.'

-'Who's Siriol?'

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-"'My best friend.'

-'You have a good memory,' he said.

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-"'I know,' I said. 'You're lucky,

-my memory is failing.'

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-"'Why, are you ill?' I said. 'Old

-age comes not on its own.' he said.

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-"'I have 10 of your records,' I

-said, and I started listing them.

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-"He looked at his watch.

-'Sorry, Dewi, I have to go.'

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-"'To where?' I said. 'To a boring

-committee meeting. See you.'

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-"And off he went across the Maes."

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-I'm meeting members

-of the Ogwen Valley book club...

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-..to hear their thoughts

-on the novel.

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-The club was set up

-five years ago...

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-..in conjunction with

-Gwynedd's library service...

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-..to bring people

-with similar interests....

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-..in particular

-an interest in books, together.

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-We like having discussions...

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-..and the occasional argument.

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-Did you enjoy the novel?

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-I enjoyed it more the second time

-I read it, to be honest.

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-There's so much to digest...

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-..it's a lot to take in

-on the first read.

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-It raises a lot of questions and you

-have to draw your own conclusions.

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-It suits a deep thinker...

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-..more than someone who wants

-all the answers explained.

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-Would you agree?

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-Yes, I would. Don't get me wrong,

-I enjoyed the book.

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-But I like things

-explained in black and white.

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-I don't like enigmatic novels.

-It was left wide open.

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-There were no solutions in the book.

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-I wasn't 100% satisfied.

-I didn't like the ending either.

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-I would have liked to know

-what happened.

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-It needed more narrative

-instead of soliloquies.

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-Having said that, the

-characterisations were outstanding.

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-When I first read it,

-I was searching for clues.

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-If you read it again,

-you find those clues.

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-It's not an easy book to read,

-but it's worth reading.

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-You find out more...

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-..from the long monologues.

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-Does one scene stand out for you?

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-Not so much a scene...

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-..but the part

-where she says she has to pretend.

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-She says, "Pretending is important.

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-"Pretending

-not to see and hear things.

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-"Pretending not to understand

-or know nothing...

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-"..but hearing

-and seeing everything.

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-"Knowing and understanding

-everything but saying nothing."

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-That was really poignant.

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-Pretending is key in this novel.

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-There's an extensive use

-of dialect in the novel too.

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-I thought the language

-suited the characters.

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-It was spot-on.

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-There were a few places

-where it didn't quite work.

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-Manon's mature use

-of the language...

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-..came through perhaps

-a little more than you'd expect...

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-..but Siriol's voice

-is very endearing.

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-She has a close relationship

-with the reader.

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-That certainly comes through...

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-..in others' voices too.

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-What's happened to Dewi in the end?

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-He's gone this time,

-as the final sentence suggests.

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-They're talking about the ford...

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-..so this time,

-I think he must've drowned.

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-I disagree.

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-He'll come back

-and apologize to Siriol...

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-..just as he's done

-throughout the book.

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-And you're non-committal!

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-And you're non-committal!

-

-Yes, indeed.

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-I take it since Robin has been

-talking to Manon, he can perhaps...

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-No, there was no definite answer,

-sorry!

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-I don't know

-if he comes back or not.

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-I'm leaving the door open

-for Manon...

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-..to write another novel

-about their futures.

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-And then we can all go home happy.

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-And then we can all go home happy.

-

-Yes, much happier.

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-Dewi has a special skill.

-He's a gifted artist.

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-He makes up scenarios in his head.

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-One of them is that he's won

-a Blue Peter competition.

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-He and his stepfather, Dai,

-go on a cruise...

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-..travelling from place to place.

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-That's when he realizes

-that he's 'wrong'.

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-He realizes he'll be wrong forever.

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-"Bangor. First Class train. London.

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-"Editor of Eagle. Nice work, Boyo!

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-"Plymouth - walking on the Hoe,

-pretending to play bowls...

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-"..looking out across the sea -

-warships ahoy, gw'-boi.

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-"SS Seabird - luxury suite,

-blue and white and a feather bed.

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-"A red wine for Dai, a Coke for me.

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-"A pool on deck,

-gym, tennis and golf.

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-"Cafes, bars, casinos.

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-"Captain's Table, 'Congratulations,

-sonny, you're a star.'

0:21:250:21:28

-"The White Cliffs of Dover,

-pink in the dawn's light. Stop!

0:21:290:21:33

-"Plymouth. Dover.

0:21:330:21:36

-"Stop! Not possible.

0:21:360:21:39

-"Stupid. Wrong.

0:21:400:21:41

-"Four, five, five miles.

0:21:420:21:45

-"The Children's Atlas chart

-between them both.

0:21:450:21:49

-"Don't like being wrong.

-Don't like things being wrong.

0:21:490:21:53

-"Want things to be right.

0:21:530:21:55

-"Don't want to be stupid.

-Want to not be stupid.

0:21:550:21:59

-"Crying on my rebel bed.

0:21:590:22:01

-"Staring at the ceiling,

-hiding under the Hulk duvet.

0:22:020:22:05

-"Crying because I'm wrong,

-because I'm stupid."

0:22:060:22:08

-"Because I'm going to be

-wrong and stupid forever."

0:22:090:22:12

-S4C Subtitles by Adnod Cyf.

0:22:390:22:41

-.

0:22:410:22:42

Neb Ond Ni, nofel fuddugol cystadleuaeth y Fedal Ryddiaith 2011, yw dewis Robin McBryde. Robin McBryde, forwards' coach for the Welsh national rugby team, talks about the novel Neb Ond Ni.