Monday 30 November 2015


Six Welsh writers have been chosen to appear at one of the world’s most prestigious book fairs.

Owen Martell, Jon Ronson, John Harrison, Rebecca F John, Ian Sinclair and Joe Dunthorne will join a group of UK writers being taken to the Guadalajara International Book Fair in Mexico by the British Council. The UK literary scene is the focus of this year’s Fair, taking place from 28 November to 6 December 2015. 

The event is one of the largest book fairs in the world, second only to Frankfurt. In 2014 there were more than 760,000 visitors, including 2,700 journalists, and one million visitors are expected this year.  

The authors’ visit comes towards the end of 2015 the Year of the UK and Mexico, which has seen links between the two countries strengthened. 

Jenny Scott, director of British Council Wales, said: “The Fair will build links between Welsh writers, publishers and literary organisations, and readers, publishers, and rights organisations in Mexico and the Latin American region.  We’re pleased six of Wales’s best writers will have the chance to showcase Welsh culture and literature, as well as sharing Wales’s expertise in bilingualism, translation and literary community work. I’m sure they will inspire many book fair visitors to discover Wales for themselves.” 

John Harrison wrote his book 1519: A Journey to the End of Time after following the route of the Spanish explorer Cortés across Mexico for four months, while recovering from cancer. He is looking forward to revisiting the country: 

“I am looking forward to returning to Mexico which I first visited two years ago, still recovering from throat cancer treatment, and unable to eat solid food - so Mexican food is definitely on my menu.  I also hope to interest publishers from all parts of the world in writing coming out of Wales, there is so much happening.  I would also like to spread the word about the wonderful depth and range of cultural sites in Mexico.  Although I travelled for four months for my book, I could travel another four without sampling everything.  I won't tire of it; Mexico is the most hospitable country I have ever visited.”

Richard Davies, director of Parthian Books, publishers of Rebecca F John and John Harrison, said:

“We are grateful to the British Council for enabling us to send two authors to Guadalajara, it is an important event in the international publishing calendar and a perfect place for Parthian to showcase its new Carnivale list of writers to the wider world.  In Rebecca F John, Wales has a new writer who is already making a mark internationally winning the Pen New Writers Award, while John Harrison is a master of the travel writing genre, winning many awards, whose new book engages directly with Mexican culture.”

Notes to Editor

The Guadalajara International Book Fair is the most important publishing event in South America. It was created 29 years ago by the University of Guadalajara, the Fair is aimed at literary professionals and the general public alike, a characteristic that sets it apart from other book fairs around the world. With business as one of its main goals, it is also a cultural festival in which literature plays a major role, including a programme of events featuring authors from every continent, and a forum for the academic discussion of the major issues of our time. 

The Authors:

Joe Dunthorne was born in Swansea and is a novelist, poet and journalist, who first made his name with his novel Submarine, which was made into a film in 2010. His second novel, Wild Abandon, won the Society of Authors' Encore award.

John Harrison won the 2011 Wales Book of the Year with Cloud Road: A Journey Through the Inca Heartland. Forgotten Footprints won the 2013 Wales Book of the Year Creative non-fiction prize, and the British Guild of Travel Writers' Best Narrative Travel Book.

Rebecca F John grew up on the south Wales coast. She was the winner of the PEN International New Voices Award 2015 and shortlisted for The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award 2015. 

Owen Martell grew up in Pontneddfechan, South Wales. Owen was Wales Book of the Year Winner 2001 and short–listed for Wales Book of the Year in 2004.

John Ronson is a Welsh journalist, author, documentary filmmaker and radio presenter whose works include the best-selling The Men Who Stare at Goats.

Iain Sinclair was born in Cardiff and is a writer and filmmaker. His books include Black Apples of Gower and London Orbital.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.

We work in more than 100 countries and our 8,000 staff – including 2000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the Arts and delivering education and society programmes.

We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A core publically-funded grant-in-aid provides less than 20 per cent of our turnover which last year was £864m. The rest of our revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, through education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally.

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