Caernarfon, the Setting for Caersaint

2 Mar 2010

It was her love for the town of Caernarfon that inspired the author Angharad Price to write her latest novel,  Caersaint  (Y Lolfa). The book will be launched at the Anglesey Arms hotel in Caernarfon on Thursday 4 March at 7pm where the band Celt will be playing.

Three years ago, returning to live in Caernarfon gave Angharad Price so much pleasure that she decided to put pen to paper to show her appreciation for the place she calls home and started writing a novel based on the town called Caersaint.

The story follows Jaman Jones as he struggles to ‘find himself’ after inheriting Arfonia Bugbird’s house. His return to Caersaint after fleeing the town years ago awakens the curiosity of his neighbours. We’re introduced to a number of the town’s characters including the local rag’s editor, Babs Inc, a number of the Mona pub locals and Tonwen Bold, wife of Med Medra who intends to rebuild Caersaint and battle his way to win the town Mayor election. As an outsider he faces stiff opposition from the locals – will anyone be brave enough to stand in his way?

Anyone familiar with Caernarfon will recognize the town as the backdrop to this novel, but its story and issues are relevant to any town in any part of Wales and Angharad is quick to point out that no one in Caernarfon will fully recognize any of Caersaint’s residents.

"I’ve been very careful not to use any real people in the novel, but that doesn’t mean that things that I’ve overheard being said haven’t been used. Most of the dialogue in the book has been inspired by conversations I’ve heard, and on most occasions, it’s the conversations that have inspired the characters," explains Angharad Price who comes originally from Bethel, just outside Caernarfon.

Like every other town in Wales, Caersaint has its fair share of characters, but it also has its problems, and it’s from many of these problems that the story derives.  

"There were some things that I particularly wanted to include in the novel, like the tension in the town between tourism and heritage, history and myths. But I also wanted to convey the liveliness of the town," says the author.   

Angharad Price’s second novel O, Tyn y Gorchudd won her the Prose Medal at the National Eisteddfod in 2002 and Book of the Year in 2003. She now lectures in Welsh at Bangor University where writing and Welsh literature is a part of her daily life, but with two young children, finding time to write for her own pleasure is something of a struggle.  

"I’d say that writing is one of the most important things in my life and borders on being a necessity. It does mean it takes up what little spare time that I have, but it’s worth the sacrifice!"

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