Online Conference – Imagining History: Wales in Fiction and Fact / Dychmygu Hanes: Cymru mewn Ffuglen a Ffaith

Event Location:
Hosted online by the University of South Wales - With an accompanying Exhibition at Oriel y Bont, University of South Wales

Event Date: 12/11/2021 - 13/11/2021
Event Starts: 12/11/21 09:00 am Event Ends: 13/11/21 07:45 pm


Imagined histories in the form of historical fiction, films or television programmes are often at the heart of how we think about our national and personal identities. Historical narratives based on ‘fact’ have always shaped our thinking about our nation, our communities and ourselves but they are often partial, fragmentary or distorted by particular vested interests.

Historical fictions can allow us to re-imagine those narratives, filling the gaps and silences in recorded history. They can help us to imagine alternative histories as well as new futures. This conference will explore the ways in which such fictions exist in a complex and sometimes contentious tension with mainstream historiographies.

Keynote Panels

  • Y Castell SiwgrWales and transatlantic slavery – Angharad Tomos’s novel Y Castell Siwgr tells the story of the transatlantic links between Penrhyn castle and the plantations of Jamaica. To discuss the novel and explore the wider issue of slavery and its connections to Wales, Angharad is joined by Professor Chris Evans (University of South Wales), Audrey West and Dr Marian Gwyn (Head of Heritage, Race Council Cymru). Also includes a reading from the novel by Mirain Iwerydd.
  • The Welsh in Ukraine: Fact and Fiction – the story of Merthyr-born John Hughes and the city he founded in Ukraine inspired both the three-part television history series Hughesovka and the New Russia and Catrin Collier’s trilogy, The Tsar’s Dragons. Dr James Phillips (Llafur) talks to novelist Catrin Collier and Colin Thomas, the director of the television series.
  • Raymond Williams Panel: Turning History into Fiction – the influential work of theorist and historical novelist Raymond Williams, author of The People of the Black Mountains, will be discussed by historian and writer Rhian E. Jones, Williams’s biographer, the historian and novelist Professor Dai Smith, and Professor Daniel Williams (Swansea University). Chaired by Professor Diana Wallace (University of South Wales).
  • How Green Was My Valley (BBC, 1975-6) – Join us for a screening of an episode of the BBC adaptation of Richard Llewelyn’s 1939 novel set in the Victorian period (by special permission of the BBC). With an introduction by actress Sue Jones Davies (who played Angharad Morgan in the BBC series) and contextualisation by historian Professor Angela V. John. UPDATE: Due to concerns about the upcoming changes in Covid restrictions this event will no longer take place in person. It will now take place online. If you have booked for the main conference, a link for this event will be sent to you via email so there is no need to book for the event separately.

See the full draft programme here


You will need to register for the event via Eventbrite using the following link:

The online events will be presented via Zoom and Microsoft Teams. You will receive a reminder email, including a link to join and details of how to use Zoom/Teams in advance of the event.

For more information contact Professor Diana Wallace and/or Dr James Philips.

Organisers and Sponsors

Organisers: University of South Wales, Association of Welsh Writing in English, Llafur: the Welsh People’s History Society, Women’s Archive Wales, and Pontypridd Museum.

Sponsors: The event is kindly supported by the University of South Wales, the Learned Society of Wales, Archif Menywod Cymru/Women’s Archive Wales, and Llafur: the Welsh People’s History Society.

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