Since the start of 2015, Cockatrice Books has been publishing ground-breaking short stories from Wales and beyond, masterful novels, brilliant nonfiction and outstanding scholarship representing the best of Welsh literature from the 7th Century to the 20th, along with challenging fiction and poetry by Roger Granelli, Nigel Jarrett, A. L. Reynolds and Rob Mimpriss. The hell with your red dragon – it’s the Cockatrice leads the way.
River of Hope by Roger Granelli
For the doctor and missionary, Albert Schweitzer, life on the banks of the Ogowe river has settled into a kind of tranquillity. Since returning to Gabon from his wartime internment in France he has rebuilt his hospital, and when not treating his patients for leprosy, scabies or gangrene he has his music, his letters from his wife, and his books.
Then the Welshman, Adam Hope, comes to Lambaréné, a riverboat captain and trader in alcohol and timber, deeply troubled not only by his actions during the Great War but by his complicity in the injustices of colonialism. With him comes Pieters the Belgian, dissolute and degenerate, and between them they wield the power to destroy Schweitzer’s work — or save it.
This new novel by the award-winning writer, Roger Granelli, is at once a vivid evocation of the beauties and horrors of the primeval forest; a profound meditation on redemption, violence and revenge; and an intricate portrayal of colonial relationships as Europe’s age of dominance comes to an end.
Seaside Towns by A. L. Reynolds
For Anatoliy Yetvushenko, émigré and physicist, it should be the perfect holiday. Llandudno calls to his mind the Black Sea holidays of his childhood in the Ukraine, while his companion, Francis, is just beginning to awaken to the possibilities of male sexual love in the first years following its legalisation. But Anatoliy has memories of an earlier holiday in Lyme Regis in the 1950s, where his previous lover, who now lives near Llandudno, left him to make a loveless marriage. With its awareness of the landscape of the north coast of Wales, of quantum physics and of deep time, this novel reflects the search for intimacy and fulfilment in the shadow of political tyranny and sexual persecution.
‘gentle yet searing, introspective yet intensely physical. A real gem of a book… Seek it out if you can.’
Rachel Rees, Buzz Magazine
‘the wonder, the intensity, the profound gratitude of [sexual love]… the intimately human [cast] in an epic light, in the awesome interconnectedness of all’
Niall Griffiths, Nation Cymru
Five Go to Switzerland & Other Stories by Nigel Jarrett
A daughter curious about her widowed father’s love life; a woman survivor of domestic abuse; a wife who learns something startling about her jazz-loving husband at his funeral; an old actor facing memory loss; a couple whose son was executed by militants; a black American academic staying in Wordsworth country while his university investigates a student complaint; an early 20th-century scullery maid being taught to read by a sinister manservant… and more.
In his fourth wide-ranging and vivid collection, award-winning writer Nigel Jarrett disturbs the clear, slow-flowing waters of ordinary lives to reveal their complications and unresolved tensions, and to celebrate those who emerge from tribulation chastened but unvanquished.
‘Here are vivid and vital stories that crackle like bushfire and ignite delight… I read them with unbridled pleasure and holy envy.’
‘Jarrett’s stories take seemingly ordinary or innocent situations and gently tease out their emotional complexity.’
Lesley McDowell, The Independent
‘Explaining what Jarrett does with language is a bit like trying to map gossamer with a chunky felt-tip.’
Pugnacious Little Trolls by Rob Mimpriss
Nominated for the Wales Book of the Year Award
A White Review Book of the Year for 2023
In his first three short-story collections, Rob Mimpriss painstakingly mapped the unregarded lives of Welsh small-town and country-dwellers. In Pugnacious Little Trolls, he combines the skill and quiet eloquence of his earlier work with confident experimentation, with stories set among the bird-bodied harpies of Central America, among the dog-headed Cynocephali of Central Asia, among humanity’s remote descendants at the very end of the universe, and in the muddle of slag-heaps and job centres that H. G. Wells’s Country of the Blind has become. In the three stories at the heart of the collection is Tanwen, idealistic and timid, embarking on her adult life in the shadow of global warming and English nationalism.
‘Where is the Welsh short story going? Wherever Rob Mimpriss takes it.’
‘freely and fiercely inventive short stories… supercharged with ideas’
Jon Gower, Nation Cymru
‘Beyond question Wales’s finest and most subtle short-story writer working today… A work of great beauty and subtle force, a fine, distinctive voice.’
‘bathed in white fire in every sense… Borges would happily own them.’
Published as part of the Wales in Europe series: celebrating the past and future of Wales as an independent nation.
The Sleeping Bard by Ellis Wynne
Translated by T. Gwynn Jones, with an introduction by Rob Mimpriss
Three nightmare visions of the world, of death and of hell.
The anonymous poet is dragged from sleep by the fairies of Welsh myth, and rescued by an angel is taken to see the City of Doom, whose citizens vie for the favour of Belial’s three beautiful daughters; to the realm of King Death, the rebellious vassal of Lucifer; and finally to Hell itself, where Lucifer debates with his demons which sin shall rule Great Britain.
First published in 1703, this classic of religious allegory and Welsh prose combines all the blunt urgency of John Bunyan with the vivid social satire of Dryden and Pope, and is published in the T. Gwynn Jones translation of 1940, with an introduction by Rob Mimpriss reflecting on its political significance as the union of England and Scotland comes to an end.
Published as part of the Wales in Europe series, celebrating the past and future of Wales as an independent nation.