Chris Meredith, Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing
Chris Meredith, Emeritus Professor of English, has a novel and a poetry collection published simultaneously.
Christopher Meredith is one of the best writers Wales has produced. He has been publishing collections of poetry and books of fiction more or less alternately since he started getting into print in 1984. This year, for the first time, Seren is publishing his novel Please and his book of poetry Still on the same day.
Christopher Meredith isn’t prolific. What counts is the quality, as evidenced by the fact that Meredith is one of only two living authors in the University of Wales Press’s Writers of Wales series (the other is Ruth Bidgood). His previous novels are Shifts (1988), Griffri (1991), Sidereal Time (1998), and The Book of Idiots (2012). His volume of short stories Brief Lives was published in 2018. His poetry collections are This (1984), Snaring Heaven (1990), The Meaning of Flight (2005), Black Mountains (2011) and Air Histories (2013).
Of this year’s duo, Still combines a huge range of formal and linguistic techniques and subject matter with an underlying coherence of voice and theme. Please is a short comic novel and a literary novel of utter seriousness which takes language both as central force and central problem. It is unlike any other fiction in existence.
Still uses the title word as a fulcrum to balance various paradoxical concerns: stillness and motion, memory and forgetting, sanity and madness, survival and extinction.It shifts between the personal and impersonal, developing a characteristically wide range of forms, techniques, settings and moods from quirky to serious, while increasingly an underlying coherence of vision emerges.
Punctuation killed my wife.’ So opens Christopher Meredith’s novel, Please. Octogenarian language geek Vernon, who’s never written a book, tries to find a way to write the story of his long marriage to Hannah. Under the comic surface of Vernon’s pompous voice hides a story of murderous fantasy, obsession, passion and regret. A verbally brilliant tragicomic short novel with some surprising twists and a moving denouement.
Both are available from Seren Books.
Christopher Meredith is an award-winning novelist, poet and translator, the author of five novels, a volume of short stories and six collections of poetry. His debut novel Shifts won an Eric Gregory Award, the Arts Council of Wales Young Writer Prize and the Fiction Prize. His second novel, Griffri, was shortlisted for the Wales Book of the Year Award. His collection of poems, The Meaning of Flight, was long listed for Wales Book of the Year in 2006. He has broadcast on radio and TV and given readings and talks all round Britain as well as in the Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Germany, Finland, Ireland, Slovenia and the USA. Born and brought up in Tredegar, he has been a steelworker, a schoolteacher and a university professor and now writes full time.