Real Cardiff

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Bute Street
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The Garth
Gorsedd Gardens
Hadfield Road
Lloyd George Ave
Mount Stuart Square
Newport Road

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Womanby St.

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Cardiff as a source for inspiration is certainly growing. For a long time Dannie Abse, Howard Spring and David Martin were about the only writers with any interest in the city that gave the world Tiger Bay. But that was before the Bay-driven boom made the Capital a sexy place to be.

The list which follows is not definitive and I'd welcome suggestions for additions. These are the works that I've identified that have some creative connection with Cardiff. They are a mix of novels, short fiction, creative autobiography and a few poems. Many are still in print.


Abse, Dannie, Ash On A Young Man's Sleeve, Hutchinson, 1954
Abse, Dannie, There Was A Young Man From Cardiff, Hutchinson, 1991
Abse, Dannie, A Poet In The Family, Hutchinson, 1974
Aithie, Patricia, The Burning Ashes of Time, From Steamer Point to Tiger Bay, Seren, 2005
Azzopardi, Trezza, The Hiding Place, Picador, 2000
Brito, Leonora, Dat's love, Seren, 1995
Burke, Sean, Deadwater, Serpent's Tail, 2002
Bush, Allan, Last Bird Singing, Seren, 2008
Bush, Duncan, Glass Shot, Secker and Warburg, 1991
Collier, Catrin, Tiger Bay Blues, Orion, 2006
Cory, Desmond, The Circe Complex, 1975
Cory, Desmond, A Bit of a Shunt up the River, 1974
Cory, Desmond, The Strange Attractor, 1991
Cory, Desmond, The Dobie Paradox, 1993
Craig, David (James, Bill), The Tattooed Detective, 1998
Craig, David (James, Bill), Torch, 1999
Craig, David (James, Bill), Bay City, 2000
Dahl, Roald, Boy, Tales of Childhood, 1984
Davies, Grahame, Cadwyni Rhyddid, Cyhoeddiadau Barddas, 2001
Davis, Anna, Melting, Hodder & Stoughton, 2000
Davies, Lewis, My Piece of Happiness, Parthian, 1999
Davies, Tom, Fire In The Bay, Collins, 1989
Eirian, Siôn, Bob Yn Y Ddinas, 1979
Finch, Peter & Davies, Grahame (editors), The Big Book of Cardiff, Seren, 2005
Ffloyd, Darren, Match Day, 2010
Gill, Peter, Small Change, Samuel French Ltd., London, 1979
Gill, Peter, Cardiff East, Faber & Faber, London, 1997
Gruffydd, W. J., Hen Atgofion, Gomer
Harris, Rosie, Troubled Waters, Arrow, 2002
Harris, Rosie, One Step Forward, Arrow, 2003
Harris, Rosie, Pins and Needles, Arrow, 2004
Harris, Rosie, At Sixes & Sevens, Arrow, 2005
Harris, Rosie, Sunshine and Showers, Arrow, 2005
Harris, Rosie, Love Against All Odds, William Heinemann, 2007
Hawes, James, White Powder, Green Light, Cape 2002
James, Bill, Middleman, The Do Not Press, 2002
Jarman, Geraint, Cerddi Alfred Street, Gomer, 1976
Jones, Goronwy, Dyddiadur Dyn Dwad, 1978
Jones, Ifan Morgan, Yr Argraff Gyntaf , Lolfa, 2010
Jones, Jack, River Out of Eden, Hamish Hamilton, 1951
Lalwani, Nikita, Gifted, Penguin, 2008
Lewis, Dennis, The Fevered Hive, Accent Press, 2005
Llywelyn-Williams, Alun, Gwanwyn Yn Y Ddinas, 1975
Mallalieu, Jonathan, The Prince of Wales and Stories, Phoenix, 1993
Mathews, David, The Prince of Wales' Feathers, 1952
Martin, David, Tiger Bay, Martin & Reid, 1946
Mills, Topher, The Bicycle is an Easy Pancake, Red Sharks Press
Owen, Llwyd, Ffawd Cywilydd a Chelwyddau, Y Lolfa, 2006
Owen, Llwyd, Ffydd Gobaith Cariad, Y Lolfa, 2006
Owen, Llwyd, Yr Ergyd Olaf, Y Lolfa, 2007
Owen, Llwyd, Mr Blaidd, Y Lolfa, 2009
Owen, Llwyd, Faith, Hope & Love, Alcemi, 2010
Picton, Bernard (Bernard Knight), Tiger At Bay, Robert Hale, 1970
Pritchard Jones, Harri, Bod yn Rhydd, 1992.
Robson, Lloyd, Cardiff Cut, Parthian Books, 2001
Rhydderch, Francesca (ed), Cardiff Central, Gomer, 2003
Rubens, Bernice, Yesterday In The Back Lane, 1995
Spring, Howard, Heaven Lies About Us, Constable, 1939
Stephens, Meic (editor), A Cardiff Anthology, Seren, 1987
Stevenson, Across The Bridge, Gomer, 1973
Thomas, Ifor, Unsafe Sex, Parthian
Thomas, W. Elvet, Tyfu'n Gymro, Gomer, 1972
Townend, W, Once To Tiger Bay, 1929
Walsh, J. M., Once In Tiger Bay, 1947
Walsh, J. M., Retrurn to Tiger Bay, 1950
Walsh, J. M., King of Tiger Bay, 1952
White, Jon Manchip, Journeying Boy, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1991
Williams, Herbert, Punters, Gomer, 2002
Williams, John, Five Pubs, Two Bars and a Nightclub, Bloomsbury, 1999
Williams, John, Cardiff Dead, Bloomsbury, 2000
Williams, John, The Prince Of Wales, Bloomsbury, 2003
Williams, John, Temperance Town, Bloomsbury, 2004
Williams, John, The Cardiff Trilogy (Five Pubs, Cardiff Dead & The Prince of Wales), Bloomsbury, 2006
Williams, Nia, The Pier Glass, Honno, 2001
Wyn, Nia, Blue Sky July, Seren, 2007

And one that's not a fiction or even really an autobiography but is pretty interesting nonetheless is Brian Lee's latest picture book, A Cardiff Century - A Capital City For Wales - published by Breedon Books and available all over the city. Brian has managed to collect shots of the Feeder, uncovered, flowing down the centre of Churchill Way, the town wall outside the Rose & Crown on Kingsway, the old Central Cinema on The Hayes, The Gaumont on Queen Street, the Salutation and its regulars and a hundred other items of genuine interest. The price is £16.99 but I've seen it marked down. Hunt it out.

Brian Lee is also the author of The Illustrated History of Cardiff Pubs (Breedon Books £14.99) which starts at the Pine Apple Inn, St Mary Street and finishes in the bowling alley of the Half Way in Cathedral Road. Names change, pubs close, the demographics shift and the drinkers move on. Blonde wood replaces dark. Lager replaces ale. Scrumpy is forgotten. The book is fascinating for its shots of the ones that have gone: The Red Cow in Womanby Street, The Greyhound in Bridge Street, The Rover Vaults in Wellington Street, The Marchioness of Bute in Frederick Street. There's a list of ancient taverns reprinted from Matthews' Cardiff Records and a decent introduction that covers "the ramshackle, frowsy, tumble-down hotbeds of sin and iniquity" to the full. Brian is working on future volumes. Contact him at




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