Mar 9, 2010

Mystery novel traces a lost nose belonging to Twm Shôn Catti author

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Prichards Nose front cover detail
Pritchard’s Nose, the debut novel of Sam Adams, tells the tale of a man who lost his nose in strange circumstances.

Intrigued by the mysterious legend of the man with a hole where his nose should be, Martin, a literary researcher, goes on the trail of a long-lost manuscript belonging to Thomas Prichard, the 19th century author of the tales of the Welsh highwayman, Twm Sion Cati. Woven into this literary detective story is the fictional autobiography of Prichard himself, following him from his childhood in rural Wales, along the drovers' road to London and a career on the stage. The novel ends with the puzzle of how Prichard ended his days down and out in Swansea and without his nose.

In this revealing story, Sam Adams’s nose for the Welsh past is combined with his poet’s eye to bring the nineteenth century alive to all our senses.

Sam Adams said, ‘This is a book that had to be written in order to satisfy an obsession with Prichard that has extended over thirty years. What I knew of Prichard when I began looking into his life was that he had written a novel called Twm Shôn Catti about a remarkable, eccentric character well remembered still, especially in Tregaron, his home patch, who in real life, as Thomas Jones Esq., 400 years ago, had been a poet, antiquary and genealogist, but in legend became famous as a merry rogue who, by disguise, mimicry, trickery and wit, and no little courage, overcame his enemies and won at last the hand of a grand lady.

‘The little we know for certain of the history of Prichard himself is almost as strange and fascinating as that of Twm Shôn Catti, and I have not been able to let go of it. Prichard’s Nose is an attempt to fill in all those gaps in his life that research could not bridge. Why was his childhood spent in a remote farm high on the mountain above Sennybridge? How did he find his way to London as a boy? Why did he hate the Reverend Benjamin Jones of Builth? Why did he choose Jeffery Llewelyn as a pen name? How did he become an actor? And how did he lose his nose?’

Sam Adams comes from Gilfach Goch, Glamorgan and is a former editor of Poetry Wales and a former chairman of the English-language section of Yr Academi Gymreig. He edited the Collected Poems and Collected Stories of Roland Mathias, is the author of three monographs in the ‘Writers of Wales’ series and is a frequent contributor of poems, criticism and essays to a number of magazines. He published his third collection of poems, Missed Chances in 2007.

Pritchard’s Nose (£9.95) will be published by Y Lolfa on the 16 March 2010

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