‘Gang Wars, Opium Dens, and a Surrogacy Clinic’ acclaimed author, Tishani Doshi talks with Dr Fflur Dafydd about the challenges of reinterpreting the Mabinogion

On Tuesday, November 4, the highly-acclaimed writer and dancer of Welsh-Gujarati descent, Tishani Doshi, will talk with Dr Fflur Dafydd, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Swansea University, about the challenges of reinterpreting the Mabinogion in her latest book, Fountainville (New Stories from the Mabinogion).

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‌Fountainville retells the tale of Owain, or The Lady of the Fountain, from the Mabinogion, and completes Seren's 10-volume reworking of the Mabinogion by contemporary writers.

Tishani Doshi Tishani’s debut collection of poems, Countries of the Body, won the prestigious Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 2006. Her first novel, The Pleasure Seekers, was published to critical acclaim by Bloomsbury in 2010 and translated into several languages. Tishani works as a freelance journalist, and her work has appeared in newspapers and journals such as the Guardian, the National, and the Hindu. She also performs internationally with the Indian dance group, Chandralekha.

Earlier this year, Tishani (pictured) was appointed as a judge of the International Dylan Thomas Prize. Sponsored by Swansea University, the Prize is one of the most prestigious awards for young writers, aimed at encouraging raw creative talent worldwide.

During the talk, ‘Gang Wars, Opium Dens, and a Surrogacy Clinic’, Tishani will talk about the precarious position of coming to the Mabinogion as an outsider, the dangers of meddling with other people's myths, and how an article on India's ‘rent-a-womb’ business, the TV show Deadwood, and a trip with Médecins Sans Frontières to Nagaland gave her a launch pad to create her mythical town of Fountainville. 

Tishani, said: "Myths, like memories, are not constant. They are vague, changeable, geographically indeterminate, subsisting upon layers and layers of ever-shifting narrative. Myths, like memories, are often collective. It means that no matter how close we hold to them, they themselves don’t accept boundaries. They are forever open, ready to be transformed and reinterpreted. For this reason, and perhaps, to tap into my latent Welshness, I agreed to enter the world of the Mabinogion, ready to take on, for me, all those unpronounceable Welsh names and fantastical Celtic happenings”.

The talk is part of Swansea University’s Research Institute of Arts and Humanities annual series of free public lectures brings the best of Arts and Humanities research from Swansea and beyond to new, non-academic audiences: policy-makers, opinion formers, the general public.

Location: Wallace Lecture Theatre, Swansea University, SA2 8PP

Date: Tuesday, 4th November

Time: 6.30pm (reception from 6pm)

Admission is free.  All welcome.

For further information: riah@swansea.ac.uk