Yesterday, #IndyBookTourCymru2019, day 25, was on home turf at Awen Teifi in Cardigan – a lovely, welcoming shop on Cardigan’s high street, only a stone’s throw from The Black Lion, the coaching inn which features fairly prominently in In Two Minds.
Awen Teifi is a handsome, double-fronted shop which, if the posters in the front window (see picture above) are anything to go by is right at the heart of cultural life in Cardigan. The wide open door really draws you in and, while I was there, the steady stream of shoppers included both holiday makers looking for gifts and guidebooks (plenty of both of which are available) and locals looking for cards, books, news and – on this occasion at least – an author signing some books. I felt particularly welcomed as I was greeted not only by a smiling Geraint James, the shop’s owner, but by a table full of my books just inside the door. (I’m gratified to be able to say that, by the time I left, it was a great deal emptier!) And, in true Cardi fashion, I soon had a mug of tea in one hand and a Welsh cake in the other.
Like Awen Meirion in Bala and Siop Y Pentan in Carmarthen, in addition to books in both Welsh and English, Awen Teifi sells all manner of things cultural. You can buy everything there from love spoons to Welsh folk, pop and choral music, from t-shirts with Welsh slogans to children’s books, from greetings cards to maps of the local area. And, upstairs, there is a gallery. Initially established to exhibit the work of Welsh artist Aneurin Jones the gallery now exhibits the work of other local artists including Meirion Jones . You can see some of it on the shop’s website here:
Awen Teifi also sells the local paper, The Cardigan and Tivyside Advertiser – simply known locally as ‘the Tivyside’ – as well as Welsh-language periodicals but this isn’t the only news on offer. Awen Teifi is very much at the heart of the local community and people pop in to ask about forthcoming local events and to share news.
Fellow Crime Cymru author, treasurer and webmaster, Thorne Moore, kindly popped over the river from Pembrokeshire to support me and was introduced to the old schoolmates who’d dropped in to acquire a copy or two of In Two Minds. Another Crime Cymru member, Gareth W Williams, also came to say hello and I constantly found myself swapping from English to Welsh and back again, depending on who I was speaking to. And Geraint and Rhian do the same.
In recent times the Welsh Government has set up Welsh language centres in key areas where Welsh learners can be confident of an environment where not only is Welsh spoken but they will be encouraged to use the language. But, from what I’ve seen in Cardigan, Carmarthen and Bala, those towns don’t need a centre – Awen Teifi, Siop Y Pentan and Awen Meirion do the job naturally.
Awen Teifi is so much more than a shop where you can buy books, music and kids toys. It’s a hub of the community.
Diolch o galon i Geraint a Rhian am croeso mor cynnes. Many thanks to Geraint and Rhian for such a warm welcome at Awen Teifi. I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m back.