Elizabeth Jane Corbett – Australia

In 2015/16, I spent seven months working as a coordinator at Stiwdio Maelor. During that time, I improved my Welsh, fulfilled a lifelong dream of living in Wales and finished my coming-of-age novel that started the whole oh-my-God-I’m-a-Welsh-woman part of my journey. That novel, The Tides Between, has since been picked up by Odyssey Books and will be published in 2017.

While staying in Corris, some friends and I met on a Pwllheli beach one hot summer afternoon. We fell to talking about Owain Glyn Dwr (as you do) and lamenting that although he was equivalent to the Welsh Brave Heart, no one had ever made a major motion picture about him.

Now staying close to Machynlleth, you can’t ignore the presence of Glyn Dwr. On a visit to the Glyn Dwr museum, I picked up a short book about him. It seems no one knows exactly why he rose in revolt in 1400 and subsequent readings of much longer books have still not sufficient answered that question (though, I now have theories). I am ill qualified and, quite frankly, not interest in writing a book about his battles. However, I couldn’t help noticing Glyn Dwr had a wife. Though most male historians barely mention her. When they do, it is generally in the same breath as they mention Glyn Dwr losing Harlech Castle and his household effects. I thought: what would it be like to be married to a man who took on the might of the English crown and lost.

Margaret, her name was, and, just between you and me, I wouldn’t have been too pleased about the situation. Then again, maybe she supported his cause? If so, how did she feel about ending her days in The Tower of London. My novel will seek to answer those questions. But here’s the thing, when I describe her tragic story to women, I always get an, oh no, how awful, response. However, I made the mistake of running my spiel past two young Aussie blokes recently. Silence. They blinked, like owls. Then one of them said: but you’ll have swords and things.

I suppose I will, seeing as there were in fact a few battles. But this is primarily a woman’s story and, as a psychological writer, I’m more interested in Margaret’s inner journey. I will visit the Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru/National Library of Wales during my time at Maelor and some of the sites from Margaret’s life. I will also start editing The Tides Between, attending Welsh classes and speaking as much Welsh as my time allows.