Leigh Verrill-Rhys | Editor

Writing About War & Danger

Along with my editing of the autobiographies of Welsh Women and my mother’s memoir of her experience during World War II, I have reviewed books by veterans of the Vietnam War. A new imprint for Eres Books, Veterans Words, will give me the opportunity to help military veterans and first responders bring their stories to those of us who depend on them to run toward danger on our behalf.

Much like my work with Honno, which brought ordinary Welsh women’s extraordinary experiences in civilian life (On My Life) and during World War II (Parachutes & Petticoats), my job will be to read and prepare veterans’ words — in whatever form they are written (poetry, lyrics, short stories, books, novels) — for publication.

The details of the offer to our heroes and submission procedures are on the website: VeteransWords.EresBooks.

If you know of anyone who writes or wants to write about these traumatic experiences, please mention this opportunity to express thoughts and feelings without censure and with remuneration ($).

To get this effort started, the first book on offer is Following the Troops: Life for an Army Wife 1941-1945.

Other Books by Veterans

I have read & reviewed many books by veterans, including most recently Cherries and When Can I Stop Running? by John Podlaski both of which are available for purchase online at Barnes & Noble, along with two short stories, Unwelcomed and Unhinged.

Congratulations, John!

Anthologies of Women’s Autobiography

From 1987, I was a Director and Editor for Honno: Welsh Women’s Press. During the same period, I have been an international book distributor and marketing consultant for writers, artists and businesses in Wales.

I began my writing career in San Francisco as a short story writer for several small magazines and the Public Broadcasting Service. Once I had moved to Wales, I concentrated on editing the autobiographical and non-fiction writing of women living in Wales with the publication of On My Life – a collection that won second prize in the Raymond Williams Award for Community Publishing in 1990.

I was given an Arts Council of Wales grant to join the masterclass of the poet, Leslie Norris, at the Hay Festival a short time later. I had been involved with the Writers on Tour scheme of the Arts Council as well as a member of the Undeb Awduron Cymru for several years. When the influential Welsh language writers’ union and the Writers’ Union of Wales were incorporated into the Academi Gymreig, I became a member of the Academi.

In 1992, I had the privilege of working with the historian, Deirdre Beddoe, on the collection, Parachutes & Petticoats, inspired by my mother’s experiences during World War II, a book that has enjoyed several reprints and is available again in a new format since January 2010. And, in 2002, Iancs, Conshîs a Spam was published as the Welsh language companion volume to Parachutes – stories and experiences of Welsh-speaking women in Wales written in their first language, offers a different perspective on the experience of women in war.

These books have found their way into bibliographies in books such as Shelter Me by Alex McAulay, Older Widows And The Life Course: Multiple Narratives Of Hidden Lives (New Perspectives on Ageing and Later Life) by Pat Chambers, The World We Have Won: The Remaking of Erotic and Intimate Life by Jeffrey Weeks, Women’s History: Britain, 1850-1945: An Introduction (Women’s and Gender History) by June Purvis, Ail: Webster’s Timeline History, 450 BC – 2007 by Icon Group International among others – about which I am very proud and a little surprised.