Born into a seafaring family, Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch grew up in New Quay, Ceredigion. After reading Classics at Cambridge University, she took an MA in Creative Writing at Cardiff University. She lived in Oxford, Paris and the Isles of Scilly before returning to New Quay.
A pamphlet, Stranded in Ithaca, published by the Redbeck Press in 1998 was followed by an acclaimed first full collection from Seren, Rockclimbing in Silk, in 2001, which confirmed her as an idiosyncratic poet with a startling imagination and a true facility for sensuous and arresting imagery. The recipient of a Hawthorden Fellowship in 2005 to complete her second collection, Not In These Shoes, she is the first Welsh poet to join the prestigious Picador list.
Samantha’s new collection, as its title suggests, draws on multiple voices and lives, including those of the poet’s own (‘Doing Time’ is an account of her experiences while a novitiate nun in 1996). Amplifying themes explored in Rockclimbing in Silk, this is a book about connections and disconnections between people and place, history and subjectivity. In many ways, it’s also a book about the writing process itself. The potential demonstrated in earlier work seems to have found its true fulfilment in highly polished poems which are, by turns, witty, disturbing and sad. For some years now, Wynne-Rhydderch has been one of Wales’ better kept secrets. With the publication of Not In These Shoes that looks set to change.
Not In These Shoes, Picador, London, 2008
Rockclimbing in Silk, Seren, Bridgend, 2001
Stranded on Ithica (pamphlet), Redbeck Press, Bradford, 1998
Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch’s home page
Visit Samantha’s website for poems and updates of events.
Three Poems at Transcript