The Writers of Wales Database


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Nigel Jarrett

Short-story writer, essayist and poet. Winner of the Rhys Davies prize for short fiction. His work has appeared in London Magazine, the Observer magazine, Poetry Wales, Agenda, Outposts, Poetry Ireland, The Black Mountain Review (Ulster), Cambrensis, The Raconteur, New Welsh Review, The Interpreter's House, Planet, The Salisbury Review, Cambria, the British Music Society Journal and many others. His winning Rhys Davies prize story, Mrs Kuroda on Penyfan, is included in the Library of Wales 21st century short fiction anthology.

In 2011-12, Parthian published his first story collection, Funderland, which hooked a raft of enthusiastic reviews, including in the Guardian, the Independent on Sunday, the Times, New Welsh Review, Planet and others, and was long-listed for the Edge Hill Prize.

Nigel's first poetry collection, Miners At The Quarry Pool, was published by Parthian in November 2013. It was edited by poet Alan Kellermann and the cover design is based on one of Nigel's portrait drawings of coalminers. There are more details on the Parthian website, where an interview with the author has been uploaded. It's been reviewed  in Poetry Wales, the New Welsh Review, on (the Welsh Books Council site) and also favourably in a downloadable conversational podcast by John Barnie and Richard Marggraf Turley under the auspices of Planet magazine. Reviews are also forthcoming in Lunar Poetry, Acumen and others.

Nigel's stories appear frequently on literary websites, some with a print version as well, including The View from Here, Words with JAM, The Lampeter Review, Gold Dust, Prole magazine and the Galway-based magazine Crannóg. He contributed articles and reviews on music to the online Wales Arts Review before its demise and for many years was music critic of the South Wales Argus, where he succeeded the distinguished critic and broadcaster Kenneth Loveland. He's also been interviewed on author websites, including by the novelist Vanessa Gebbie and on the Authorise and Writers Corner Cymru sites.

In September 2013 he collaborated with curator Ron McCormick on the catalogue for an exhibition of marine paintings at Southampton Solent University by the Welsh artist Clive McCarthy.For two years he's been writing a light-hearted column called Monmouthshire Meander for Monmouthshire County Life magazine. He also wrote Music Matters, a column about classical music, for the Argus's weekly arts and entertainments supplement, The Guide, and continues to review jazz for Jazz Journal and poetry for Acumen.

In July 2015, Nigel signed a contract with Cultured Llama Publishing, based in Kent, for his second collection of stories, called Who Killed Emil Kreisler?  This is due to appear in the latter half of 2016. While the collection has been put together, a variety of Nigel’s work has appeared in Gold Dust, Acumen, The French Literary Review, The English Chicago Review, The British Music Society Journal, Planet, and several others. On its resumption as Wales’s leading website for the arts, Wales Arts Review took on Nigel as one of its music critics and has also published his fiction and essays.

In September 2015, Nigel was commissioned by the Wales Arts Review and the Rhys Davies Trust to write a story based on an earlier one in the Library of Wales anthology. His story, Miss Mercedes Gleitze, which went on line in December, was inspired by the B.L.Coombes story, Twenty Tons Of Coal. It's the latest in the Review's 'Story Re-told' series.

In Spring 2016, the Welsh independent GG Books will publish Nigel's first novel, Slowly Burning, about a former Fleet Street crime reporter washed up on a Welsh valleys 'weekly'.

A selection of reviews:

"…'Mrs Kuroda on Penyfan' is a compressed and perfectly-composed study of a Japanese company wife…"
David Callard, Planet

"…(Nomad) is so good that I am tempted to quote all of it…"
Jon Gower, New Welsh Review

"…This is Nigel Jarrett writing out of his skin. Here are vivid and vital stories that crackle like brushfire and ignite delight. What’s most impressive is a gift for making language seem newly minted, spruced up, washed by fresh rain. I read them with unbridled pleasure and unholy envy."
Jon Gower

"…As a music critic by profession, Jarrett has a marvellous ear…in the collection's title story, the survivor of a big-dipper accident recalls the experience in slow motion detail…the stand-out story, 'Mrs Kuroda on Penyfan', is an enigmatic study…"
Alfred Hickling, The Guardian

"…Nigel Jarrett's stories take seemingly ordinary or innocent situations and gently tease out their emotional complexity. Both "Funderland" and "A Point of Dishonour" confound expectations superbly…In the former, a couple who are not a couple negotiate a weekend away and their suppressed feelings for one another, while in the latter, a woman challenges the notion that her great-grandfather, shot for desertion during the First World War, should be seen as a hero. Jarrett likes the hidden tensions in family situations: caused by the strange stepfather in "Watching the Birdie", for example. He's not afraid of unusual perspectives and his bravery is well rewarded in this unusual and sensitive collection."
The Independent on Sunday

Miners At The Quarry Pool

“…a brilliantly atmospheric and unsettling collection (that is) both emotionally charged and coldly objective.”
Liam Nolan, (Welsh Books Council)

“…much of the tension in the collection centres on implicit dangers or threats…Jarrett's wit and remarkably sustained musical ear more than outweigh (the) occasional blips.”
Michael Nott, New Welsh Review.

“…Jarrett is clearly an exceedingly clever writer.”
Matthew Jarvis, Poetry Wales.

Selected Publications:
Funderland (Parthian, 2011)
Miners at the Quarry Pool (Parthian, 2013)

Contributed to:
Avallaunius (guest editor) (Journal of the Arthur Machen Society, 1987)
The Day’s Portion (co-editor) (Village Publishing, 1991)
Tilting at Windmills (contributor) (Parthian, 1995)
Signals 2 (contributor) (London Magazine Editions, 1999)
Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe (contributor) (Parthian / Cambrensis, 1999)
The Penniless Press Reader Anthology (contributor) (The Penniless Press, 2009)
Story (The Library of Wales short story anthology, volume 2, 2014)