It’s the famous Welsh book of fables that has spawned myths and legends.
Now the ages old Mabinogion is to have a makeover and be rewritten for a new generation of young people to discover.
A crowdfunder to finance the publication of an updated version of The Mabinogion, led by Children’s Laureate Wales Eloise Williams and Welsh author and TV presenter Matt Brown has been launched.
The Mab will feature 11 updated tales written by 11 different children’s authors from Wales – Williams and Brown, alongside fellow wordsmiths Alex Wharton, Nicola Davies, Hanan Issa, Zillah Bethell, Darren Chetty, Sophie Anderson, P G Bell, Catherine Johnson and Claire Fayers.
The Mabinogion tales are the earliest prose stories of Britain and have been part of Wales’ cultural heritage for centuries.
The stories were compiled in Middle Welsh (the Welsh language of the 12th to 15th centuries) in the 12th–13th centuries from earlier oral traditions. The title covers a collection of 11 prose stories of widely different types, offering drama, philosophy, romance, tragedy, fantasy and humour, and created by various narrators over time.
The new book aims to be an epic retelling for a new generation. Each tale will be written in English then translated into Welsh by Bethan Gwanas and will feature illustrations from Max Low.
To bring the project to fruition The Mab is seeking publication through crowdfunding publisher, Unbound.
Prospective readers are given the opportunity to help fund the book through choosing a series of rewards – everything from tote bags, art prints and signed copies of the book to virtual bookshop events, tie-ins with schools and a children’s bookclub – they then pledge their money, and wait for the project to be 100% funded.
“The Mab is an amazing new book retelling all 11 stories for young people,” said Eloise. “As far as we know, there isn’t another collection like it. We have so many amazing people working on the project and we are so excited to bring the stories to everyone.
“They are the oldest British stories and The Mab will help new generations of children fall in love with them. But we need your help – please visit the Unbound page to pledge your support.”
Matt added: “These stories are part of our heritage and should be in every classroom and every home. By crowdfunding the book we’re making it part of everyone who helps get it made.”
To pledge to The Mab crowdfunder visit: unbound.com/books/the-mab
The Mabinogion has long been a cultural touchstone for many artists, musicians and writers.
Last month Fleetwood Mac star Stevie Nicks revealed she is working on a film based on a famous story from the historic Welsh fables.
The project is based on the band’s 1975 hit Rhiannon and the singer’s more than 40-year obsession with the tale of the magical otherworldly figure from The Mabinogion.