Last updated: 29 April 2010
The voice of contemporary literary Cymru, Rachel Trezise is a force to be reckoned with.
The precociously talented Trezise was born in Cwmparc in the Rhondda Valley in 1978. Her semi-autobiographical debut novel depicting the hard brutal edges of childhood marked her out as one-to-watch, winning the young writer a place on the Orange Futures list, highlighting 21 promising young female authors at the turn of the century.
Having studied at the University of Glamorgan and University of Limerick, In And Out Of The Goldfish Bowl was picked up by Parthian before Trezise had even completed her degree. Published in 2002 to critical acclaim, the book prompted Harpers & Queen to vote her the new face of literature in 2003.
Trezise's style of prose is telling in the details it leaves out, in turns witty and shocking, she has an evocative turn of phrase that leaps up and grips you by the throat.
Her first confessional tale is a blunt page-turner of broken homes, child abuse and the poverty of the post-industrial, drug-addled Welsh valleys. Like a less needy Elizabeth Wurtzel, Trezise rants and strops through her self-destructive story, but above all, she survives.
Indeed, in the epilogue of In And Out Of The Goldfish Bowl, Trezise writes: "I am surprised at how quickly my past has dissolved, how quickly it isn't mine anymore. And what a relief it is, to give and unwanted gift to someone who needs it more than I. And suddenly my mind holds itself together. I do not want superstardom. I am not scared. Suddenly my life is not a precocious baby's id."
Writing from when she first managed to hold a pen, she has lived through domestic violence, depression and repeated thoughts of suicide yet perhaps all the more determined and defiant for it, Trezise types on.
Turning to telling other's stories, her second book, Fresh Apples (Parthian, 2005), was a wry, gritty collection of short fiction. Observational and darkly comic, the eleven cleverly crafted stories speak of drugs, adultery, stalking, and first sexual experiences.
Music is a big part of the Trezise's life. Her features and stories on rock bands, writing and the arts have appeared widely in publications and anthologies including the Big Issue, New Welsh Review and Urban Welsh. In early 2006 Rachel toured with rock band Midasuno, to document their time on the road for a book, Dial M For Merthyr, which was published in 2007.
In October 2006 Rachel was announced winner of the inaugural Dylan Thomas Prize. She was awarded £60,000 for Fresh Apples.
Chairman of the judges, Andrew Davies, said: "It is remarkable for such a young writer to be so much of herself and not easily influenced in her work. The confidence, coolness and maturity of tone in Fresh Apples is exceptional. Rachel is an extremely talented author and we wish her all the best in what we're sure will be a long and successful literary career."
Trezise ventured into theatre in 2007, writing I Sing of a Maiden, with musician Charlotte Greig. The drama premiered at Chapter arts Centre in early 2007, to sell-out crowds.
Trezise's first full length radio play Lemon Meringue Pie debuted on BBC Radio 4 on 3 September 2008.
In late March 2010 she won the inaugural Max Boyce Prize, with Fflur Dafydd winning the Welsh language category with Y Llyfrgell.
Trezise's second novel, Sixteen Shades of Crazy, was released in the UK on 29 April 2010.
Trezise splits her time between New York and Treorchy in the Rhondda Valley.
- In And Out Of The Goldfish Bowl (2002)
- Sideways Glances (2005)
- Fresh Apples (2005)
- Dial M For Merthyr (2007)
- Sixteen Shades of Crazy
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