As we enter another month of lockdown, while restrictions may be easing, we are still very much confined to the Bangor area. There is a finite number of things to do in Bangor, but if you love literature and are looking for something slower paced, then why not take a walking tour of Bangor’s literary connections!
There are a few characters of literary characters encounters taking place in Bangor, perhaps the most famous (but most forgotten) one being in William SHakespeare’s Henry IV Part I. In Act 3 Scene i, Hotspur, Mortimer, Worcester and Glendower meet in Bangor – specifically the “Archdeacon’s House”. Hotspur may have “forgot the map”, but Shakespeare locating a single scene of his play in Bangor is enough to bring joy to any book/theatre fan!
There are even a couple of occasions where fictional characters attend our very own Bangor University too! The eponymous Bridget Jones from Helen Fielding’s series is supposed to have attended the University prior to the events of Bridget Jones’s Diary. Likewise in A Quiet Kind of Thunder, a young adult novel by Sara Barnard, the main character Steffi’s one dream is to study zoology at Bangor. From classic theatre to YA fiction, Bangor appears time and time again in literature.
Bangor has also found its way into several poems and collections! Deryn Rees Jones’s poem “Firecracker” is set on Lon Pobty (the road between High Street and Caellepa), and R.S. Thomas, a hugely successful Welsh poet, was born and inspired by Bangor in several of his poems!
Many writers have also taken up residence in Bangor at different points of their lives although surprisingly this fact is very rarely talked about. The fact is that in order to discover the rich literary history of Bangor you have to do quite a lot of digging! Earlier in her life, the writer and activist Juno Dawson studied at Bangor University, and is now known for books including This Book is Gay, Pride and Hollow Pike. Bangor has also had is very own literary circles, including poet and critic Tony Conran (whom has a plaque in Main Arts library), and Brenda Chamberlain. Chamberlain’s extraordinary writing was framed by a life of adventure and constant pulls back to her birth city of Bangor. Her death came about through tragic circumstances on a house on Holyhead Road and her ashes were later interred at Glanadda Cemetery, Caernarfon Road.
And of course, how could we forget our current writers in residence? The Creative Writing department in the School of Languages, Literature and Linguistics is host to several striking and significant writers, from poets Fiona Cameron and Zoe Skoulding to Alys Conran, whose novel Pigeon won Wales Book of the Year.
Have you any literary connections to add to our literature tour of Bangor? Let us know in the comments!