Press Release: Bachgendod Issac by Derec Llwyd Morgan

Author, poet and academic Derec Llwyd Morgan has come a long way from his days growing up in the Amman Valley – yet it is to these days that he has returned in his long-awaited memoir.

Derec was brought up in the village of Cefn-Bryn-Brain in the 1940s and his book - Bachgendod Isaac – Atgofion Cynnar Derec Llwyd Morgan. (Isaac’s Boyhood – Early Memories of Derec Llwyd Morgan) looks back at his childhood.

The book takes us on a journey through the village’s highways and byways, introducing us to its’ people and local characters along the way – all seen through the eyes of this sensitive young boy from ‘Y Cefen’ with a bright future ahead of him.

Despite being asked several times over the years, Derec has always refused to write an autobiography.

“Many of the people I would be writing about are still in the land of the living and I didn’t want to commit to writing things about people who are still alive!” said Derec.

However, a bout of illness two-and-a-half years ago forced Derek to take some time off – he decided to use this time to write a memoir of his boyhood growing up in Cefn-Bryn-Brain

“I had treatment for a melanoma on my head, so I couldn’t do anything physical, like gardening, for example” Derec explained.  “So I decided to write about my boyhood growing up in ‘Y Cefen’ – it came back to me easily. I decided to stop when I reached the age of 15 when I lost my best friend. Everything changed after that.”


So who is the Isaac mentioned in the book’s title? “A lot of people have asked that question,” Said Derec. “Whenever I said anything wise beyond my years, my father would without fail, say ‘Dere’n awr Isaac’ (‘come on now, Isaac’).” 

Derec isn’t quite sure where this saying came from – definitely not the Bible or Sir Isaac Newton.

“It is most unlikely that the humble folk of Y Cefen were aware of this distinguished English scientist!” said Derec.

Derec rarely goes back to ‘Y Cefen’ these days. Most of his family and friends have died or moved away but his aunt Valmai – who is now in her 80s – still lives in the village.

“We often speak on the phone,” said Derek. “But I don’t have the same interest in the village now – it has changed so much over the years and it is no longer the village I remember as a boy.”

Since leaving Cefn-Bryn-Brain, Derec has carved out a distinguished career as an author and one of Wales’s most respected academics – a talented and creative poet and writer.

He has written a well-respected biography on the prominent Welsh scholar and academic Thomas Parry (Y Brenhinbren GOMER 2013) and edited a selection of essays and reminiscences on the well-known politician Emlyn Hooson.

Derec has held several high profile posts in his career including former Vice Chancellor of Aberystwyth University. He has also sat on the boards of several national organisations including The Broadcasting Council for Wales, National Eisteddfod, the National Library and the Kyffin Williams Trust.

Derec now lives the other side of Wales from his childhood home - on Anglesey – home of the 2017 National Eisteddfod of which he was Chairman of the Executive Committee.

The memoir was a lovely surprise according to Gomer’s Head of Publishing Meirion Davies.

“It was totally unexpected, to be honest, because Derec had always said that he would never write his autobiography, so naturally, we are thrilled that he changed his mind, “ said Meirion.

“The book is about Derec’s early years in Cefn-Bryn-Brain, but will appeal to anybody who has an interest in or memories of daily life in a rural village in Wales. The book is completely magical and gives a warm and lyrical account of a bygone era.”

Bachgendod Isaac: Atgofion Cynnar Derec Llwyd Morgan is now available at local bookshops priced  £8.99 or directly from the GOMER website