Made in Roath 2016

Made in Roath 2016

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

To the Bookmobile!

Hello! I’m Jamie Woods. I’m a writer from Swansea, until very recently a student at Cardiff Universtiy, and I was one of the Made in Roath bookmobile volunteers. Books have always been a massive part of my life. I’m lucky enough that my parents encouraged me to read, and that I can do the same for my kids. Not everyone is always so lucky, which is why I took part in World Book Night last year, and why I was so keen to be involved in this project.

We started the Saturday with a street reading. I went first, followed by the talents of Oli, Hannah, Rachel and Pru. In turn we read our work on Plasnewydd Road, and then Albany Road; beguiling passers-by and getting in the way of people pushing pushchairs.

While reading, the bookmobile had its first visitors. The bookmobile – the Milkwood ‘milkfloat’ caravan – was beautifully decorated and stocked with books by the MIR literary organiser Christina Thatcher. The premise was simple – leave a story and take a book.

We asked the visitors for stories about Roath, about Cardiff, about community. Some people left sentences, while one lovely man sat down
on our little caravan seats (so cosy) and wrote for about 10 minutes. The stories were to be collated by Christina, and will be made into a community poem by our resident blogger here, Mab.

My snippet of a story was about the first time I visited Roath, watching the bustle of the school run from the sanctuary of a coffee shop window. In return I got a book of Donald Barthelme short stories. Not a bad deal.

My favourite visitors were the kids – at one point I did a quick run to the local charity shops for children's books as we soon ran out – and hearing their stories, of lost scooters and annoying little brothers. Seeing these children so excited by the books, and by telling their stories, I knew we were doing something good.

A quick confession: I changed the words to some of my poems. Apparently, I swear a lot in my work.

Jamie Woods has had stories published in a number of journals and magazines, reads at live lit events when he can, and writes for Wales Arts Review. He also has a blog.

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