A CARDIGAN author’s debut novel has been chosen for the recommended list of historical fiction by the Walter Scott Prize Academy.

My Beautiful Imperial by Rhiannon Lewis was published in December 2017 by Victorina Press and has been well received by readers and literary critics alike since its launch at both the Chilean Embassy in London and Cardigan Castle.

The Walter Scott Prize Academy includes people at the centre of literary life in the UK and Commonwealth countries, including artistic directors of book festivals around the world, leading book retailers and literary critics.

This advisory group has recently begun to publish a list of 20 recommended titles – of which My Beautiful Imperial is one - and includes newly-published historical novels from Australia, Canada, South Africa, Ireland, Scotland and Wales and England.

Rhiannon was born in Cardigan and she comes from a long line of farmers and sailors.

Her family was interested in history and she grew up in an atmosphere of hand-me-down stories. One of those stories included her grandfather’s memories of Captain David Davies and the Chilean civil war in 1891.

Rhiannon did extensive research into her great-great uncle’s life as a sailor and her research prompted her to write My Beautiful Imperial.

“The novel is the culmination of nearly 20 years’ research and three to four years writing,” said Rhiannon.

“It launched in Cardigan because this is where I am from originally. The main character is also from Cardigan and begins his incredible journey from there.”

Many readers will know nothing of the Chilean Civil War, but Cardigan skipper David Davies played a crucial role in the of the 1891 conflict.

Captain Davies was born at Ty Newydd, in the Parish of St Mary’s, in 1848 and began his career on the Ellen of Cardigan before crossing the globe on emigrant ships, such as the Royal Dane.

Davies eventually returned to Cardigan and died in 1914. His Tivyside obituary described how Davies had “made no little fame for himself...in the teeth of the ships of war”.

Davies is buried at the Baptist Chapel, Blaenwaun, near St Dogmaels.

“He was an amazing character – to achieve what he did in those days, he would have been a very determined, physically tough and charismatic leader,” said Rhiannon.

You can read more about the novel and its background at www.rhiannonlewis.co.uk