Wales is often defined as underrepresented and not talked about. 

It is a fair assessment. But, scratch beneath the surface a little, or delve into dusty bookshelves and it quickly becomes apparent there is a wealth of literature written about us, by us.

From encyclopedic historical beasts to recently published novels, prose by world famous poets to tales retold, here are 15 books recommended by our readers

This list is by no means comprehensive, but here are 14 books recommended by our readers.

A History of Wales | John Davies
The National Wales:
No single book can cover the entirety of Welsh history, but John Davies gives it a good go. From the first Welshmen at Ffynnon Beuno and the Red Lady of Paviland to the establishment of S4C and devolution, it is a comprehensive and detailed study of the span of Welsh history. Simply a must read.​

When Was Wales? | Gwyn Alfred Williams
The National Wales:
Independence in the past and in the future. What was it? What could it be? The question of national identity rumbled throughout our history, and Williams' book is as essential as it is compulsive reading on the subject. Drawing on myth, legend and poetry, he tells the story of our country and its people in a way few others could.

Welsh Fairytales, Myths and Legends | Claire Fayers
The National Wales:
Fayers brings 18 Welsh tales, myths and legends to life in this recent edition of Welsh storytelling. From the story of Gelert to the story of how y Ddraig Goch came into being, it's a page-turner for any adult as much as it is any child. 

The Welsh Extremist | Ned Thomas
The National Wales:
With the pressures on the Welsh language community and the response to them as relevant today as ever, so too this book is as relevant now as it was in the 1970s. Intended for an English readership, Thomas explains the conviction and psychology of the Welsh national movement, at a time when it was breaking through electorally for the first time.

Poor Man’s Parliament | Martin Shipton
The National Wales:
Few can comment on post-devolution Welsh history with the authority of Shipton. Written from a dismayed yet pro-devolution point of view, this first decade account covers the Welsh Assembly from its beginnings in 1999 to First Minister of Wales Rhodri Morgan’s resignation in 2009. A meticulous history, it discusses key events while seeking to explain why the National Assembly’s hopes failed to materialize in its first decade. Time for volume 2 Mr Shipton?

Border County | Raymond Williams
The National Wales:
Set in the rural south of Wales, close to the border with England, this novel by the legendary Williams sees an academic visit his sick father, once a railway signalman. Flashbacks to the 1920s and 1930s, the General Strike and the Great Depression, discuss social class, relationships, community, belonging and migration in a way only Williams could. Though fiction, many point to commonality with Williams's own background.

In and Out of the Goldfish Bowl | Rachel Trezise
The National Wales:
Trezise's debut novel and a winner of the Orange Futures Prize and the Dylan Thomas Prize, this is a story of a brutal childhood in the Welsh Valleys. Like many kids, the novel's subject, Rebecca, is trying to grow up fast in a world that is against her. Falling in love, getting drunk and taking drugs is a brutal path many have experiences, in a bid to forget. For Rebecca, writing and books are the means for taking hold of her life. Want a Welsh novel that will make you cry, grab and inspire you. Look no further.

Chwalfa | T Rowland Hughes
The National Wales:
The chronicles of the Ifans family in the imaginary quarry town of Llechfaen is fiction, ut they're based on real events. Chwalfa essentially takes you back to Bethesda at the turn of the 20th century the 'Great Strike' at Penrhyn Quarry between 1900 and 1903. Proving that the determination to rise above poverty and oppression is understood as an international language, the novel has been adapted for screen by the BBC, while in 2016 it was produced for stage by Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru.

Futuregen | Jane Davidson
The National Wales:
Future generations are talked about with a lot more frequency in Wales than in many countries, and that is thanks in no small part to Jane Davidson. In Futuregen, Davidson explains how, while minister for environment, and housing, she proposed what became the Well-being of Future Generations Act, the first piece of legislation in history to place regenerative and sustainable practice at the heart of government. It's been held up as a political move that is world-leading; here's how it came to life.

A Child's Christmas in Wales | Dylan Thomas
The National Wales:
Prose originally recorded by Thomas for BBC Radio, this famous piece is a beautiful anecdotal reminiscence of Christmas from the viewpoint of a young boy. A lot can be learnt from childhood. Even more can be learnt from how we romanticise our own. Here, Thomas does exactly that. If you've not read it, make it essential over the coming festive season.

Ash on a Young Man's Sleeve | Dannie Abse
The National Wales:
Blending humour, lyricism and honesty, Abse accurately evokes the history of the thirties. In this highly commended autobiographical novel, Abse sets the fortunes of a Jewish family in Wales against the troubled backcloth of the times: unemployment, Hitler and Mussolini, and the Spanish Civil War. This is tough and human. This is must read for anyone.

Fighting for Wales | Gwynfor Evans
The National Wales:
Few have fought for modern Wales in the way Gwynfor Evans has. One of Wales' foremost political figures, Evans surveys the various nationalist campaigns of the century in which he was at the forefront of Wales' fight for identity. His work reflects on the concessions gained in the fields of government, the economy, language and media. It is difficult to read without feeling angry, it is even harder to truly try to understand Wales without having read it. 

Whose Wales? | Gwynoro Jones and Alun Gibbard
The National Wales:
Wales has indeed battled for nationhood for centuries, and it continues to do so today. In this political must-read from Jones and Gibbard, that history is laid bare. Covering the battle for devolution and nationhood from 1880 through to 2020, it tells the story of how we got here and gives an insight into devolution today. It concludes with a look to the future via two well-argued articles, each from a different direction. Past, present, future; it's all in here.

Fortune Men | Nadifa Mohamed
The National Wales:
Some say Tiger Bay has been swept under the carpet. If you're looking to lift that very carpet, you'll do far worse than this Booker Prize nominated novel by Nadifa Mohamed. Telling the story of a true-life tragedy that played out in Cardiff's Tiger Bay in the 1950s, it explores the area's past while exposing uncomfortable reflections of the modern day. Mahmood Mattan's story is chilling and compelling. Reading this is a welcome tonic for anybody who assumes Wales' history isn't as troubling and varied as it really is.

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