Rock Life : 17 Poems from the Welsh Valleys

Howell’s has an excellent ear for everyday speech and captures its rhythms and cadences very well. The language defies any overall feeling of negativity in its forceful, funny and fierce way.

Welsh Poet & Author, Mike Jenkins (2016)

This collection exposes issues specific to social deprivation during the late 20th and early 21st centuries, it is also part of a great Welsh poetic and literary tradition.

Private Eye Journalist & Poet, Tim Richards (2016)

One of the dazzling new wave of young Welsh writers. Her voice is gritty and sparse, compassionate and sometimes shocking but always authentic and true to her Valley roots.

Welsh Poet & Artist, Alan Perry (2016)

She shares with Albert Camus and J.M. Coetzee a passion for humanity’s light and dark.

Film Maker, Karl Francis (2009)

Gemma Howell is the latest in a distinguished line of Welsh writers to focus an unflinching eye on life in the southern valleys – from Jack Jones and Gwyn Thomas, through Ron Berry and Alun Richards, to writers of her own generation, such as Rachel Tresize. It’s notable that these days it’s women who are making the running as chroniclers of valleys life, although the strengths of that tradition – gritty realism, wry wit and humour, a relishing of language, a restorative anger – remain abundantly present in this compelling collection of stories.

Poet, Nigel Jenkins (2010)