A Welsh language author living in Abergavenny has published her latest work of fiction aimed at Welsh learners.

Lois Arnold’s latest book is called ‘Ffenestri’, which translates as windows.

The collection of short stories is designed to support Welsh learners through the basic to intermediate stages of their education in the language.

Lois has penned two novels and another collection of stories in Welsh.

She said, “I find it much harder to write a collection of stories than a novel, I found it really difficult thinking of so many different plots, characters and scenarios as opposed to focusing on a long single plot.”

Originally from Surrey, Lois moved to Wales in 1997 and immediately took up an interest in Welsh.

She took part in evening classes at the now-closed Bryn College, and rapidly became passionate about the language.

Though she had written textbooks on mental health in her former career, Lois’ first foray into fiction was writing in Welsh for a competition in the 2003 National Eisteddfod.

The next year, she won the Welsh Learner of the Year award.

She is now a Welsh language tutor herself.

But in her experience of learning and of teaching budding linguists herself, Lois found that it was hard to convince many people to continue using the language over the long term.

She said, “I thought that fiction for Welsh learners would be a great way to keep them using and learning the language, and I think short stories are especially important as readers can easily dip in and out of them.”

The stories are grouped into three levels of complexity: mynediad (entry), sylfaen (foundation), and canolradd (intermediate).

Lois has written about a range of topics for ‘Ffenestri’, including history, love, sci-fi, ghosts and ghouls, and even one story about a Welsh-speaking Elvis impersonator.

She has also ventured into writing poems for the collection, and these are also suitable for learners of different levels.

She said, “One of my favourite stories in the book recalls the true story of John Petts, a Welsh artist who in the 1960s helped to make a stand of solidarity against racism.”

In 1963, the world was horrified when the Ku Klux Klan bombed the 19th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four young girls.

Petts rebuilt the church’s south facing stained-glass window, and funded the project with donations from across Wales after writing in the Western Mail.

Lois adds, “It was such a lovely story, and an important piece of history at the same time, the stained glass window is known as the ‘Wales Window’ and features a black representation of Christ.

“It is still in that church today.”

This window is what inspired the title of the collection.

Lois said, “I like to think that each of the stories is like a small window into the life of the characters.”

‘Ffenestri’ is available for purchase from Waterstones, and can also be found at www.gwales.com