The title of Robert’s PhD in Creative Writing from Cardiff University is ‘Root and Branch: a novel, and a critical commentary on the representation of masculinities in the novels of contemporary Welsh women writers in English.’
His research examines the ways in which the novels of six leading contemporary Welsh women writers – Rachel Trezise, Catrin Dafydd, Deborah Kay Davies, Trezza Azzopardi, Francesca Rhydderch and Stevie Davies – depict their male characters attempting to cling to obsolete patriarchal behaviour and values to resist women’s quest for self-definition and liberty. It also considers the ways in which Welsh women’s writing in English continues to re-write the patriarchal narrative of literature from Wales and is perhaps now achieving its first full blossoming. Finally, the dissertation makes a sidelong comparison with the situation in Burma where traditional accounts of that country’s literature have failed to recognise the role of women’s writing.
Robert is a member of the Association for Welsh Writing in English (AWWE) and Llafur, the Welsh People’s History Society.
AWWE Annual Conferences, Gregynog Hall, Powys
April 2015: ‘The ruralisation of gender relationships in the novels of Trezza Azzopardi’
April 2016: ‘Close to the Edge: Imperialism and Gender in The Rice Paper Diaries and Into Suez’
May 2017: ‘Fighting to the End – Sisley in Wales: from Inspiration to Broadcast and Beyond’ (joint presentation with Colin Thomas)
North American Association for the Study of Welsh Culture and History (NAASWCH), Harvard University
July 2016: ‘How Macho Is My Valley? Contemporary Welsh Women Novelists (Re-)writing the Valleys’
Edward Thomas Centenary Conference, Cardiff
April 2017: ‘Buildings of Stone and Glass: buildings as tropes of comfort and vulnerability in the poetry of Edward Thomas.’