Warmth and Light and Sky

Niall Griffiths in Conversation

in Critical Survey

Born in Toxteth, Liverpool, in 1966, Niall Griffiths lives in the west Wales town of Aberystwyth. Now with seven novels to his credit, Griffiths originally arrived on the literary scene in 2000 with his first book, Grits, much of which was based on personal experience. Incorporating a narrative style critics frequently describe as ‘uncompromising’, Griffiths’s convincing regional vernacular lends his work a good deal of its authenticity, or, as the author puts it, the argot of place and class ‘carries a weight of nonestablishment, marginal knowledge’ (see page 102). This conviction is akin to shibboleth, to the recovery of custom and place and language that dominates his work. To see his fiction in this light necessitates acceptance that the vast multitude so often unrecognised in literature have a story to tell. Yet critics unwilling to comprehend the world inhabited by Griffiths’s characters invariably reach for adjectives such as ‘stark’, ‘raw’ and ‘uncompromising’ – the accustomed synonyms attributed to his work – as a means of explaining away a view of society at odds with their own.