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New book celebrates centenary story of Welsh Women’s Peace Petition

The historic petition and its specially designed oak chest were returned to the National Library of Wales from the USA earlier this year to mark the centenary.

A bilingual book telling the remarkable story of a peace petition, signed a century ago by 390,296 Welsh women and sent across the ocean to America, will be officially launched at Aberystwyth University’s Festival of Research on 3 November.

Co-edited by Professor Mererid Hopwood and Dr Jenny Mathers from Aberystwyth University, The Appeal: The Remarkable Story of the Welsh Women’s Peace Petition 1923-24 (Y Lolfa) traces the petition’s once forgotten history across a series of seven chapters and one poem, each written by a different contributor.

The book also features a striking collection of images, including black and white photographs of the women who took on the daunting task of organising the petition and ensuring signatures were collected door-to-door in communities the length and breadth of Wales.

It’s the first time this extraordinary true story has been told in book form and its publication coincides with the centenary of the 7-mile-long petition, presented to the women of the United States as well as the President in the White House.

The book’s front cover was inspired by the design of the leather binding on the two-page written appeal which accompanied the peace petition to America in 1924.

Editors Professor Mererid Hopwood and Dr Jenny Mathers from Aberystwyth University said:

“It is our hope that reading the story will inspire us to continue to act in the spirit of the women of Wales who imagined, organised and signed the Appeal. It offered its readers a vast vision. That vision remains as vast and as valid today.”

The book’s two editors and some of the contributors, including Meg Elis, Catrin Stevens and Sian Rhiannon Williams, will be speaking at the book launch in the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth at 5pm on Friday 3 November 2023.

Admission to the launch is free and all are welcome to attend but spaces are limited so advance booking on Eventbrite is essential and can be done here.

The book launch is being held as part of the University’s Festival of Research – The Pursuit of Peace from 1-7 November, which is free and open to all.