Chartist writer’s friend looks to film the tale

First published in News

A NEWPORT writer has paid tribute to Chartist author and friend, Alexander Cordell.

Chris Barber, MBE, 70, has written a tribute to the ‘Rape of the Fair Country’ author in preparation for the centenary of his birth in 2014. Mr Cordell’s best selling novel was first published in 1959 and details the Chartist uprising and the historic march on Newport in 1893.

Mr Barber, who was a friend of the late writer, is now the literary agent responsible for the works and hopes to be able to produce a film adaptation of the successful novel.

He said: “I have already been in contact with Michael Sheen’s agent to see if he would be interested in making a film. I have been approached by Russian publishers to produce the novel in Russian.”

The novel has been published in 17 languages and sold more than 3 million copies worldwide.

Mr Barber said: “Cordell would have been furious with the destruction of the Chartist Mural for it was very special to him. He once said the mosaic in John Frost Square is more than a tribute to the sacrifices of the forbears of Newport’s town fathers, it is the realisation of a truth now finally accepted by a new age of historians.”

Mr Cordell lived in Monmouthshire for many years and set his most famous novel around Blaenavon which is now known as Cordell Country. Gwyn Alf Williams, the historian, described Mr Cordell as the ‘People’s Remembrancer’.

Mr Barber will be arranging a number of events to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Mr Cordell. Beginning with a talk at St Mary’s Institute, Stow Hill on December 7 at 2.30pm.

Tickets will be £5 at the door and a donation will be made to the Chartist Memorial Trust to help raise funds for a new mural.

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