The Mab

By Matt Brown and Eloise Williams

Eleven epic stories from the Mabinogion, retold by Welsh writers. Foreword by Michael Sheen.

Fiction | Illustrated
117% funded
963 supporters
Writing in progress

Publication date: TBC

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The Certificate of Awesomeness Mab

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The One for You and One for a School Mab

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The Dream Mab Tote

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The Bookplate Mab

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Super Swag Mab

A pack of four postcards featuring the artwork from the book, PLUS A4 cover art poster, PLUS limited-edition certificate of AWESOMENESS PLUS everything at the Signed Mab level.
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The School Mab (Silver)

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The School Workshop Mab

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The Magic Hounds Bookclub Mab

Become a founding member of the Magic Hounds Bookclub for your child and four of their mates. Receive five signed copies of the book PLUS five Magic Hounds Bookclub pin badges PLUS a twenty-minute virtual Q&A with one of the authors PLUS up to five names in the back of the book.
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The Class Read Mab

Get ten signed copies of the book for your classroom PLUS exclusive downloadable activities for your class and two half an hour Q&A sessions with the authors, one before your class reads the book and one after. PLUS an exclusive signed A4 poster featuring artwork from the book for your classroom PLUS the e-book and the school name in the back of the book.
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The School Mab (Gold)

Give ten signed copies of the book to a school of your choice PLUS an exclusive signed A4 poster featuring artwork from the book for the school library PLUS a one-hour virtual visit from one of the authors PLUS the school name in the back of the book.
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The Bookshop Visit

20 signed editions and an event at your shop hosted by Matt and Eloise.

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PLUS:

  • 20 copies of The Bookplate Mab edition
  • Your bookshop's name listed as a patron in the back of the book
  • Books supplied before the trade publication date where possible
  • A bespoke poster for your shop
  • Social media shout-outs from Unbound, Matt and Eloise, naming you as a stockist
  • Live event with Matt and Eloise
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The Mab is a collection of eleven epic Welsh stories from the Mabinogion, beautifully illustrated and retold for young people. These stories are really, really, really old. Really. In fact, there are some clever people who think that they might be the oldest, ever, written-down stories in the history of Britain, ever (you know, the sort of people who wear brown jumpers and stroke their chins and say things like “I think you’ll find that…”, or “I simply don’t agree…”, or “HELP! HELP! I’ve lost my trousers”).

But as well as being really, really old, the stories in the Mab are strange and funny and thrilling. They speak of a time when the gates between the Real World and the Otherworld were occasionally left open. And sometimes, just sometimes, it was possible to step through. Trust me, you’re going to love them.

And to retell these strange and funny and thrilling stories we have assembled a team of incredible and extraordinary and award-winning authors and writers. They include, Eloise Williams (Children’s Laureate Wales and author ofWilde), Sophie Anderson (The Girl Who Speaks Bear), Rhian Ivory (The Boy Who Drew The Future), PG Bell (The Train to Impossible Places), Alex Wharton (Rising Star Wales winner 2020), Claire Fayers (Storm Hound), Hanan Issa (My Body Can House Two Hearts), Zillah Bethall (The Shark Caller), Darren Chetty (The Good Immigrant), Nicola Davies (The Day the War Came), and Matt Brown (Compton Valance). Each story will be told in English and in Welsh and will be vividly illustrated by the brilliant Max Low. Plus, the foreword will be written by the multi-award-winning actor Michael Sheen.

“The Mabinogi are our earliest stories; they live and breathe in every one of us. Passed down through generations, they are the ultimate classics of our country. This is why, now more than ever, we need to pass them on to children. I cannot wait to read the collection of tales compiled by this spectacular smorgasbord of Welsh writers in the classroom in years to come. Edrych ymlaen!” Scott Evans, The Reader Teacher.

“Every child should have the opportunity to fall in love with these unique tales and to be part of the tradition of wondrous storytelling which have lived on these lands for over a thousand years. Please support this brilliant initiative and get these stories into the imagination of a new generation!” Lleucu Siencyn. Chief Executive Officer, Literature Wales.

“This is such an exciting project! The Mabinogion is part of our cultural heritage and to have these amazing current authors, representative of the very best in children’s writing from Wales is a real coup. It promises to be an essential and important volume for a new generation.” Simon Fisher, Family Bookworms.

  • High quality hardback edition
  • Demy format
  • 12 original, full-colour illustrations by Max Low
  • Approximately 272 pages, and 44,000 words
  • Tons of amazing and exclusive pledge levels!
  • Foreword by Michael Sheen

*Book designs, cover and other images are for illustrative purposes and may differ from final design.

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  • Matt Brown avatar

    Matt Brown

    Eloise Williams avatar

    Eloise Williams

    Matt Brown is an author and a broadcaster who has presented on some of the UKs most popular TV shows like Nickelodeon, The Big Breakfast and I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here! Although, he would readily admit that he has presented some of the UKs worst-ever shows too! He has also been on the radio a lot, hosting shows on Capital, Heart and Magic and making documentaries for the BBC.


    Matt is passionate about stories and storytelling. He has written seven books. Four Compton Valance books (the Most Powerful Boy in the Universe, the Time Travelling Sandwich Bites Back, Super F.A.R.T.s Vs the Master of Time, the Revenge of the Fancy-Pants Time Pirate) and three Dreary Inkling School books (Aliens Invaded My Talent Show, Mutant Zombies Cursed My School Trip, Killer Vending Machines Wrecked My Lunch).


    THREE AMAZING MATT BROWN FACTS


    1. Matt was once bitten by a dolphin.


    2. Matt has recently dyed his hair grey for fashion purposes.


    3. Matt does NOT look good in hats.




    Eloise Williams is the inaugural Children’s Laureate Wales 2019-2021, an initiative run by Literature Wales.


    Having originally trained in Theatre at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, she went on to work as a performer, theatre maker and creative practitioner for over a decade before studying for a Masters in Creative and Media Writing at Swansea University in 2011. She has since published four books for young people; Elen’s Island, Gaslight, Seaglass and Wilde. In 2019, Seaglass was shortlisted for the prestigious Tir Na N’og awards.

  • The Prince and the King (and the other King)

    Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed, gripped the reins of his mare and charged into the forest. He was never happier than when riding and hunting, with the sun on his back and the wind in his face. He laughed and roared as he rode, urging his horse on and on, faster and faster, deeper and deeper into the forest. And the deeper he rode, the thicker the trees became. Before long their twisted and tangled limbs blocked out the sunlight and the air filled with a heavy damp mist. Pwyll could no longer see his hounds in front of him and had to follow by listening to their howling song of the chase.

    Pwyll kicked on again, crashing through a thicket of trees and out into a beautiful clearing bathed in warm sunlight. After the darkness of the forest, Pwyll was momentarily blinded and pulled on the reins, stopping his horse. His hounds were standing motionless on the edge of the clearing, as silent as stone.

    “What is this? What’s going on?” bellowed Pwyll, angry that his fun had stopped.

    But then he saw what his dogs were staring at, and he fell silent too. There, on the other side of the clearing, lying dead among the bluebells, was a beautiful golden stag. And crowding around the fallen beast was a pack of hounds unlike any that Pwyll had ever seen before. Their ears were bright red and their coats so white, so dazzling and bright, that they seemed to shine like stars.

    “I wonder who owns these hounds?” he muttered to himself and looked around for the owner of the extraordinary animals.

    After a time, and finding no one nearby, Pwyll chased away the white hounds and let his own dogs feast on the stag. But, no sooner had they begun when a hooded rider crashed through the trees into the clearing.

    “What do you think you’re doing?” boomed the rider, his voice as deep as thunder.

    Pwyll was startled, he was not used to being spoken to like this. He was much more used to people saying things like, “wow, you’re so great, my lord” or “have you done something with your hair, my lord, because it looks amazing” or “HA HA HA, that’s the funniest thing anyone has ever said, my lord”.

    “What of it? I have done nothing wrong.”

    The hooded rider jumped down off his horse.

    “Done nothing wrong? Of course you’ve done something wrong. You’ve done everything wrong. You have driven away my hounds that felled this magnificent stag and let your own pack feast on it.”

    “I looked for the owner of the hounds but you were nowhere to be seen,” said Pwyll. “I admit that perhaps I should have waited but it is not so great a crime, is it?”

    “Not so great a crime?” shrieked the rider. “Sir, you have stolen from me. Where are you from?”

    “Dyfed,” said Pwyll.

    “Well, sir,” said the rider. “Stealing things may be what happens in Dyfed but you are not in Dyfed anymore. Around here we take a pretty dim view of stealing.”

    “I am sorry if I have caused offense, sir,” said Pwyll, although he thought that the strange rider was making way too much of the whole incident. “Please tell me your name so I may make it up to you?”

    The rider walked closer and threw back his hood. Pwyll could see lightning flash inside his jade eyes.

    “I am Arawn, King of Annwn.”

    Pwyll suddenly felt cold.

    “Annwn,” he gasped. “The Otherworld?”

    Arawn nodded.

    “My Lord,” said Pwyll, who was now a little afraid because he had heard many stories of the dead wandering around the Otherworld. “Tell me, is there something I can do to win your friendship?”

    Arawn stared at the Prince and thought.

    “Well,” he said, eventually. “There is one thing.”

    “Yes, my lord?” said Pwyll. “Tell me.”

    “Well,” began Arawn. “My neighbour is always fighting me. His name is Hafgan, he is the other King of Annwn and if you could rid me of him then you would truly be a friend.”

    Pwyll drew his sword.

    “Then lead me to him, right now, and I shall end your troubles.”

    “I wish it were so simple,” sighed Arawn. “But there are rules that we must follow. Hafgan and I have arranged to meet a year from tonight, by the river. You will be at that meeting. You will fight in my place.”

    Pwyll thrust his sword back in its sheath.

    “I will do it.”

    A smile flickered across Arawn’s face.

    “But only a king can fight a king. It is the way of things. So you and I must swap appearances. I shall take your body and you shall take mine.”

    “How do we do that?” said Pwyll, who had never heard of anyone swapping bodies before. Well, not in Dyfed, anyway. It was the sort of thing that probably happened in Camarthen.

    “We shall do it with magic,” said Arawn, his eyes flashing. “It will be quite painless. We will change lives with each other and you will fight Hafgan. And just to make sure that the disguise is perfect, you will live for a year at my castle. If my friends and family don’t realise the swap then we’ll know that Hafgan won’t either. He’s not very bright at all.”

    “Then let it be done,” said Pwyll.

    Arawn looked at the prince.

    “Before you fight Hafgan, there is one thing about him that you must know,” he said. “He is a fearsome warrior but to kill him you must only strike him once.”

    “Only once?” said Pwyll. “Why?”

    The king waved his hand in front of this face.

    “It’s an Otherworld kind of thing,” he said. “You know rules and regulations and whatnot. If you hit him with two blows then he will recover. So you need to make sure your first attack counts.”

    He held out his hand.

    “Agreed?”

    Pwyll took his hand and shook it.

    “Agreed,” he said.

    Read more...
  • Matt Brown and Eloise Williams have written 3 private updates. You can pledge to get access to them all.

    2nd April 2021 International Children's Book Day

    Hello,

    Today (April 2nd) is International Children's Book Day. To celebrate I sat down (virtually) and chatted (virtually) with Sophie Anderson. Sophie won last year's Wales Book of the Year and her brilliant book, The Girl Who Speaks Bear, has been shortlisted for this year's Carnegie Medal. Sophie is retelling Branwen's story for The Mab and I wanted to chat to her about how she went about writing…

    16th March 2021 Get Your Hands On Some Beautiful Mab Artwork

    Hello there,

    I hope you're having a good March. We've been really busy here at The Mab HQ. Stories are being written and illustrations are being drawn. We've set ourselves a deadline of the end of April to get everything ready to take to the design phase. Hopefully, we'll then be able to let everyone know when the book will be coming out.

    I just wanted to let you know about an exciting new pre…

    1st March 2021 Happy St David's Day! Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus!

    Hello,

    As a little St David's Day treat, we wanted to share some really exciting news about The Mab. We're deep into the writing and editing phase of the book at the moment and all our authors are working hard to retell each of the stories of the Mabinogion. It's so exciting to see the stories take shape and the book begin to come together. And, as each story is edited, our wonderful illustrator…

    20th January 2021 The Mab Will Be Published and People Can Still Support

    Hello,

    In case you hadn't heard, we had some amazing news last week. The Mab is going to be published. HOORAY. So, we just wanted to say a HUGE "thank you" for all your help and support so far. It feels great to be talking to all the writers about the stories that will fill this book. We'll keep you posted on how it's going with updates and let you know our proposed publication date as soon…

    4th January 2021 The Mab - Michael Sheen Will Write the Foreword

    Hi there,

    I'm thrilled to be able to tell you that, just before Christmas, Michael Sheen agreed to write the foreword to The Mab. It's really exciting news as Michael is such a passionate supporter of the arts and culture in Wales and the UK. We're thrilled to have him on board.

    The result of this news is that we are now so close to The Mab becoming a reality. As I write, we are 88% funded…

    13th November 2020 The Mab hits 65% - Interview with Hanan Issa

    Hi there,

    I hope you've had a really good week. I thought you might like to know that The Mab has just hit 65% funded. This is incredible news so a big thank you to everyone who has supported. Please don't forget to share with family and friends so that we can try and get to 100%.

    I thought you might like to hear a chat I had with one of our authors, Hanan Issa. Hanan is a poet based in Cardiff…

    6th November 2020 The Mab - 64%

    Hi there,

    I just wanted to check in and let you know that The Mab is now at 64% funded, which is amazing.

    I thought I'd share a short conversation I had recently with one of The Mab authors, the incredible Cathering Johnson. Catherine is a two-time Carnegie Medal nominee, and has written a lot of historical fiction and myths for kids. One thing that we often get asked about is what changes The…

    26th October 2020 Enjoy a Spooky 10% off The Mab

    I know that everyone is gearing up for Hallowe'en but have you heard of the Welsh tradition called Nos Galan Gaeaf? A night before winter's arrival, Nos Galan Gaeaf, is a night when spirits and ghosts come out to play. So, to help celebrate and keep the tradition alive, Unbound are releasing a Nos Galan Gaeaf offer code that gets you 10% off The Mab. You can use it until Nov 1st (2020) and it…

    19th October 2020 The Mab and Michael Sheen

    Hi there,

    I hope you're having a good start to the week. Last week, something amazing happened. Michael Sheen (yes, THAT Michael Sheen) supported The Mab. He said

    "The Mab is a beautiful retelling of the Mabinogion, for children. Help new generations fall in love with Blodeuwydd, Bran the Blessed and the rest of these epic and ancient stories."

    This led to us getting a lot of new supporters…

    25th September 2020 The Mab - Schools + Darren Chetty Chat (a chet-chat?)

    Hello,

    I hope you're having a good week. I just wanted to keep you updated on the latest developments.

    The Mab is all about helping new generations of kids (and adults) to find and fall in love with the ancient, beautiful, thrilling, weird stories of the Mabinogion. So, this week, we created and launched four different School Reward Levels at four different prices, which will give schools the…

    4th September 2020 The Bookplate Upgrade

    Hi there,

    I hope you're having a great week. My kids have gone back to school and now my house is so quiet, it's deafening. I just wanted to let you know about the new Bookplate Mab that we've just released. We had a lot of requests for an edition that will be signed by everyone and so this is what we've come up with. The bookplate will feature one of Max Low's beautiful illustrations from the…

    19th August 2020 The Mab - The First Three Weeks

    Hi there,

    I just wanted to let you know that after our first three weeks of crowdfunding, The Mab is already a third funded. This is such an unbelievable milestone and one I didn't think we'd hit mid-way through August. A few days ago, Eloise and I sat down, via the internet, and had a chat about The Mab. We nattered about our favourite Mabinogion stories, why the Lady of the Fountain is a bit…

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  • Beverley Craddock
    Beverley Craddock asked:

    Can I get someone else's name in the back of the book if it is to be a gift?

    Unbound
    Unbound replied:

    Hi Beverley, You can indeed add someone else's name. Here's more info on how to change the name in the supporter list: http://help.unbound.com/en/articles/3159741-changing-the-supporter-name-that-s-printed-in-a-book. Unbound Support.

    Robert Kinns
    Robert Kinns asked:

    Hello, I was wondering if the bookplate version will also be signed by Michael Sheen?

    Matt Brown
    Matt Brown replied:

    Hi Robert. Thanks for getting in touch. The bookplate will just be signed by the writers.

    Stephanie Fischer
    Stephanie Fischer asked:

    The way I understand it, Martin Sheen writes an introduction / foreword, so I agree, it would be really nice to have his signature, too. I can understand if it isn't an option, but if that would be alright with him, it would be wonderful and make this more complete.

    Matt Brown
    Matt Brown replied:

    Hi Stephanie, thanks for your question. I agree it would be great but it will come down to a question of logistics. We'll keep you posted :)