Rachel Dawson & Christina Neuwirth
From the Valleys to the nightclubs of Cardiff, London and Manchester, NEON ROSES is "a heartwarming, funny and a little bit filthy queer coming-of-age story with a cracking '80s soundtrack." -The Bookseller
It’s 1984 in The Valleys, South Wales, and Eluned Hughes is stuck. The miners’ strikes are ravaging her family and community, and her boyfriend of six years, Lloyd, is starting to bring up marriage more than she would like. She spends her days selling shoes, listening to Madonna, and trying to hold it all together. Meanwhile, Eluned’s clever and precocious little sister, Mabli, thinks she knows it all. Mabli takes her older, moneyed, Thatcherite, policeman boyfriend, Graham, as the ticket out of her working class reality.
So, Eluned is left contemplating her own destiny—staying at home with a husband and a couple of kids—until one day she hears about a fundraising group called Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. Apparently they’re from London, they’ve been raising money for the miners in her town, and they’re coming to visit. She’s curious, for sure. And even more so when she lays eyes on June for the first time. She has short hair, she wears leather jackets, she’s moody—and Eluned’s life is turned upside down.
NEON ROSES takes us on a ride of all the glorious sights and sounds of the 1980s, as Eluned attempts to carve her identity out of the protests, Pride parades, nightclubs and parties of Cardiff, London and Manchester. But this is also a story about two sisters, and the different paths they take outside of where they come from. What is the reality of reconciling family with queerness? What does a family even look like? What choice should Eluned make when her little sister rings her up out of the blue one night, confessing the truth about her relationship with Graham?
Joining us is debut author RACHEL DAWSON.
Rachel Dawson is from Swansea. After studying English Literature at Cardiff University, her first paid job was in a women’s refuge. She continues to work in the third sector, living in Cardiff with her wife.
She is inspired by the resilience of our queer ancestors, and the joy of loving other women. In 2020 she was one of the twenty-five writers awarded a bursary by Literature Wales. This opportunity also included a year of mentoring from Rebecca F. John.