Rob Cullen: Author, Poet, Photographer, Artist, Gardener, Father, Cook.
I grew up on a small council estate in the Rhondda Fawr during the industrial, post-war era of the South Wales valleys. These formative years and experiences continue to have an enduring effect on my writing.
In 1969 I studied Art and Design in Bristol and then Cardiff. In 1973 I moved to New York returning to Brighton in 1975 where I qualified as an Art Teacher. I returned to live in South Wales in 1981 to train as a social worker at Cardiff University . Since then I have closely observed the changing dynamics of the South Wales Valley communities. I believe that this region possesses a rich and under-explored cultural heritage which is little known about or poorly understood by the rest of Britain and the wider world.
After 27 years of working with damaged and damaging people I set up an independent consultancy in 2004 and was instructed as an expert to the criminal and family courts.
In 2012 I closed the consultancy and returned to writing and photography. My creative process is aided by long walks with Meg the dog, often with camera in hand, and cultivating a patch of ground on the side of a Welsh mountain.
In 2015 I had a short story published in an anthology “A Fall into Grace” which was a collaborative community project organised by the artist Jackie Chettur and Sarah Price of Addo. The project also involved a day of storytelling in the town of Aberdare in which each writer performed the story at different venues. The anthology was launched on 16th December 2015 at the National Folk Museum of Wales in St Fagans.
In 2016 I also collaborated with the artist Sharon Magill on another community project and I have had four short stories published in Ystrad Stories related to the paintings of the Rhondda born artist Ernie Zobole. I have also been recorded reading the stories for a digital story book for Artist Trails.
I have had poetry published in the online magazine I AM NOT A SILENT POET. I’ve also read poetry at several open mics and at the opening of Gerhard Kress’s art exhibition in September 2016. I’ve organised poetry reading events at Octavo, Cardiff. I read my poetry at Disability Cymru’s National Conference at the Wales Millennium Centre in November 2016 together with Gwyneth Lewis. I’ve organised two events at Pontypridd Museum Voices on the Bridge in 2017.
I received a mention in the Welsh International Poetry Competition 2015. I was shortlisted in the John Tripp and Idris Davies Poetry competition 2016.
My poetry collection “Uncertain Times” was published by Octavo Press in September 2106.
“The poems range from the deeply personal to bitter social comment. The language is direct, sparse and honed. Vivid but with nothing overwritten, for a book of poetry… actually a page turner.” Review by Carol White – film maker.
“Well done Rob – Congratulations on your book Uncertain Times – great achievement.” Fran Smith Poet
“Congratulations, Rob on all levels— what a star man you are! Inspired.” Suzanne Iuppa Poet.
My second collection “Time to Heal” is waiting publication.
A Taff Noir psychological thriller “Under the Stone Eyes of Mary” described by a publisher as “filmic” awaits publication. This is the first of a trilogy.
A children’s picture book “Tomos and the Enchanted Field” is also awaiting publication.
Rob is currently writing a novel through a publishers mentoring scheme.
Rob Cullen can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org