ONE of Wales's most successful authors is quitting Kidwelly to move back to England — declaring himself "profoundly disappointed" by the country.
Julian Ruck plans leave his New Street home, after putting it on the market to go back across the bridge, where he spent nearly 30 years before returning to Wales six years ago.
And he spoke candidly to the Star about the reasons.
"Since my return I have felt only a profound sense of disappointment and on occasions shock," said Mr Ruck.
"The Wales I had loved as a young man, the Wales I have written about so fondly, is no longer the place I was brought up in."
The novelist claims that since his return, he has sometimes had to deal with what he claims is a state-funded Welsh literati, and has encountered what he describes as "inertia, a nasty tribalism and a growing intolerance for anything new or tainted with Englishness".
The 56-year-old said: "As a writer, small-mindedness is a no-go area and yet in Wales I encounter on a daily basis xenophobic pettiness, institutions hell bent on sending Wales back into a Dark Age that constantly seeks refuge in the deluded dreams of ancient grandeur.
"A resistance to change in a 21st century society is just plain insane."
Mr Ruck claimed the Kidwell-e Festival, the first in event in the UK to celebrate the rise of the e-book, had received zero local support after fewer than 100 people came along to the event. It had been hoped it would draw thousands, and since the event, Mr Ruck has been subject to months of criticism, including at the latest meeting of Kidwelly Town Council.
Mr Ruck said: "The passion, anger and spirit of the Welsh now seems limited to the rugby pitch, when it should be directed at a cosmopolitan world that is within such easy reach.
"I came to Kidwelly, bought a house here, and I have to say that in spite of the above, its people have not disappointed me.
"The hairdresser, the café owner, the man in the street have all become friends but these are the real Welsh, these are the people who know how to laugh and have fun at their own expense.
"They are not the misguided politicos with an Old Labour grudge to bear, they are not the Welsh academic elites who look after only themselves and another translation of the Mabinogion, they are not the self-serving artistic chosen ones who exist only for the next taxpayer hand-out.
"It is time for me to move on to a place without separation, to a place with an open-mind and a welcome to all men, a United Kingdom, where all men (and women) are equal."