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Dreams of the Road
Out of Print

Local History
Publication Date
06 June 2007
Out of Print
Birlinn Limited
Age Range

Dreams of the Road

Gypsy Life in the West Country
by Martin Levinson and Avril Silk - Find out more about the author

'An enthralling look at a way of life that is fast changing' - Somerset Life

'A fascinating book' - Heritage Focus Magazine

'A fine tribute' - Fact & Fiction

Travelling Gypsies have been a distinctive feature of south-west England for hundreds of years. Distinctive ‘vardos’ (wagons) rattled along the roads of Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, their occupants hawking their goods and skills, speaking in Romani, and constructing a strong oral storytelling culture.

Currently, Gypsies find themselves at a crossroads. Legislation restricting travel, a shortage of official sites and the loss of their traditional stopping places all threaten centuries-old nomadic patterns. Over the past few decades increasing numbers of Gypsies have been forced to give up the road. The challenge for Gypsies today is how to retain a separate culture and lifestyle when the foundations underpinning their distinctive existence have been removed.

Dreams of the Road celebrates this rich culture, collecting together memories, anecdotes, the fears and the hopes of Gypsies living in the south-west of England.

Martin Levinson is a lecturer and researcher at Exeter University, and is a leading authority in the field of Romani Studies, having published numerous articles in major international journals. He has written a PhD investigating attitudes and values among Gypsy children and has also been a teacher of English, Drama, History and Photography.

Avril Silk was co-editor of the award-winning Just Women magazine and has written for a wide range of publications. During her long teaching career she spent eight years working with Traveller families in Somerset. With her help, a group of young Somerset Gypsies published their own book, True Romanies, True Friends. Avril also makes stained glass windows and has shared her skills with members of the Gypsy community.