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Famous Welsh Writers

Updated on May 21, 2011

This hub is dedicated to the celebration of Saint David's Day.

Wales is a small country in the United Kingdom. Even though it is a small component of a greater union, Wales has its own identity, its own music, its own literature. Despite its small size, Wales has made a large mark upon the world. It has been called home by many famous people, including some writers. Welsh authors (and there are quite a few) have produced some of the world's best loved poetry, fiction, and screenplays.

Famous Welsh Authors

The Welsh authors I will be covering are Roald Dahl, Andrew Davies, and Dylan Thomas.

photo by Carl Van Vechten
photo by Carl Van Vechten

Roald Dahl

Born: September 13. 1916

Died: November 23, 1990

Roald Dahl was greatly loved as a children’s author. He wrote a good deal of adult short stories, but he is best known for his seventeen children’s stories. His children’s books are characterized as sympathetic with the feelings of children and are told with creativity and imagination.

Life:

Roald Dahl was born in Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales in 1916. His Norwegian parents named him after Roald Amundsen the explorer. Roald grew up speaking both Norwegian and English, and he often traveled to Norway for vacations. In 1920, Roald’s sister died of appendicitis and was shortly followed by their father who died of pneumonia. Roald was athletic in school and did well in squash and boxing. He grew up to be a tall six foot six. Before the War started, Roald worked in Tanzania for Shell Petroleum Company. When World War II broke out, Roald joined the Royal Air Force, becoming a flying ace. In 1942, he was transferred to Washington, D.C., where he wrote and published his first work after the prompting of C.S. Forester. In 1943, he wrote his first children’s book The Gremlins. But for the first years of his writing career, Roald Dahl principally wrote for adults. In 1953, he married actress Patricia Neal whom he met through Lillian Hellman. Roald and Patricia had five children. His children inspired Roald to write some of the most beloved children’s books of all time. In 1983, Roald and Patricia were divorced after Roald’s affair with Patricia’s friend, Felicity Crosland. Shortly after the divorce, Roald and Felicity were married. Roald Dahl died in 1990 of a rare blood disease.

Famous Works:

James and the Giant Peach (1961)

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964)

Fantastic Mr. Fox (1970)

Danny, the Champion of the World (1975)

The Twits (1980)

George’s Marvelous Medicine (1981)

The BFG (1982)

Matilda (1988)

 

Andrew Davies

Born: September 20, 1936

Although Andrew Davies has written some fiction, he is best known for his screenwriting. Thousands have fallen in love with his film and television adaptions, some of which have been produced by BBC and aired on Masterpiece Theater.

Life:

Andrew Wynford Davies was born in Rhiwbina, Cardiff, Wales in 1936. He attended University College in London to study English, graduating in 1957. Andrew taught and lectured at schools and universities from 1958-1987. In 1964, Andrew Davies wrote his first radio play. He married Diana Huntley in 1960; they have two children.

Famous Works:

Pride and Prejudice (1995)

Wives and Daughters (1999)

Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

Doctor Zhivago (2002)

Brideshead Revisited (2008)

Sense and Sensibility (2008)

Little Dorrit (2008)

Dylan Thomas

Born: October 27, 1914

Died: November 9, 1953

Dylan Thomas was a Welsh poet. His poetry is musical and beautifully written. Dylan Thomas was also known for his distinct voice in poetry readings and radio broadcasts.

Life:

Dylan Marlais Thomas was born in Swansea, South Wales. His parents raised him and his sister to speak English not Welsh. Dylan was a sickly and neurotic child who grew up with a great love for poetry and literature. He published his first poem in his school’s magazine. When he was 16, Dylan dropped out of school. He took up reporting and then acting. In 1934, his first collection of poetry was published. In 1937, Dylan married Caitlin MacNamara, a dancer and author of Leftover Life to Kill. Dylan and Caitlin had three children. When World War II began, Dylan was unable to be drafted due to “poor health”. He was known to be a heavy drinker. During the war, Dylan wrote scripts for war films and started to broadcast on the radio. His poetry readings and radio broadcasts were memorable because of his idiosyncratic voice. In the early 1950’s, Dylan traveled to America on speaking tours. In 1953, Dylan Thomas died of what appears to be complications of pneumonia and alcoholism, but his death has been the subject of much doubt and debate. He died while in America, but was taken home to be buried in Wales. There is plaque dedicated to Dylan Thomas in Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey.

 

Famous Works:

“And Death Shall Have No Dominion” (1933?)

“Fern Hill” (1946)

“In My Craft or Sullen Art” (1946)

“Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” (1951)

“The Followers” (1952?)

Under Milk Wood (1954)

 

There are many famous people from Wales. Some other writers who are reportedly of Welsh descent are:

John Donne

George Eliot

C.S. Lewis

Sinclair Lewis

Jack London

James Whitcomb Riley

Comments

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    • Rose West profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose West 

      7 years ago from Michigan

      EdTheory, Dylan Thomas had such a way with words, didn't he?

    • profile image

      EdTheory 

      7 years ago

      Very informative! Under Milk Wood is one of my favorite books.

    • Rose West profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose West 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      I haven't seen any Tales of the Unexpected - it sounds interesting though.

      As to Prince Charles, many of our leaders are no better here in America.

    • Ladybythelake55 profile image

      Ladybythelake55 

      8 years ago from I was Born in Bethesda, Maryland and I live in Chicago,IL

      I remember Ronald Dalh's Tales of The Unexpected on TV they were some of the errorist tales. I am an American and proud to be one and I am not in love with England. After what Charles did to Diana he made a mockery of England by marring his concubine.

    • Rose West profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose West 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      Nell Rose, Roald Dahl books do a great job of getting kids interested in reading. Thank you for reading my hub!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      8 years ago from England

      Hiya, yes I remember all the Roald Dahl books, my son loved them when he was small, I still remember them now. in fact they were the main books that got him reading. great stuff thanks. nell

    • Rose West profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose West 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      Thank you for coming by to read! C.S. Lewis was a great writer who continues to inspire his readers. I'm glad you enjoyed!

    • profile image

       

      8 years ago

      Wow, this is a great hub tribute to Welsh writers. I love C.S. Lewis, he helped to remold my way of thinking. Thanks for sharing your insight.

    • Rose West profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose West 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      Thank you for reading, TnFlash! There are lots of Welsh writers... apparently it is the land of poetry.

    • TnFlash profile image

      TnFlash 

      8 years ago from Tampa, Florida

      Great Hub! I did realize there were so many famous Welsh authors. Good Information.

    • Rose West profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose West 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      Tony, I'm so glad you enjoyed this! Those recordings must be great. Dylan Thomas's voice is so soothing to listen to, and it's great that we have it recorded for everyone to hear. Thank you for your comment!

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      As a big fan of Dylan Thomas I loved this Hub. Thanks so much. In particular I love his "play for voices" called "Under Milkwood" of which I have the CD of the original BBC cast with a lot of Welsh actors, including the great Richard Burton. Magical and wonderful. Also have a CD of him reading his own poetry which is also great.

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • Rose West profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose West 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      Dohn121, I thought you were a Roald Dahl type of guy :) Good to know you're up on your Welsh writers. I feel like I need to go read a whole lot more than I have. Dylan Thomas, here I come!

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 

      8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      What a fantastic hub, Rose West. Roald Dahl helped to inspire me to become a writer and so was Jack London. I read almost all of their works. I also covered Dylan Thomas and John Donne in college (I really had no choice in the matter) which of course is a good thing. Thank you so much for writing this. Excellent work!

      Dohn

    • Rose West profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose West 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      E. Nicolson, thank you for reading. I was surprised myself to discover that all of these authors were Welsh. Dylan Thomas has quite a way with words.

    • E. Nicolson profile image

      E. Nicolson 

      8 years ago

      Thank you for an informative Hub. I did not know that Dahl was Welsh. I have been a great fan of Dylan Thomas' poetry for many years, and still find him a challenge.

    • Rose West profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose West 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      2uesday, so glad you enjoyed! Dylan Thomas has really left a lasting impression on his readers. Thank you for reading and commenting!

    • 2uesday profile image

      2uesday 

      8 years ago

      Enjoyed this hub, Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood was the first piece of creative writing I can remember being impressed by.Thanks Rose.

    • Rose West profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose West 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      rmcraynes, thanks for that info. Yes, Andrew Davies does have a pretty impressive list ... and I only listed a few.

      Kendall H., Roald Dahl was a great writer. I want to find some of his adult fiction and see if it's anything like his children's fiction. Thank you for your compliment :) I always appreciate your taking time to read!

    • Kendall H. profile image

      Kendall H. 

      8 years ago from Northern CA

      Great Hub! I loved Roald Dahl books when I was younger! C.S. Lewis is also one of my favorite authors. Thanks for always writing great stuff!

    • rmcrayne profile image

      rmcrayne 

      8 years ago from San Antonio Texas

      It's a poem Rose, and made into a film with Denholm Elliot. I included it in my Christmas Movies hub. You can also find complete transcripts of the poem online. Or in old HS English Lit text books, which I how I was exposed to it.

      I think I'm most impressed with Davies' book roster.

    • Rose West profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose West 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      Thank you for reading and commenting, rmcrayne! Who knew all these authors were from Wales? I'll have to get my hands on the story you mentioned; it sounds good!

    • rmcrayne profile image

      rmcrayne 

      8 years ago from San Antonio Texas

      Quite an impressive catalogue of work from these authors! I always liked Thomas' A Child's Christmas in Wales, because of the little unexpected twists.

    • Rose West profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose West 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      china man, thank you for reading! I would love to go to Wales someday; it sounds like a wonderful place. Those poor people in New Quay ...

      Quill, I'm glad you enjoyed reading! I always appreciate your coming by.

      Jane Grey, Roald Dahl certainly knew how to make a lasting impression. I think it's interesting that he didn't try to write children's fiction (except for that one book) until he had children of his own. Thank you for your congratulations ;)

    • Jane Grey profile image

      Ann Leavitt 

      8 years ago from Oregon

      Wow, I loved this! Wales certainly has an author's wall of fame bigger then most other countries its size.

      I remember being transported for a week or two when I read James and the Giant Peach as a child. Roald Dahl certainly had an extraordinary imagination for a "grown-up"! (And congrats on 60 hubs and 101 fans! Whoot!)

      Jane

    • profile image

      "Quill" 

      8 years ago

      Great Huib, filled with the great of writing and more...

      Blessings

    • profile image

      china man 

      8 years ago

      Thorough job, well done! I lived for 5 years in New Quay where Dylan Thomas lived for a long time, people there still claim he owes them money!

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