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This report is taken from PN Review 109, Volume 22 Number 5, May - June 1996.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams

It is not too late, as I write, to look back for a moment on the year just ended. Things began badly you might say. We awoke on the first day of 1995 to learn that Harri Webb, poet and patriot had, with a touch of irony, died on New Year's Eve. Harri had been ailing for a long time and, latterly, had acquired the ascetic, bearded mien of an Old Testament prophet, but he was essentially a convivial character (though with an acerbic edge) who loved a pint and a joke. Then Glyn Jones, poet, short story writer, novelist, who had been for many years a touchstone and talisman for all involved in Anglo-Welsh writing, died in April. Lynette Roberts, like Glyn a survivor of the 'first flowering' in the 1930s, died in September and Gwyn A. Williams, that prodigious communicator in every respect but physical stature, in November.

No apology is needed for including Gwyn Alf, as he was known, partly to distinguish him from other Gwyn Williamses, in the list. Although he was a professional historian, he was a member of the Welsh Academy of writers and had a rare way with words. No one who heard him speak is likely to forget how his stammer became not an impediment but another device in the formidable armoury of his rhetoric. His brilliance as a student was such that many believed 'Alf was a soubriquet, an abbreviation for alpha, the grade he invariably received for ...


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