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This report is taken from PN Review 219, Volume 41 Number 1, September - October 2014.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams
Meic Stephens’ splendid biography, Rhys Davies – A Writer’s Life is shortlisted in the creative non-fiction category for Wales Book of the Year 2013, the winner to be declared at a ceremony in Caernarfon in July. The book is the summation of many years’ study of Rhys Davies as author and service to the charitable Trust set up in his name through the philanthropy of his brother Lewis. Meic brought to the task of biographer unprecedented access to the materials of a life dedicated to writing, lived simply and, to a large extent, secretively. He also brought a knowledge of the history, the character – and the characters – of the south Wales valleys, the source of much of the best of Rhys Davies’s writing. He was, as they say, cut out for the job, and he has done it exceedingly well.

In 1969, Davies published Print of a Hare’s Foot – An Autobiographical Beginning. It is a typically fluent and entertaining account of his life as he sped, light-footed as a hare, to and fro between Blaenclydach and London (the former to recharge batteries with the stuff of valleys life, and his pockets with the wherewithal to maintain existence in the latter), leaving hardly a sign of his passing, for he travelled light and had no interest in personal space or possessions. The second part of the book describes travels farther afield, notably to the south of France and into the orbit of D.H. Lawrence. He was a staunch friend to Lawrence in his later years when ...

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