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This report is taken from PN Review 243, Volume 45 Number 1, September - October 2018.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams
Meic Stephens has died at his home in Whitchurch, Cardiff, a few weeks short of his eightieth birthday. He was probably the most influential figure in the literary life of Wales in the second half of the twentieth century. A prodigious worker, he was constantly bringing forth fresh projects and restlessly digging at them until they were done, even into his last year. He was a stakhanovite, a term (learned in visits to Russia) he enjoyed using, though not in self-regard.

When I returned to south Wales in 1966 to take up a lectureship at what was then Caerleon College of Education, a fellow member of staff, Gwilym Rees Hughes, Welsh editor of the infant Poetry Wales, encouraged me to contribute to the magazine and soon after introduced me to Meic. Our friendship began at once and lasted. He and I were contemporaries at UCW Aberystwyth, though I was a few years ahead of him and did not get to know him there. Like many another hopeful English scholar, Meic was felled by Professor Gwyn Jones’s Anglo-Saxon axe and pursued honours French instead. He had the better deal, for French was a gateway to a lasting interest in other cultures and languages. More immediately, as a newly qualified teacher, in 1962 it brought him a job at Ebbw Vale Grammar School. He was still wondering how he would get to Ebbw Vale daily, when an extraordinary serendipitous event occurred. While enjoying a pint at the Old Arcade, a venerable hostelry in Cardiff, which still at that time had little flaring gas jets near counter height ...


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