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This article is taken from PN Review 65, Volume 15 Number 3, January - February 1989.

Margiad Evans Idris Parry

Her real name was Peggy Eileen Whistler. She was born at Uxbridge on 17 March 1909 and died at Tunbridge Wells on her birthday in 1958. The family moved to Herefordshire towards the end of the 1914-18 war, so the border country between England and Wales became the background of her writings, the early novels being set in and around Ross-on-Wye. She took her pen-name from her father's mother, whose name was Evans. She wanted to keep that Welsh connection.

None of these facts is taken from her Autobiography (1943). That book tells us nothing about the details usually listed as boundaries of an individual life. Instead, it records 'my gravest (that is happiest) inner existence'. The work is based on diaries she kept between 1939 and 1943. The brain, she believed, is located in every part of the body, where each physical element senses connection with the earth and all life. 'There was no empty time, no era when my senses did not fly to me with wonders. Like children, like five familiars they brought creation home to me, and did not know what they carried.'

Some idea of her ambition as a writer can be drawn from the epigraph to her novel Creed (1936). This was her fourth publication. Before that, three other novels had come in quick succession: Country Dance (1932), The Wooden Doctor (1933) and Turf or Stone (1934). In Creed she says: 'I begin to write, relying on the force ...


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