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This report is taken from PN Review 220, Volume 41 Number 2, November - December 2014.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams
John Edmunds, a friend of many years’ standing, spent a day with us recently, breaking his journey back to London. Some will remember him as a regular BBC TV newsreader, and he has also been prominent in theatre, as an academic and, more recently, as a translator of Lorca, Four Major Plays (for the OUP World’s Classics series), and Four French Plays – Corneille, Molière, Racine (for Penguin Classics). We hadn’t seen him for some time and there was a lot to talk about. One of the tales he told us concerned the novelist Richard Llewellyn (1906–83), author of more than twenty novels, but remembered for only one, How Green Was My Valley, his debut in the genre. First published in 1939 and an immediate bestseller, it has never been out of print. It garnered a huge international readership, has been translated into thirty languages and frequently reprinted in several of them: by the 1970s the bulk of the author’s income came from translations. Llewellyn had a military bearing, acquired by service as a captain in the Welsh Guards in World War II and six years in the pre-war army, mostly in India, and was a tweedily stylish dresser. Much of his life after the war was spent travelling to collect stories and local colour, but he occasionally returned to Wales, where he had spent part of his boyhood with grandparents living in St David’s, Pembrokeshire, and found in the history of the South Wales coalfield and the Griffiths family of Gilfach Goch the theme and setting of an enduringly ...


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