He won the chair at the Machynlleth national eisteddfod in 1937 for an ode ‘ Y Ffin ’ and that of the radio national eisteddfod (which was to have been held at Mountain Ash ) in 1940 , on an ode ‘ Pererinion ’. About this time he composed his drama, Y Ffordd , on the Rebecca riots , which was translated into English : he was the first to write a radio play in Welsh . He also edited Storïau'r Henllys Fawr , a collection of short stories by W.J. Griffith ( 1938 ) . He adapted R. Hughes Williams 's Yr Hogyn Drwg as a radio play. About 1937 he contracted multiple sclerosis , but he continued to work for several years hoping for a recovery. During his illness he began to write novels . The first, O Law i Law , appeared in 1943 and it was clear that a novelist of extraordinary stature had made his appearance. This novel was followed by others, published every Christmastime — William Jones ( 1944 ), Yr Ogof ( 1945 ), Chwalfa ( 1946 ) and Y Cychwyn ( 1947 ). With the exception of Yr Ogof his novels are based on life in the slate quarries of north Wales , but William Jones also describes life in the Rhondda valleys during the Depression. At Christmas 1948 , when he was very ill he published Cân neu Ddwy , a volume of poems. In 1949 the University of Wales awarded him the degree of D.Litt. honoris causa , and in the same year he was granted a civil list pension . He d. 24 Oct. 1949 . The following summer an English translation of O Law i Law was published and it was very well received by some English critics. After Daniel Owen he was Wales 's most productive novelist and a ‘best-seller’. His work is characterised by gentleness, geniality, and kindness and by the courage of his chief characters.
Katherine Williams (‘Kate Roberts’), D.Litt., (1891-1985), Denbigh
Published date: 2001