By 1939 , he had become a naturalistic author of note among the Anglo-Welsh school of writers: his works had circulated widely — three novels ( Rhondda Roundabout , 1934 , Black Parade , 1935 , Bidden to the Feast , 1938 ), a play ( Land of My Fathers , 1937 ) and the first volume of his autobiography ( Unfinished Journey , 1937 ). A short run of the stage-version of Rhondda Roundabout on Shaftesbury Avenue added to his fame. The film, Proud Valley , for which he wrote the dialogue and in which he took a small part, also appeared at this time. In Wales he was well-known to many audiences as a radio personality and as a speaker .
Most of his time during World War II was taken up with making speeches — sometimes with a brief introduction in Welsh — on behalf of the Ministry of Information and the National Savings Movement , and in preparing radio-scripts and articles .
He accepted a minor role in another film. Between August 1941 and the end of 1942 , he undertook two exhausting lecture-tours in the United States and Canada , and later he visited troops on the European battlefronts , in Belgium and Holland in 1944 , in Italy in 1945 . He also produced The Man David ( 1944 ), ‘an imaginary presentation, based on fact, of the life of David Lloyd George from 1880 to 1914 ’. In the general election of 1945 he supported the candidature of Conservative , Sir James Grigg . This was the fifth change in his political allegiance, but throughout his life his philosophy was based on left-wing ideas with a childlike religious faith.
From 1946 to 1951 , he again applied himself to authorship with the publication of another two volumes of autobiography ( Me and Mine , 1946 and Give Me Back My Heart , 1950 ), three new novels ( Off to Philadelphia in the Morning , 1947 , Some Trust in Chariots , 1948 , and River out of Eden , 1951 ) and a play ( Transatlantic Episode , 1947 ). His son, Lawrence , was killed in action in 1942 ; in 1946 , his wife, Laura , died, and in 1948 his son, David . For his services to the community and his achievements in literature, in 1948 he was made a CBE . In the same year he became an adherent of the Moral Re-Armament Movement ; he spoke in support of its ideals in Cardiff and at other centres in Wales ; and in 1949 he spent three months in the United States promoting the cause.
Compared with much of his earlier work, his five novels of the 1950s Lily of the Valley and Lucky Lear , 1952 , Time and the Business , 1953 , Choral Symphony , 1955 and Come Night: End Day , 1956 , reveal a sharp decline in literary standards. In 1954 , he married (2) Gladys Morgan , a library-assistant in Rhiwbina . He was elected first president of the English section of Yr Academi Gymreig ; and, in February 1970 , he received an award from the Welsh Arts Council for his distinguished contribution to the literature of Wales . Still prolific in his writing , from 1956 to his death on 7 May, 1970 , he continued to produce novels, plays, autobiography, biography ; but none was published. The manuscripts are preserved in the National Library . Although his work varied widely in quality, Black Parade and Off to Philadelphia in the Morning have sufficient merit to make him an author of stature, while Bidden to the Feast and Unfinished Journey are two of the finest works in the whole of Anglo-Welsh literature.
Dr Keri Edwards, Bargod
Published date: 2001