A hint of controversy
Another contemporary of Dylan Thomas was Eluned Phillips from Cenarth. Her autobiography 'The Reluctant Redhead' relates how she lived in London and Paris, where she also knew Augustus John, Edith Piaf, Jean Cocteau, and Picasso. Recognised in Wales as an accomplished poet, she won the eisteddfod bardic crown twice.
The controversial author Caradoc Evans, originally from Rhydlewis, was a short story writer, novelist and playwright. Dylan Thomas travelled to Aberystwyth in 1934 to visit him. Evans’ collection of stories about peasant life in west Wales, ‘My People’ (1915), was considered shocking at the time of its publication, but has since been compared with James Joyce’s ‘Dubliners’. Visit Rhydlewis, in the heart of the Ceredigion countryside, or Aberystwyth and nearby New Cross, where he lived with his wife, the author Marguerite Helene, Countess Barcynska - nom de plume Oliver Sandys. Her novel, 'The Pleasure Garden', became Alfred Hickcock's debut feature film.
Islwyn Ffowc Ellis, originally from the Wrexham area but settled at Lampeter where he was a university lecturer, authored several novels exploring 20th century politics. 'Cysgod y Cryman' and its sequel 'Yn ôl i Leifior', were translated into English as ‘In the shadow of the sickle’ and ‘Back to Lleifior’.
Contemporary authors Niall Griffirths and Malcolm Pryce have a different perspective on Aberystwyth and rural Wales. Pryce tells humourous tales of druids and detectives in an affectionate pastiche of the film noir detective genre, set in an Aberystwyth controlled by a Druid Mafia whilst Wales Book of the Year winner Griffith's characters are atougher antiheroes, but perhaps his list of favourite authors shows that he is following in the footsteps of some of his own heroes.
There's an audio tour based on Malcolm Price's 'Aberystwyth Mon Amour' which is a practical walking tour and an amusing introduction to the world of Pryce's detective, Louie Knight.