South West Wales

Novelist Iris Gower dies aged 75

Iris Gower
Image caption Iris Gower's first novel was published in the 1970s

The best-selling novelist Iris Gower, who wrote more than 30 historical novels centred on her home city of Swansea, has died aged 75.

The writer died in Singleton Hospital, Swansea, last Tuesday after a short illness.

The former nursery teacher was three-quarters of the way through writing another book.

Her son Paul Davies said his mother had a "passion" for writing about the industrial heritage of Swansea.

Gower also leaves three other children - Tudor, Angela, and Susan - and 11 grandchildren. She was born in Mumbles and lived in Derwen Fawr, a part of Sketty in Swansea.

Her first novel, Tudor Tapestry, was published in 1974 while her last completed book, House of Shadows, was published earlier this year.

"She was always writing and her writing is her legacy," said her son.

Gower first started writing short stories and poems when her family was young, and went on to sell millions of books.

Researching the industrial heritage, including the coal and copper mining industries of Swansea, would take up to six months for each novel, said Mr Davies.

"I think she would like to be remembered for the fact that although they were fiction, the historical facts in her novels were used by the university," he said.

Gower received an honorary fellowship from the University of Wales Swansea in 1999 and was also awarded an MA in creative writing from Cardiff University.

Her son said she was a great supporter of literature, attending writing forums and becoming patron of the Year of Literature in Swansea.

"She was very down to earth, very welcoming, and she loved to meet her public at book signings and other events," he added.

Her late husband Tudor died in 2000 and she leaves behind a partner, Peter.

The funeral takes place at Morriston Crematorium, Swansea at 1500 BST next Friday.

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