Richard Llewellyn

Richard Llewellyn

Last updated: 28 November 2008

Novelist Richard Llewellyn remains one of Wales' most important literary figures due to his best known work, How Green Was My Valley.

Llewellyn, or more precisely Richard David Vivian Llewellyn Lloyd, was born in Hendon, London in 1906, having claimed during his lifetime to have been born in St David's in Pembrokeshire. This myth was dispelled after his death, though he was of Welsh ancestry.

Llewellyn was most famous for his novel How Green Was My Valley, published in 1939 having been drafted in India. He based the work on conversations with those from the mining community of Gilfach Goch, though claimed it was written as a result of his actual experience in the area.

After the novel gained critical acclaim it was turned into a Hollywood blockbuster in 1941 starring the likes of Walter Pidgeon and Roddy McDowall. It has also been serialised twice by the BBC, in 1960 and 1975, the latter version starring Stanley Baker, Siân Phillips and Nerys Hughes.

Llewellyn wrote three sequels to the novel: Up, Into The Singing Mountain (1960), Down Where The Moon Is Small (1966), and Green, Green My Valley Now (1975).

His novel None But The Lonely Heart, published in 1943, was also turned into an Oscar winning film starring Ethel Barrymore (Best Supporting Actress) and Cary Grant.

During World War Two Llewellyn served in the Welsh Guards, rising to the rank of Captain. Following the end of the war he worked as a journalist covering the Nuremberg trials and later worked as a screenwriter for MGM.

In addition to his novels he also wrote two successful mystery plays, Poison Pen (1938) and Noose (1947). Other notable novels include A Few Flowers for Shiner (1950) and A Night Of Bright Stars (1979).

Llewellyn died in November 1983.

Selected bibliography

  • How Green Was My Valley (1939)
  • None but the Lonely Heart (1943)
  • A Few Flowers for Shiner (1950)
  • Green, Green My Valley Now (1975)
  • A Night of Bright Stars (1979)

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