T. Rowland Hughes: Chwalfa (Out of Their Night)

chwalfa

The latest addition to my website is T. Rowland HughesChwalfa (Out of Their Night). Hughes was an educationalist but, when he developed multiple sclerosis, started writing seriously, and wrote several novels, mainly concerned with life in the Welsh slate quarries, a play and a radio play, as well as poetry. This novel is about a long drawn-out strike in the slate quarries and the profound effect the strike has on the local community. We mainly follow the Evans family, with the father, Edward, very much involved in the strike. His two younger sons want to help but one eventually runs away to sea and the other suffers from ill health. The daughter, Megan, marries a scoundrel and the couple live with Edward and his wife, Martha, till the son-in-law, Ivor, commits what Edward sees as a betrayal, and becomes a traitor, i.e. returns to work while the strike is still on. Gradually, though, many of the men do return to work, while others drift away, quite a few go to the Rhondda Valley, to get jobs in coal mining. There is no real plot, except for the development of the strike. Rather, it is a portrait of a community that is broken up by the strike, a strike for which the author feels complete sympathy and, as such, works very well.

2 Replies to “T. Rowland Hughes: Chwalfa (Out of Their Night)”

  1. This engaging novel is essential reading to anyone interested in Labour Movement history, the proletarian novel or modern Welsh industrial history. The Welsh language version of the novel is not difficult to obtain but I was only able to obtain the English language version (Out of their Night) from a library using a bibliographic service. There are many writers who write about the working class but T. Rowland Hughes – a son of a quarry worker – writes from within the working class and from within a specific local community. The novel thus has it over novels such as Rape of the Fair Community and How Green was My Valley. It deserves to be better known by an English speaking public and a reprint would be most welcome. Is there a publisher with the social commitment to do this?

    1. Yes, a reprint would be welcome but I do not see it happening, sadly, I could say the same – it should be reprinted – for all too many novels on this site.

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