Emyr Humphreys

  • Prestatyn, Wales
  • Sheil Land Associates Ltd


Emyr Humphreys was born in Prestatyn, Wales, in 1919 and now lives on Anglesey.

He is a writer of novels, poetry, short stories, and non-fiction, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

He studied History at the University College of Wales at Aberystwyth, registering as a conscientious objector in 1939, during the war first working on Welsh farms, then as a relief worker in the Middle East and Italy. After a period of teaching, he became a BBC Drama Producer for ten years, before moving to Bangor University as a lecturer in drama. In 1972, he became a full-time writer.

His first novel was Little Kingdom (1946), and this was followed by many others, including the Somerset Award-winning Hear and Forgive (1952) and A Toy Epic (1958), published in Welsh and English, and winner of the 1958 Hawthornden Prize.  His cultural history of Wales, The Taliesin Tradition (1983), explores how literature in Wales has reshaped Welsh identity and considers the effect of a literary tradition that begins with the sixth-century poet Taliesin. He has also written and directed films for television in Welsh and English.

In 2004 Emyr Humphreys won the first Siân Phillips Award, for his contribution to radio and television in Wales. His latest collection of stories is Old People are a Problem (2003), his latest novel is The Shop (2005), and his latest collection of poetry is The Woman At the Window (2009). The late R.S. Thomas named him as 'the supreme interpreter of Welsh life'.


The Woman at the Window
The Shop
The Rigours of Inspection: poems and stories
Old People are a Problem
Conversations and Reflections
Ghosts and Strangers
Collected Poems
Dal pen rheswm
The Gift of a Daughter
Unconditional Surrender
Bonds of Attachment
Open Secrets
The Triple Net: a portrait of the writer Kate Roberts, 1891-1985
Darn o dir
An Absolute Hero
Salt of the Earth
Jones: a novel
The Taliesin Tradition: a quest for the Welsh identity
Etifedd y Glyn
Miscellany two
The Anchor Tree
Penguin Modern Poets
Landscapes: a sequence of songs
Bwrdd Datblygu Teledu Cymraeg
Theatr Saunders Lewis
The Best of Friends
Flesh and Blood
National Winner
Ancestor Worship: a cycle of eighteen poems
Dinas: drama gyfoes
Outside the House of Baal
The Gift
A Toy Epic
Y tri llais: nofel
The Italian Wife
A Man's Estate
Hear and Forgive
A Change of Heart: a comedy
The Voice of a Stranger
The Little Kingdom


Siân Phillips Award
Welsh Books Council Book of the Year
Cymrodorion Medal
Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year Award
Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year Award
Society of Authors Travel Award
Hawthornden Prize
Somerset Maugham Award

Author statement

I write to keep the wolves of time at bay; to entertain, inform, and, who knows, even educate in the best public broadcasting tradition; to say something that hasn't been said before; to explore the mystery of what man has made of man; to please myself.