The Novelist Elena Puw Morgan: Rethinking Modernism
In association with the Montgomeryshire Society
The June Gruffydd Memorial lecture
Elena Puw Morgan (1900-73) was a pioneering Welsh-language author of the mid-twentieth century. She is best known today through television adaptations of her two major novels, Y Wisg Sidan / The Silk Gown (1939) and Y Graith / The Scar (1943) on S4C at the turn of the last century. Morgan’s work was critically and popularly acclaimed in its day, too: she was the first woman to win the Prose Medal at the National Eisteddfod in 1938, for Y Graith, and was awarded numerous further Eisteddfod prizes too. At the same time, Morgan’s moving accounts of women’s lives and hardships in rural Wales found a large popular readership and went into numerous editions, and later, radio serialisations.
This lecture explores Morgan’s life and work, and argues that her writing is astonishing in its audacity, breaking new literary ground in its accounts of themes which were – and indeed, remain even today – scandalous. This work stands out, too, for its compassion and sensitivity towards its characters, and can be recognised as a major landmark in modern Welsh writing.
Speaker: Dr Mererid Puw Davies FLSW Associate Professor, Head of German at UCL
In the chair: John Jones, Chair of the Montgomeryshire Society