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Daryl Leeworthy

Fury of Past Time: A life of Gwyn Thomas (Hardback)

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"Leeworthy set out to write a biography which fully reflects the complexity of Thomas’ life, especially foregrounding ‘the political character of Gwyn’s character and creative output’ but he does so much more, expanding the reader’s knowledge by giving us not just the life but also the times... This punchy portrait of a real Welsh literary heavyweight hits home with the brutal realism of Thomas’ jabbing prose and mordant wit."  – Jon Gower, Nation. Cymru


"Fury of Past Time is a model of its kind. An immense amount of research has gone into this biography, which will be the standard work on Gwyn Thomas for many years to come. It deserves to be read by those who already admire the fiction and will be an invaluable introduction for anyone coming to his writing for the first time." – John Barnie (A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Books Council of Wales.)


"Leeworthy knows his subject intimately, sympathises with him entirely, and locates him globally in such a way as to leave the reader with no doubt as to his importance as a writer... Fury of Past Time is destined to be the definitive work on ‘the Rhondda Runyon’ for many years to come." – Bethan Jenkins, Wales Arts Review


Gwyn Thomas was born, the last of twelve children, into a Rhondda mining family in 1913. After a childhood marked by the strikes of the 1920s, he went off to study Spanish at Oxford University and in Madrid, where he met the poet Federico García Lorca and witnessed the turmoil which would lead to the Spanish Civil War. On his return, amidst the economic mire of the 1930s and his own burgeoning teaching career in Barry in the 1940s, he picked up his pen and began to write. For more than forty years, until his death in 1981, as novelist, screenwriter, master of the short story, and prizewinning playwright, Gwyn Thomas delivered compelling and comedic portraits of his world of South Wales. His creative genius earned enduring fame on both sides of the Atlantic and on both sides of the European Cold War divide. As a provocative and insightful broadcaster, he embraced the possibilities of radio and television, whilst leaving his hosts and guests alike in fits of knowing laughter.

This landmark biography, enriched with unrivalled access to private papers and international archives, tells the remarkable story of one of modern Wales’s greatest literary voice.



Daryl Leeworthy is the Rhys Davies Trust Research Fellow at Swansea University, where he works on the cultural and political history of modern Wales. His several books include Labour Country: Political Radicalism and Social Democracy in South Wales, 1831-1985 (2018) and A Little Gay History of Wales (2019).