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Huw Lewis

To Hear the Skylark's Song

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‘A thoughtful and passionate memoir, moving and respectful’

-Tessa Hadley.


Huw Lewis was born in Merthyr in 1964. His father an engineer at the Hoover factory, his mother first a housewife, then a nurse. He has two older sisters and younger brother, they were all brought up in the village of Aberfan in south Wales.

To Hear the Skylark’s Song is a memoir about how Aberfan survived and eventually thrived after the terrible disaster of the 21st of October 1966, when Pantglas school took the full force of thousands of tons of colliery waste and a community lost a generation of children. It is a story about how people held a community together and created a space for each other to thrive.

It is also a wonderfully thoughtful and insightful story of what it was like to grow up in a Valley’s community in the 70s: a thriving place of people, shops, clubs, chapel concerts, coal mines, interwoven with gossip and stories and, of course, the annual bus trip to Barry Island.

Aberfan found a way to carry on, and Huw vividly brings to life how the sense of community provided strength and comfort in the shadow of a lifetime-long grief. A community that continues to innovate and inspire.

Huw Lewis taught at Afon Taf High School before being elected to the Welsh Assembly. He represented the constituency of Merthyr and Rhymney and held several posts in the Welsh Government. He now works for the University of South Wales.