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Famous Authors Inspired by North Wales

Published on 14 Jun 2021 by Gwion Llwyd

With its majestic mountains, beaches, rivers & waterfalls, it’s no surprise that there are so many famous authors inspired by North Wales. Do the same beautiful landscapes inspire you too?


Our first famous authors inspired by North Wales is Beatrix Potter. She spent time holidaying with her family in Llanbedr, near Harlech. Beatrix Potter reportedly said the coast near Llanbedr was the first time she had witnessed the sky meet the sea. Spending time walking around Llanbedr with a sketchbook in hand, she drew inspiration from the area for her work


Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien was inspired by the landscapes and language of North Wales. He adapted medieval and modern Welsh grammar and its phonetics to create the Elvish language in his Lord of the Rings books, and he drew on Welsh town and village names for his own fictional places.


Although less well-known than his namesake Dylan, many regard Ronald Stuart Thomas – RS – as the greatest Welsh poet of the 20th century. He lived in Criccieth, before moving to Aberdaron on Pen Llŷn. His poems, which frequently feature the landscapes, farming communities and people of North Wales, are regarded as among the most starkly beautiful in the English language. Ann, one of our cottage owners, has written to advise that RS Thomas once lived at her beautiful cottage Twll https://www.dioni.co.uk/cottage/twll How cool is that!?


The soldier-poet Ellis Evans – better known by his bardic name, Hedd Wyn – is a major figure in Welsh cultural life. He was killed in action at Passchendaele just weeks before he was due to be awarded top honours at the 1917 National Eisteddfod. The poet’s family farm, Yr Ysgwrn, near Trawsfynydd, Snowdonia, is now a visitor centre with exhibitions about his life and legacy, Welsh language and culture, the bardic tradition, rural history, and the First World War.


Charles Tunnicliffe was an internationally renowned wildlife illustrator, painter, and writer. He wrote and illustrated several of his own books, including Mereside Chronicle and Shorelands Summer Diary, an account of his first summer of living on Anglesey after he and Winifred moved there in 1947. During the 1960s he famously illustrated five children’s books for Ladybird, and produced illustrations for Brooke Bond Tea cards. There is a permanent collection of Tunnicliffe’s beautiful work at the Oriel Ynys Mȏn in Llangefni, Anglesey.


Best known for his award-winning series His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman lived just above Llanbedr, near Harlech. The area provided a great deal of inspiration for Northern lights (AKA The Golden Compass), and the author says that ‘Good God Corner’ on the way from Llanbedr to Harlech, and the bridge over the meeting point of the rivers Artro and Nantcol in Llanbedr, are specific landmarks that inspired him, along with the Rhinogydd mountains and Welsh mythology


Alfred ‘Fred’ Bestall wrote and illustrated Rupert Bear for the London Daily Express, from 1935 to 1965. The illustrations of Rupert The Bear were one of the reasons for Rupert’s popularity, and these were very much inspired, if not directly taken from Snowdonia whilst Alfred stayed at his holiday home in Beddgelert.

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