This year marks one hundred years since the birth of Marion Eames. She was born in Penbedw on 5 February 1921 and is remembered by many as the author of Y Stafell Ddirgel, a set text in secondary schools across Wales some years ago. It was her first novel. More information about her life and career can be found on the Dictionary of Welsh Biography.
The National Library is not only home to Marion Eames’ published works, but also a collection of sound and film recordings, photographs and a bronze bust of her likeness by the late John Meirion Morris (which can be seen on the Art UK website), along with a numerous other manuscripts and papers.
Among the first group of papers, received as a gift by Marion Eames in 1988, was a complete draft of Y Stafell Ddirgel and, following her death in 2007, the Library received a further deposit of her papers from her nephew. This later group included an early typescript of Seren Gaeth, a novel inspired by a quotation from the autobiography of Ernest Jones, husband of Morfydd Llwyn Owen, the talented composer who died at a young age. This typescript, however, is incomplete, which only includes chapters 1 to 8 – what a shame for anyone who came across the first half of the draft copy of the novel!
But, through careful collecting over the years, the Library has fortunately been able to add items to the archive. Among the items included in later years in 2016 and 2018, are the second half of the novel (chapters 9-15) and, more significantly perhaps, an early manuscript draft of the novel also.
Through perseverance and patience, the Library has ensured that a more complete archive has been preserved, giving us a more comprehensive picture of the career of a novelist who we remember fondly on the centenary of her birth.
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