Fight and Flight

Essays on Ron Berry

Editor(s) Georgia Burdett,Sarah Morse

Language: English

Genre(s): Literary Criticism

Series: Writing Wales in English

  • February 2020 · 224 pages ·216x138mm

  • · Paperback - 9781786835284
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781786835291
  • · eBook - epub - 9781786835307

About The Book

Ron Berry (1920–97) is one of the most remarkably astute yet relatively neglected twentieth-century Rhondda writers. An avid walker, birdwatcher, ‘potcher’, sportsman and miner, Berry is the product of a distinctive Rhondda landscape; the formidable peaks of Pen Pych and Cefn Nant y Gwair were to be a continuing source of inspiration for him in his writing. His idiosyncratic viewpoints, of which there are many, are reflected in both his memoir and fiction. As the first sustained critical study of his work, this collection seeks a literal, physical and chronological ‘zooming-outwards’, from the man himself to the personal and literary geographies and communities in which he was posited, to his creative legacy.


‘Ron Berry wrote with the pent-up ferocity of a pit explosion; and he jealously guarded the aggressive contrariness that energised his edgy talent. These pioneering essays take us to the heart of his prickly genius for capturing, with uncompromising honesty, that which was precious about his time, locality and vanishing community.’
-Professor M. Wynn Thomas, Swansea University

‘At last we have critical analyses which do justice to the complex, profound, immersive and vital work of one of our best, and most achingly underrated, novelists. Each of the contributors to this fascinating volume engages with the technical skills and structural, innovative intricacies of Berry’s body of work without ever neglecting its warmth and empathy.’
-Professor Niall Griffiths, Wolverhampton University

‘Ron Berry’s writing vividly animated the heyday and decline of the south Wales coalfield, and the lives set against its backdrop, with distinctive style, wit and authenticity. This book provides comprehensive and insightful coverage of a neglected but vital Welsh author.’
-Rhian E. Jones, writer and historian


Notes on Contributors
List of abbreviations
Ways Out: Ways In: Ways Back An Introduction
Barbara Prys-Williams, History is what you live: Ron Berry's rumination on his conflicted life and times
Tony Brown, A Man’s World: The Short Fiction of Ron Berry
John Perrott Jenkins, Reading Hector Bebb: Masculinity and Mythic Paradigms in So Long, Hector Bebb (1970)
Daryl Leeworthy, The Full-Time Amateur: Sport in Ron Berry’s south-Walian Imagination
Georgia Burdett, ‘The Inadequates’: Ron Berry and Disability
Sarah Morse, ‘Green always comes back’: Ron Berry’s ecocentric writing
Tomos Owen, ‘Land of my Feathers’: Ron Berry and Niall Griffiths on the Wing
John Pikoulis, ‘Word-of-mouth cultures cease in cemeteries’

About the Editor(s)

Author(s): Georgia Burdett

Georgia Burdett is an ABA therapist and tutor for children with autism, and an independent scholar.

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Author(s): Sarah Morse

Sarah Morse is Senior Executive Officer at the Learned Society of Wales. She completed a PhD in 2010 on the representations of landscape and the environment in the work of Gwyn Thomas and Ron Berry.

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