Novelist Menna Gallie was born at Ystradgynlais, in the Swansea Valley.
Often described as a female “Dylan Thomas”, Menna is considered one of the leading 20th century Welsh women writers in English. Praised by Eleanor Roosevelt, her work has always been popular in America and her first novel Strike for a Kingdom, in 1959, was a runner-up for the prestigious Gold Dagger award.
After attending Swansea University, she went on to live in Northern Ireland where her experiences were crystallised in her novel You’re Welcome to Ulster, one of the first pieces of fiction written about The Troubles in Northern Ireland and a rare account by a woman.
Menna was a first language Welsh speaker, and also translated into English Caradog Pritchard’s Un Nos Ola Leuad, under the title Full Moon in 1973. Menna was also a popular public speaker and broadcaster for BBC Wales and Northern Ireland, famous for her trenchant views on life in Wales, gender equality, politics, and literature; their seriousness always leavened by personal reminiscences and witty anecdotes.
With the growth of interest in women’s writing, four of Menna’s novels have recently been republished, with her reputation as a distinctive and original literary voice secured.