Famous Welsh Writers

Right IconThis ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Find out more about the greatest Welsh Writers, including Roald Dahl, C. S. Lewis, T. E. Lawrence, Samuel Johnson and Dylan Thomas.
Vote for Your Favourite Welsh Writers
 1 
Dylan Thomas
(Poet & Writer)
Dylan Thomas
5
Birthdate: October 27, 1914
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Swansea
Died: November 9, 1953

Dylan Thomas was a Welsh writer and poet who published popular poems, such as Do not go gentle into that good night, which was popularized in the 2014 movie, Interstellar, where Michael Caine's character recites the poem throughout the film. Dylan Thomas achieved tremendous popularity during his lifetime and remains popular after his untimely death at the age of 39.

 2 
Terry Jones
4
Birthdate: February 1, 1942
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Colwyn Bay, Denbighshire, Wales
Died: January 21, 2020
Starting his career as a comedy writer, actor-director Terry Jones later soared to fame as part of the Monty Python comedy team. An avid historian, too, he wrote several books and presented TV documentaries on the topic. In his later years, the BAFTA Cymru award winner struggled with dementia. 
 3 
Robert Owen
(Welsh Philanthropist and a Founder of 'Utopian Socialism' and the 'Cooperative' Movement)
Robert Owen
6
Birthdate: May 14, 1771
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Newtown, Montgomeryshire, Wales
Died: November 17, 1858
While working as an apprentice to a clothes manufacturer, Robert Owen often spent hours reading at his employer’s library. He later explored the textile industry and led a Manchester firm. Remembered as a pioneer of the co-operative movement and utopian socialism, he improved the working conditions of factory workers.
Recommended Lists:
 4 
George Herbert
(Poet recognized as one of the foremost British devotional lyricists)
George Herbert
3
Birthdate: April 3, 1593
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Montgomery, Wales
Died: March 1, 1633

George Herbert was an orator, poet, and priest of the Church of England. Although he is regarded as one of the most important British devotional lyricists, Herbert's poetry is often associated with the works of popular metaphysical poets. He was also a collector of proverbs and his collection was published in 1640.

Recommended Lists:
 5 
Howard Marks
(Welsh Drug Smuggler and Author of the Bestselling Autobiography, ‘Mr. Nice’)
Howard Marks
4
Birthdate: August 13, 1945
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kenfig Hill, Glamorgan, Wales
Died: April 10, 2016

An Oxford alumnus, Dennis Howard Marks was an aspiring teacher before chose the world of drugs. He went from consuming cannabis to selling it, and was eventually jailed for 7 years. He used numerous pseudonyms, such as Mr. Nice and Marco Polo, and also penned a bestselling memoir.

 6 
W. H. Davies
(British poet)
W. H. Davies
3
Birthdate: July 3, 1871
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Newport, Wales
Died: September 26, 1940

After losing his father at age 3, Georgian poet W. H. Davies was raised by his grandparents. He later spent moving from place to place in the US and Canada, taking up odd jobs, and even lost his right foot while trying to jump a freight train.

 7 
Arthur Machen
(Welsh Author Best Known for His Influential Supernatural, Fantasy, and Horror Fiction)
Arthur Machen
3
Birthdate: March 3, 1863
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Caerleon, Monmouthshire, Wales
Died: December 15, 1947

Welsh writer Arthur Machen was a master of science-fiction and horror. He soared to fame with his novella The Great God Pan, which later achieved cult status. However, in spite of his literary fame, he continued to live in poverty, working as a journalist, a clerk, and a teacher.

 8 
David Owen
(politician, physician)
David Owen
3
Birthdate: July 2, 1938
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Plympton

Apart from co-establishing the Social Democratic Party, British politician David Owen has previously also been a practicing physician. His many important posts include that of the foreign affairs secretary of state. He has also been part of major nuclear disarmament groups and has headed the Liverpool University as its chancellor.

 9 
Sarah Waters
(Novelist, Writer)
Sarah Waters
3
Birthdate: July 21, 1966
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Neyland, Wales

British author Sarah Waters soared to fame with her debut novel, Tipping the Velvet, and is known to include lesbian protagonists in her writings. Three of her books have been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Initially an academic, she also has a PhD in LGBT fiction. She is herself openly lesbian.

 10 
Andrew Davies
3
Birthdate: September 20, 1936
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rhiwbina, Cardiff, Wales

Acclaimed British screenwriter and novelist Andrew Davies is known for his adaptations of novels such as Bridget Jones’s Diary, House of Cards, and Pride and Prejudice. His original screenplays include A Poet In New York. Initially a grammar school teacher, he had later also been an English lecturer.

 11 
R. S. Thomas
(Welsh Poet and Anglican Priest)
R. S. Thomas
3
Birthdate: March 29, 1913
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales
Died: September 25, 2000

One of the most prominent modern Welsh poets, R. S. Thomas is remembered for his cold style of depicting the reality of his country. Born to a sailor, he grew up in port towns and grew up to become an Anglican priest. Many of his poems contain the character Iago Prytherch.

 12 
Victor Spinetti
(Welsh Actor, Author, Poet and Raconteur)
Victor Spinetti
5
Birthdate: September 2, 1929
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ebbw Vale, Wales
Died: June 19, 2012

Actor, author, and raconteur Victor Spinetti initially gained fame with his appearances in films of The Beatles. He later appeared in many comic roles in films such as The Taming of The Shrew. He was also a Tony Award-winning Broadway performer. He eventually succumbed to pancreatic cancer.

 13 
Richard Llewellyn
2
Birthdate: December 8, 1906
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Saint David’s, Wales
Died: November 30, 1983

Welsh novelist Richard Llewellyn is best remembered for his bestselling novel How Green Was My Valley, which was later filmed, too. While he initially studied hotel management in Italy, he later also worked in the army, and then became a reporter and a screenwriter and mostly lived a nomadic life.

 14 
Henry Vaughan
(Physician, Economist, Poet, Writer)
Henry Vaughan
2
Birthdate: April 17, 1621
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brecknockshire
Died: April 23, 1695

Anglo-Welsh metaphysical poet Henry Vaughan was a major literary figure of the Commonwealth period and is best remembered for Silex Scintillans. While he initially studied law, the Civil War disrupted his studies and he was called back home to serve Sir Marmaduke Lloyd. He was also a practicing physician.

 15 
Hester Thrale
2
Birthdate: January 27, 1741
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Wales
Died: May 2, 1821

A close associate of Samuel Johnson, Hester Thrale was married to an affluent brewer named Henry Thrale but, following Henry’s death, got married to her daughter’s Italian music teacher. A renowned diarist, she released volumes of letters and anecdotes of Samuel Johnson after Johnson’s death.

 16 
Dafydd ap Gwilym
2
Birthdate: 1320 AD
Birthplace: Ceredigion, Wales
Died: 1350 AD

One of the most influential poets in the history of Welsh literature, Dafydd ap Gwilym is remembered for his odes and rhymed couplets. His poems, such as Morfudd like the sun, mostly explore themes of nature and romantic love, and showcase a prominent influence of troubadours.

 17 
William Morgan
2
Birthdate: 1545 AD
Birthplace: Penmachno, Wales
Died: September 10, 1604

Anglican bishop William Morgan went down in history as the first to translate the Bible into Welsh. The bishop of Llandaff and St. Asaph, Morgan virtually added to the work already done by Welsh author William Salesbury, who had translated the New Testament and The Book of Common Prayer.

 18 
Aneirin
(Poet)
Aneirin
2
Birthdate: 0525 AD
Birthplace: Dumbarton, Wales

Aneirin was a Brythonic war poet best remembered for his medieval Welsh poem, Y Gododdin. Believed to have been a court poet or bard in a Cumbric kingdom in present-day Scotland, Aneirin is often referred to as the prince of bards. His works are preserved in a manuscript called the Book of Aneirin.

 19 
Thomas Pennant
(Welsh Naturalist, Traveller and Writer Known for Writings on Natural History, Geology and Geographical Expeditions)
Thomas Pennant
2
Birthdate: June 14, 1726
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Downing, Wales
Died: December 16, 1798

Welsh naturalist Thomas Pennant is remembered for his extensive research on zoology, especially ornithology. Known for his books such as British Zoology and History of Quadrupeds, he traveled to Scotland and remote parts of Britain, writing about his expeditions in his travelogues and treatises.

 20 
Dannie Abse
1
Birthdate: September 22, 1923
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cardiff, Wales
Died: September 28, 2014

Apart from establishing himself as one of the most prominent Welsh poets of his time, Dannie Abse also worked full-time as a physician. The Cholmondeley Award-winning poet, known for volumes such as Pythagoras, White Coat, Purple Coat, and Running Late, was also a memoirist and an editor.

 21 
Elaine Morgan
(Writer for television and the author of several books on evolutionary anthropology)
Elaine Morgan
1
Birthdate: November 7, 1920
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pontypridd, Wales
Died: July 12, 2013

Best remembered for her book The Descent of Woman, author Elaine Morgan was a 2-time BAFTA-winning TV write, who had penned many adaptations, and a scientific theorist. She propagated the aquatic ape theory of human evolution, suggesting that all other theories had been negligent of a woman’s role in evolution.

 22 
James Howell
(Welsh Historian and Writer Known for His 'Epistolae Ho-Elianae')
James Howell
1
Birthdate: 1594 AD
Birthplace: Abernant, Wales
Died: 1666 AD

Best known for his 4-volume Epistolae Ho-Elianae, James Howell had been a British historiographer royal, a post specifically made for him during the Restoration era. His works, however, are mostly plagiarized and historically inaccurate. He was also imprisoned for a few years, probably due to debts or his political criticism.

 23 
Howard Spring
(Welsh Author and Journalist Best Known for His Novels 'Fame Is the Spur' and 'My Son! My Son!')
Howard Spring
2
Birthdate: February 10, 1889
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cardiff, Wales
Died: May 3, 1965

Though Welsh author Howard Spring had quit studies at age 11, he was able to start his career as a journalist due to his evening classes, while working as an office boy. He later soared to fame with his bestselling novel O Absalom!, later released as My Son, My Son.

 24 
John Evans
(Writer)
John Evans
2
Birthdate: December 11, 1960
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Pontypridd

Welsh author and filmmaker John Evans had begun his career with the punk band The Tax Exiles. He later became a leading figure of the Welsh New Wave literary movement. Apart from novels such as Giants, he has also penned non-fiction. He also launched the environmental organizations Save The Badger and Raptor Watch.

 25 
Daniel Owen
(Novelist)
Daniel Owen
1
Birthdate: October 20, 1836
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mold, Wales
Died: October 22, 1895

The national novelist of Wales, Daniel Owen was born to a coal miner who died when his mine was flooded. Growing up amid poverty, he was initially trained as a tailor but later focused on literature. He is remembered for his novels such as Y Dreflan and his numerous poems and short stories.

 26 
Alun Lewis
1
Birthdate: July 1, 1915
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cwmaman, Wales
Died: March 5, 1944

Born to school teacher parents, Welsh poet Alun Lewis had shown his interest in poetry since childhood. After failing in his journalism career, he began teaching. During World War II, he joined the army and later began penning his war experiences as poems and short stories. He later accidentally shot himself to death.

 27 
Kate Roberts
(Welsh writer)
Kate Roberts
2
Birthdate: February 13, 1891
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rhosgadfan, Wales
Died: April 4, 1985

Author Kate Roberts was perhaps the first woman to make a significant impact in Welsh literature. The poverty and harsh living standards of Welsh villages was the predominant theme of most of her writings. She was mostly known for her short story collections, such as Tea in the Heather.

 28 
James Beattie
(Linguist, Poet, Translator, Philosopher, Writer)
James Beattie
1
Birthdate: October 25, 1735
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Laurencekirk, United Kingdom
Died: August 18, 1803

James Beattie was a Scottish philosopher, moralist, educator, and poet. His philosophical writings and poetry, which opposed slavery, are widely viewed as the primary source of Immanuel Kant's knowledge of David Hume. James Beattie, who was among the members that established the Royal Society of Edinburgh, is one of the 16 personalities depicted on the famous Scott Monument.

 29 
Vernon Watkins
2
Birthdate: June 27, 1906
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Maesteg, Wales
Died: October 8, 1967

Welsh poet Vernon Watkins was a close associate of poet Dylan Thomas and is remembered for his published volume of letters that Thomas had written to him. A Cambridge alumnus, he later worked as clerk in a bank and simultaneously wrote poems. His themes mostly revolve around Welsh legends.

 30 
Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd
(King of Gwynedd)
Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd
2
Birthdate: 1120 AD
Birthplace: Gwynedd, Wales
Died: 1170 AD

Welsh warrior prince Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd was also a talented poet who introduced the Welsh to courtly love songs. The son of Owain the Great, the king of North Wales, Hywel was instrumental in the occupation of Ceredigion. His poems were later released in The Myvyrian Archaiology of Wales.

 31 
John Dyer
(Welsh Poet)
John Dyer
1
Birthdate: 1699
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Llanfynydd, Carmarthenshire, Wales
Died: December 15, 1757

Welsh poet and painter John Dyer is best remembered for his iconic poem Grongar Hill, which is held by many as a precursor of the Romantic movement in English literarure. He was a master of the Miltonic blank-verse. He had also been a priest in Catthorpe for 9 years.

 32 
Catherine Tregenna
(Playwright known for Torchwood (2006), The Bench (2001) and Lucky Man (2016))
Catherine Tregenna
1
Birthplace: Wales
 33 
Myfanwy Piper
(Art Critic)
Myfanwy Piper
1
Birthdate: March 28, 1911
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 18, 1997
 34 
Ann Griffiths
1
Birthdate: 1776
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Llanfihangel-yng-Ngwynfa, Wales
Died: July 31, 1805

Welsh poet Ann Griffiths is remembered for her scriptural and spiritual themes in her works. It’s believed she would often recite her poems to her maid. Following her death after childbirth at age 29, her maid and the maid’s husband, who was a Calvinistic Methodist minister, published her poems.

John Ceiriog Hughes
1
Birthdate: September 25, 1832
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog, Wales
Died: April 23, 1887

Welsh poet John Ceiriog Hughes initially worked odd jobs, as a grocer’s assistant, a clerk, and a railway station master. After winning several poetry prizes, he published his first volume, Evening Hours. Often compared to Robert Burns due to his impact on poetry, he explored Welsh folk tunes extensively.

 36 
Owen Morgan Edwards
1
Birthdate: December 26, 1858
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Llanuwchllyn, Wales
Died: May 15, 1920
 37 
William Salesbury
1
Birthdate: 1520 AD
Birthplace: Wales
Died: 1584 AD
 38 
Owain Cyfeiliog
(Welsh Prince and Poet)
Owain Cyfeiliog
1
Birthdate: 1130 AD
Birthplace: Welsh
Died: 1197 AD

Owain Cyfeiliog, a warrior prince from the Welsh kingdom of Powys, was also a talented poet. Only one poem penned by him, Hirlas Owain, remains preserved to this day, but it is considered one of the finest in Welsh literature. He spent most of his life supporting the king of England.

 39 
John Morris-Jones
1
Birthdate: October 17, 1864
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Anglesey, Wales
Died: April 16, 1929

Welsh academic John Morris-Jones was closely associated with the faculty of what is now known as Bangor University. Initially a student of math, he switched his focus to Welsh language and literature later. His efforts at infusing classical standards into Welsh poetry got him knighted later.

 40 
Augustine Baker
1
Birthdate: December 9, 1575
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Abergavenny, Wales
Died: August 9, 1641
 41 
Caradoc Evans
1
Birthdate: December 31, 1878
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Llanfihangel ar Arth, Wales
Died: January 11, 1945
 42 
Siôn Cent
1
Birthdate: 1400 AD
Birthplace: Brycheiniog, Wales
Died: 1430 AD

Though not much is known about Welsh poet Siôn Cent, it’s believed he disliked the flattery of nobles that was prominent in the verses of the bards of his time. He infused a freshness in the treatment of spiritual themes in Welsh poetry. A poem in praise of Brecknockshire remains his best-known work.

 43 
Goronwy Owen
2
Birthdate: January 1, 1723
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Anglesey, Wales
Died: June 30, 1769

Eighteenth-century Welsh poet Goronwy Owen is remembered for his mastery of the bardic tradition, including the meters cywydd and the awdl, thus contributing to the Welsh literary renaissance. A clergyman by profession, he also taught at various schools throughout his life. He also owned a tobacco and cotton farm.

Cynddelw Brydydd Mawr
0
Birthdate: 1155 AD
Birthplace: Unknown
Died: 1200 AD

Twelfth-century Welsh poet Cynddelw Brydydd Mawr was chiefly known as a court poet for Madog ap Maredudd of Powys. He later also worked for Owain Gwynedd and Owain Cyfeiliog. Apart from the usual archaic form of traditional bards, he also infused spirituality and religion in his works.

 45 
Vavasor Powell
(Preacher)
Vavasor Powell
0
Birthdate: 1617 AD
Birthplace: Knucklas, Wales
Died: October 27, 1670
 46 
T. Gwynn Jones
(Welsh Poet, Literary Critic and Novelist Best Known for His Narrative Poems on Traditional Celtic Themes)
T. Gwynn Jones
0
Birthdate: October 10, 1871
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Abergele, Wales
Died: March 7, 1949
Welsh poet and critic T. Gwynn Jones is best remembered for his numerous translations. Initially a journalist, he later worked at the National Library of Wales and then became a professor. His poems, such as The Departure of Arthur, reflected Celtic themes, while Cynddilig highlighted his anti-war sentiment.
 47 
William Thomas
0
Birthdate: April 3, 1832
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Monmouthshire, Wales
Died: November 20, 1878

Better known by his pseudonym, Islwyn, Welsh poet William Thomas was also a clergyman. Two of his most-loved poems are both titled The Storm, penned as tributes to his fiancée who had died abruptly. He was the only known author who used the long Welsh poem format in the 19th century.

 48 
Morgan Llwyd
(Welsh Poet and Preacher)
Morgan Llwyd
0
Birthdate: 1619 AD
Birthplace: Merioneth, Wales
Died: June 3, 1659

Remembered for his 2-part The Book of the Three Birds, which later became a Welsh classic, author Morgan Llwyd was born into a gentry family. He had also been a chaplain in the New Model Army of Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil War. He is also known as Wrexham’s first Nonconformist minister.

 49 
Lewys Glyn Cothi
0
Birthdate: 1420 AD
Birthplace: Llanybydder, Wales
Died: 1490 AD

Welsh bard Lewys Glyn Cothi mostly infused a sense of national pride and patriotism among the Welsh people, with his works. He was apparently thrown out of his native town of Carmarthenshire for marrying a widow without the permission of the burgesses. He is remembered for his use of the cywydd metric.

 50 
William John Gruffydd
(Welsh Poet and Scholar)
William John Gruffydd
0
Birthdate: February 14, 1881
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Caernarvonshire, Wales
Died: September 29, 1954

Remembered as the last MP from the University of Wales seat, William John Gruffydd had also been a professor of Celtic all his life. He was also a renowned poet, known for his volumes such as Telynegion. His initial works showcased a revolt against Victorian standards in literature.