Jack Jones (novelist)
Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, UK
|Died||7th May 1970|
|Occupation||Playwright, Novelist, Actor, Politician|
Jack Jones was born in 1884 at Tai-Harri-Blawdd in Merthyr Tydfil, the son of a coal miner. He joined his father to work in the mine aged 12. At the age of 17 he joined the army and was posted to South Africa with his regiment the Militia Battalion of the Welch. However he was very unhappy there and ended up deserting. Once recaptured, he was transferred to India. When he eventually returned to Wales he went back to working in the coal mines. He married Laura Grimes Evans in 1908. In 1914 Jack Jones was summoned back to his regiment and sent to the front lines in France and later on Belgium. After suffering shrapnel wounds he was invalided home and appointed as recruiting officer for Merthyr Tydfil.
After World War I, Jack Jones became a member of the Communist Party and he attended a convention in Manchester with the purpose of establishing a British Communist Party on behalf of his local lodge. At this meeting he was chosen to be Corresponding Secretary for the South Wales Region. Jack Jones later founded a branch of the Communist Party at Merthyr Tydfil. In 1923 he was appointed as the full-time secretary-representative of the miners at Blaengarw, a position he held until his resignation in 1927.
During his 20s Jack Jones began to educate himself and develop his love of the theatre and writing, often taking part in local dramatic productions. In 1926 he successfully entered a short play he had written entitled Dad's Double into a competition in Manchester. After clashes with the Communist Party Jack Jones left the party and joined the Labour Party in 1923. In 1927 he produced his first article for the press entitled "The Need for a Lib-Lab Coalition". He was later asked by Lloyd George to join the Liberal's speaking staff and by 1929 he was a member of the Liberal Party being adopted as the Liberal candidate for the Neath parliamentary division. However this constituency was lost to Labour. During the 1930s he made another political change and was a speaker for Mosley's New Party.
He began writing seriously during a period of unemployment. His first novel, Saran, was never published, but a reduced version of it appeared as Black Parade (1935). By 1939, he had written the novels Rhondda Roundabout (1934), and Bidden to the Feast (1938), a play, Land of my Fathers (1937), and his first autobiography, Unfinished Journey (1937). The London stage version of Rhondda Roundabout was acclaimed. He wrote the dialogue for the film 'Proud Valley', in which he also had a minor acting role. During the Second World War he was a speaker for the Ministry of Information and the National Savings Movement. He wrote The Man David (1944), a life of David Lloyd George. In the 1945 election he supported Sir James Grigg of the Conservative Party. After the war he wrote two volumes of autobiography, Me and Mine (1946) and Give Me Back My Heart (1950), three novels, Off to Philadelphia in the Morning (1947), Some Trust in Chariots (1948), and River out of Eden (1951), and a play Transatlantic Episode (1947).
His later works, Lily of the Valley and Lucky Year (1952), Time and the Business (1953), Choral Symphony (1955) and Come, Night; End, Day (1956) were less well received. In 1954, he married his second wife, Gladys Morgan. He was elected first President of the English section of Yr Academi Gymreig. Until his death in May 1970 he continued writing; these works remained unpublished, including a biographical novel, A Burnt Offering, based on the life of Dr William Price (1800–1893), Llantrisant, pioneer of cremation.
He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to the community and to literature. In February 1970 he won an award from the Arts Council of Wales for `his distinguished contribution to the literature of Wales'. Jack Jones died on the 7th of May 1970.
- Proud Valley (unknown)
- Land of my Fathers (1937)
- Rhondda Roundabout (1934)
- Transatlantic Episode (1947)
- Saran (unpublished),
- Rhondda Roundabout (1934)
- Black Parade (1935)
- Unfinished Journey (autobiography) (1937)
- Bidden to the Feast (1938)
- The Man David (1944)
- Me and Mine: Further Chapters in the Autobiography of Jack Jones (1946)
- Give Me Back My Heart (1950)
- Off to Philadelphia in the Morning (1947)
- Some Trust in Chariots (1948)
- River out of Eden (1951)
- Lily of the Valley (1952)
- Lucky Year (1952)
- Time and the Business (1953)
- Choral Symphony (1955)
- Come, Night; End, Day (1956)
- A Burnt Offering(unpublished)