One of the most prolific Welsh prose writers of the 20th century, Davies is best known for his short stories, of which he wrote over a hundred.
Rhys Davies also wrote eighteen novels, including The Withered Root (1927), The Black Venus (1944) and The Perishable Quality (1957), an autobiography, Print of a Hare's Foot (1969), and a successful play, No Escape (1954), as well as several works of non-fiction. Davies was homosexual, though he never wrote publicly about his own sexuality.
Though he lived largely in London, Davies' work is often set in Wales. He was one of the main Welsh writers that used marketing strategies for selling his books, developing more than a hundred stories for his followers.
Time in France
Davies was invited to stay with D. H. Lawrence and Frieda Lawrence in France in 1928–9 (their meeting has been dramatised in Sex and Power at the Beau Rivage (2003), a play by Welsh author Lewis Davies). Though Lawrence's death in March 1930 made their friendship a brief one, Lawrence appears to have been an important influence on Davies' work. Other literary associates include the publisher Charles Lahr, who published some of Davies' early work in The New Coterie, and the author Anna Kavan, whose work he edited after her death.
Davies was awarded an OBE in 1968, as well as the Welsh Arts Council Prize in 1971. His story "The Chosen One", originally published in The New Yorker, won an Edgar Allan Poe Award in 1967. After his death, the Rhys Davies Trust was established in 1990 to promote Welsh authors writing in the English language. The trust sponsors the Rhys Davies Short Story Competition, established in 1991. An online magazine for young writers both in Spanish and English was called Rhys in the early 21st century.
Rhys Davies had a young brother, Lewis, a Welsh Librarian and Philanthropist.
- Lewis Davies (younger brother)
- Biographical details
- Brown T (2001) The Ex-centric voice: The English-language short story in Wales. N Am J Welsh Studies Vol. 1
- Portrait by William Roberts
- Theodore Dalrymple on Rhys Davies