Monday, July 26, 2010

Iris Gower

Iris Gower

So I'm here in Caerleon for the fabulous Writers' Holidays. It took a while to get an internet connection to my room, but I finally have that sorted out.

I'll continue with posts for the Conflict Q&A soon, but first I have to write about some sad news that I -and everyone at Caerleon - has had this week. When I wrote about Caerleon in the past I have mentioned the much published Swansea novelist, Iris Gower who has been so much a part of Writers' Holidays right from their start 26 years ago. Sadly,Iris died last week at the age of 75.
Iris (real name Iris Davies) was born in MUMBLES and lived in Derwen Fawr, a part of Sketty, Swansea. She had four adult children, though her husband of 48 years, Tudor Davies, died on 15 April 2002 . She later lived with a partner, Peter. She was one of the top-selling authors in the country, and was awarded an MA in Creative Writing by Cardiff University, as well as an Honorary Fellowship at the University of Wales, Swansea. She wrote and published around 40 books including 26 novels, most based in the areas of Swansea and its suroundings that she knew best.. When she died she was three quarters of the way through another novel.
At Caerleon, Iris was always a warm and welcoming figure, with her glowing red hair and ready smile. She was happy to chat with anyone, multi-published or the newest of the begininers. Her talks on her writing were lively and witty and together with Anne and Gerry Hobbs she was always at the heart of Writerts' Holidays. I remember one time when the expected speaker hadn't turned up and Iris and I were pushed in front of the audience to fill in. Iris needed no back up or support, she launched into stories and answered questions without a moment's hesitation and soon had the audience laughing along with her.
On a personal note, all the time I have been coming to Caerleon, Iris was one of my dearest friends here. We exchanged books, talked writing. talked life, and laughed a lot. I felt for her when she was so knocked down by the loss of her beloved husband Tudor, felt joy at seeing the sparkle return to her eyes when she found new happiness some years later with Peter. Iris and Peter came to Lincoln to celebrate the publication of my 50th title, The Sicilian's Red-Hot Revenge and I was thrilled to share that special time with her, and even more so when she told me how much she had enjoyed the book. She was also part of my great big Blog Party to celebrate that event.
Part of the joy of coming back to Caerleon was the thought of meeting up again with Iris and seeing that vivid red hair, the bright bright smile. Sadly, this year she is not here and never will be again. Writers' Holidays will be that bit poorer without her.
The Babe Magnet and I loved here. We will miss her very much.

Thank you Iris for the wonderful stories, the fabulous discussions, and so much laugher.

1 comment:

Kaz19 said...

Kate, a fabulous and touching tribute to an incredible story teller. How sad she is gone. Iris lived really close to where I live, her Swansea to my Port Talbot. The whole area of Swansea Bay, were so proud to say that she came from our little part of the world.
Through her stories, she resonated to everyone who read her, her love of Swansea.
How sad she's gone. Could you perhaps pass on my condolences to her family?
xx Karen


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