(born Vivian Rees Davies
) was a Welsh
The Welsh people are an ethnic group and nation associated with Wales and the Welsh language.John Davies argues that the origin of the "Welsh nation" can be traced to the late 4th and early 5th centuries, following the Roman departure from Britain, although Brythonic Celtic languages seem to have...
novelist and short story
A short story is a work of fiction that is usually written in prose, often in narrative format. This format tends to be more pointed than longer works of fiction, such as novellas and novels. Short story definitions based on length differ somewhat, even among professional writers, in part because...
writer, who wrote in the English language.
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. He 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.
Davies was invited to stay with D. H. Lawrence
David Herbert Richards Lawrence was an English novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, literary critic and painter who published as D. H. Lawrence. His collected works represent an extended reflection upon the dehumanising effects of modernity and industrialisation...
and Frieda Lawrence
Frieda Freiin von Richthofen , a distant relative of the "Red Baron" Manfred von Richthofen, who is best known for her marriage to the British novelist D. H. Lawrence.-Life:...
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
Charles Lahr was a German-born anarchist, London bookseller and publisher.-Life:He was born Carl Lahr at Bad Nauheim in the Rhineland, the eldest of 15 children in a farming family. He left Germany in 1905 to avoid military service and went to England.In London he encountered the anarchist Guy...
, who published some of Davies' early work in The New Coterie
, and the author Anna Kavan
Anna Kavan was a British novelist, short story writer and painter.-Biography:...
, whose work he edited after her death.
Davies was awarded an OBE
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...
in 1968, as well as the Welsh Arts Council Prize in 1971. His story "The Chosen One", originally published in The New Yorker
The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...
, won an Edgar Allan Poe Award
The Edgar Allan Poe Awards , named after Edgar Allan Poe, are presented every year by the Mystery Writers of America...
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.