31 Stories in May at Hay!: Day 9 ‘Bowels Jones’ by Alun Richards

Every day throughout May, you will be able to visit the Library of Wales website to download your free story, drawn from Story, vols I and II - a collection boasting the finest Welsh short fiction ever written and featuring some of the most talented literary names from both past and present, including the legendary Dylan Thomas and the award-winning Rachel Trezise, as well as read all about the chosen author.


Day 9: 'Bowels Jones' by Alun Richards

 (Taken from The Former Miss Merthyr Tydfil and Other Stories, 1976)



Alun Morgan Richards was born in 1929 in Pontypridd. After spells as a schoolteacher and probation officer, he joined as an instructor the Royal Navy, which sparked a fascination with the sea that inspired much of his writing.

In 1955 he returned to Wales from London, but was admitted to the sanatorium at Talgarth, where he had stayed for 2 years, after becoming ill with tuberculosis. Once released, he married Helen Howden, a probation officer, with whom he had four children. Then, from the 1960s he was, and successfully so, a full-time writer, as well as an English teacher for 10 years.

He lived near the Mumbles, Swansea, close to the sea which, coupled with the hills of the South Wales Valleys, was the landscape of his fiction. He wrote plays for stage and radio, original screenplays and adaptations for television, including BBC’s Onedin Line, as well as novels, short stories, a biography and a memoir. From 1962 to 1979 he wrote his six novels and two scintillating collections of short stories, Dai Country (1973) and The Former Miss Merthyr Tydfil (1976). As editor, he produced bestselling editions of Welsh short stories and tales of the sea for Penguin. In 1980 he wrote to mark the centenary of the Welsh Rugby Union, as he was a great connoisseur of that sport. His sensitive biography of his close friend, Carwyn James, appeared in 1984 and his own entrancing memoir Days of Absencein in 1986. Alun Richards died in Singleton Hospital, Swansea, after an heart attack in 2004.


You can download the story in PDF format here. (If download does not start, then right click the link and select 'Save link as'.)


Selected bibliography

Dai Country (Library of Wales, 2011)

Home to an Empty House (Library of Wales, 2006)


Contributed to

Story I (anthology) (Library of Wales, 2014)

Story II (anthology) (Library of Wales, 2014)

The First Fifteen: A Selection of the Best Rugby Writing (Parthian, 2011)

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