Kate Roberts is one of the most prominent female authors of Welsh literature.
She was born in Rhosgadfan, daughter of local quarryman Owen Roberts. After completing her education locally, Kate gained a degree in Welsh Literature and a teaching diploma from Bangor University. She taught in Swansea and Aberdare before moving to Cardiff. At a summer school run by the fledgling Plaid Cymru, Kate met Morris Williams and was married in 1928. He was a printer and policy director of Plaid Cymru, and together they bought Gwasg Gee, a publishing company based in Denbigh, devoted to promoting Welsh literature.
Kate was a regular contributor to the first Welsh newspaper, Y Faner, and Y Ddraig Goch, published by Plaid Cymru.
Morris died in 1946, leaving Kate to run Gwasg Gee alone for ten years. She was a strong advocate of publishing a variety of books in the Welsh language, with a particular emphasis on children and education.
Having taken refuge in writing after the death of her brother in World War I, Kate returned to it again after the death of her husband and Traed Mewn Cyffion (1936) and Te yn y Grug (1959) remain central to the Welsh and drama lessons of children taught through the medium of Welsh today.
Te yn y Grug is a humorous and poignant collection of stories about a little girl, Begw, and her experiences growing up in a rural Welsh community. Traed Mewn Cyffion is a darker observation of life in a slate-quarrying village at the turn of the 20th century, centred on the hardship of Jane Gruffydd's life as she struggles to raise her six children alone.
Further books by Kate Roberts include Stryd y Glep, Y Byw Syn Cysgu (1956), Tywyll Heno (1962) and the collection of stories, Yr Wylan Deg. A prominent theme running through Kate's work is the role of women in society and their independent views towards love and life.
She also wrote from a child's perspective, increasingly seeing her own childhood as the idyllic Welsh upbringing.
A collection of Kate Roberts' correspondence with fellow prominent Welshman Saunders Lewis was also recently published. This chronology of a great friendship of over 40 years and gives us an insight into their strong beliefs as regards Plaid Cymru, the Welsh language and literature, both Welsh and international.
Kate Roberts' childhood home, Cae'r Gors, Rhosgadfan, has now been restored to its condition at the start of the 20th century and a heritage centre at the site shows the way of life from the period of the writer's childhood.
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