Ron Berry was one of the most striking portrayers in fiction of the declining industrial communities of the great South Wales coalfield during the post-war, post-industrial period. Having worked in a variety of occupations, including coalmining, and also having been a talented amateur sportsman, Berry felt himself to be a misfit, all his life, in conventional cultural circles. His writing reflects this defiant, edgy, aggressive sense of being a rebellious outsider, drawing on such sources as hard-boiled American fiction for inspiration but also cultivating its own pungently distinctive, and inimitable sociolect, vividly capturing the idiom of experience in his native area of the South Wales industrial valleys.
The collection of his materials very kindly gifted to CREW by the writer’s family and archived by the University’s Library and Information Services Centre, is as varied as it is rich. It includes manuscript and typescript drafts not only of several of his novels and short stories but also of poems, plays, and of his remarkable autobiography, History is What You Live.