Meic Stephens 1938 - 2018
2nd July, 2018
It is with the greatest regret we have to announce the death of Meic Stephens on 2 July 2018.
As Literature Director of the Welsh Arts Council, 1967-1990, Meic had a huge influence on the many important developments that occurred in the literary life of Wales in the second half of the twentieth century. He had no background in arts administration when he took up the appointment, but he was full of ideas and had a prodigious appetite for work. Several of his initiatives, brought to fruition with the support of a succession of able Literature Committee chairmen, were so clearly worthwhile that they were adopted by other UK arts councils. He sought to increase the fellowship of the English- and Welsh-language writers of Wales and consistently encouraged the raising of ambitions and standards of writers and critics and the quality of book production.
Alongside the daily task of running the Literature Department of WAC, Meic continued to develop his own career as writer and editor. He is immediately recognisable here and abroad as editor of the Oxford Companion to the Literature of Wales/ Cydymaith i Lenyddiaeth Cymru, but his select bibliography, which includes periodicals and anthologies edited, poetry, books on sociolinguistics, translations, scholarly editions, miscellaneous writings and journalism, runs to hundreds of items.
The founding of the Rhys Davies Trust was one of the later achievements in Meic's long service to the cultural life of Wales. The trust, designed as a continuing reminder of the significance of Rhys Davies as a writer and a lasting contribution to literature and literary-historical studies in Wales, was set up with funds generously donated by Rhys's brother Lewis. Meic served as secretary of the trust until very recently, when ill-health forced him to resign.