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South Wales Evening Post - 9th November 2002

Stan's the write man for the job

By Roger Butler

A top author who has made his home in Pontardawe has published his autobiography.

Yorkshireman Stan Barstow has been writing for more than 40 years and his most famous work is A Kind of Loving, which was turned into a film starring Alan Bates, and Joby, a novel about childhood which has been a school text.

Now 73 and living in Orchard Street, he has published his memoirs, In My Own Good Time, though Yorkshire-based Smith Settle and launched the book at the National Museum of Photography and Film in Bradford.

But he has strong Welsh links as his partner, writer of radio plays and radio adaptations Diana Griffiths, is from Briton Ferry.

Mr Barstow said: ''Diana had lived outside Wales for 40 years. We have had a house in Pontardawe for some years so she could visit her mother and friends.

"We decided we would like to live here. We moved a year ago and are enjoying it very much. Diana was already an invited member of the English language section of the Welsh Academy and shortly after we arrived here they invited me too."

The couple previously lived in Haworth, the home of the Bronte sisters, for 10 years.

Mr Barstow was born near Wakefield and his father was a coal miner.

He said: "My autobiography was not written all at once. It was a question of looking back at times that I was involved in and realising they were receding and that there were fewer and fewer people who could remember them first hand. Gradually they began to cohere and I thought they were worth making a book from.

"It includes a working class childhood between the wars and the watershed of the English novel in the late 1950s and early 1960s."

He said he enjoyed driving up and down the valleys, which had a starker environment than Yorkshire.

"I think Pontardawe is the best of it. It is an attractive town, almost French-looking with the canal and the church spire. We are very happy here," he added.

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