Affectionately known as ‘Brenhines Ein Llên’ – ‘the Queen of our Literature’
Born in the slate-quarrying village of Rhosgadfan in 1891, Kate Roberts is best known for her writing. Her short stories and novels vividly evoke the life and culture of the quarrymen and the people of this area in Arfon.
Kate Roberts embodies the notion of a Welsh language culture centred on the chapel, village life and the difficult, heroic lives of the quarrymen, their wives and families. Her father, Owen Roberts, worked in the quarry, and her childhood home, Cae’r Gors, now a heritage centre under the care of Cadw, is typical of a quarryman’s cottage or ‘tyddyn’.
Kate is a great example of someone raised in a humble, slate-quarrying household who through education managed to improve her circumstances. Education was greatly valued by the community of Rhosgadfan. She graduated at the University College of North Wales, Bangor, and became a teacher in south Wales.
An early supporter of Plaid Cymru, she met her future husband, William T Morris, a printer, at one of their meetings. The couple married in 1928. In 1935 they moved to live to Denbigh, having taken over Gwasg Gee, a printing and publishing company. Gwasg Gee produced the Welsh language weekly ‘Y Faner’, for which Roberts was a regular contributor.
A recent biography by poet Alan Llwyd portrays a complex person, unsure of her own sexuality and in a difficult marriage. Kate Roberts died on 14 April 1985, aged 94.