Mr. Winston Clewes, the novelist, died in hospital in Beckenham on
Friday at the age of 51. With his first novel, "The Violent Friends",
the fruit of finely tempered study and concerned with the friendship
of Swift and Stella, he won great popularity and was seen to be a
novelist of talent and promise. But though he was not one of those who
win golden opinions early and thereafter cannot sustain them, he
never, perhaps, quite achieved what some of his admirers believed he
might. Nevertheless if his talents seemed sometimes to deserve better
themes, his real ability was never in question. He was never less than
comeptent and if one thinks of him as a "popular" author - as indeed
he was - the word must not be thought a devaluer, for after all
Dickens was popular and was proud to be thought so.
Clewes was born on March 20, 1906, the son of James Clewes, and
received his education at Foyle College, Londonderry, and at the
Merchant Taylors' School.
He went into commerce as a young man, joining the firm of Crosse and
Blackwell and with them he remained all his life.
At the time of his death he had been organization manager for some
years. He did his day's work and then sat down after dinner to write.
His second book "Sweet River in the Morning", came out two years after
the first and showed that he had more than the one novel in him that
is said to be every man's birthright. The substance and manner of this
novel were not of the simplest - Clewes worked on the theme that no
single action of a human being is sudden or isolated; to explain it we
must explore antecedent influences - but there was no doubt of the
author's power and style.
There followed "Journey into Spring" (1948), in which the treatment of
the matter was better than the matter itself, and "Troy and the
In "Men and Work" (1951), Clewes explored industrial relations, a
subject about which he knew a great deal. He made them entertaining
but did not seize the opportunity offered for a real examination of
the problems of labour and management. There followed "Peacocks on the
Lawn" (1952), a study of Irish decay, and "The Merry Month" (1954), a
light novel pleasingly constructed.
Clewes was not naturally a comic writer and in this work he did not
strain after comic effect but relied on a quietly humorous
appreciation of human oddity. His last novel, "The Tilting Town",
about the ups and downs of a repertory company in a cathedral town was
published in January this year.
Apart from his novels Clewes wrote many short stories for magazines
and for broadcasting. He married in 1932 Dorothy Parkin, the novelist
and author of children's stories who writes under the name of Dorothy