Leading writer and feminist Elaine Morgan dies aged 92

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Media captionElaine Morgan wrote a weekly column for the Western Mail

One of Wales' leading writers and feminists has died at the age of 92.

Elaine Morgan's long and varied life encompassed experience as an author, TV writer, lecturer and scientific rebel.

Dr Morgan only retired at the start of this year from writing a weekly column for the Western Mail after suffering ill health in 2012.

The coal miner's daughter, who lived in Mountain Ash, Rhondda Cynon Taf, passed away on Friday morning, three weeks after suffering a stroke.

Dr Morgan, who was born in Hopkinstown, Pontypridd, studied at Oxford University, where she graduated in English.

She went on to marry Morien Morgan in 1945 and they had three sons - Dylan, who died two years ago, along with Morien and Gareth. Dr Morgan was widowed about 15 years ago.

Her daughter-in-law Kim Morgan said: "She was an incredible woman and so inspirational to so many people."

Dr Morgan's long career in writing began in the 1950s after she won a competition. She later joined the BBC and began writing television dramas.

In the 1970s Dr Morgan took on the scientific establishment with a new theory of human evolution.

Her book The Descent of Woman became an international bestseller, turning her into a feminist hero who toured the US three times.

She went on to devote her attention increasingly to the subject of human origins.

She was awarded the OBE in 2009 for services to literature and education and earlier this year she was made an honorary freeman of Rhondda Cynon Taf.

She was also an honorary fellow of Cardiff and Glamorgan universities.

'Impact on feminism'

Fellow writers and politicians from around Wales have paid tribute.

Journalist and broadcaster Carolyn Hitt said Dr Morgan had been her heroine who "from her desk in Mountain Ash had made an impact on world feminism".

"She had one of the most brilliant intellects Wales has ever produced," said Ms Hitt, who knew Dr Morgan.

"She was the ultimate valleys girl. She was born there and never really left there and changed the world in between.

"She excelled in both the arts and science but had an unassuming personality."

Ms Hitt said that when Dr Morgan had been a housewife before starting her career in television, going on to carve a niche for herself and become one of the leading names in the industry at the time.

"When she took a different direction and focused on science, she spent quite a lot of time in the US and was on US chat shows looking like a middle-aged Welsh housewife - but then making such a huge impact on feminism and the thinking of evolutionary science."

Welsh Secretary David Jones said on Twitter: "Elaine Morgan was an important and vibrant contributor to Welsh life. Her loss will be felt across Wales; I was very saddened to hear of it."

Christine Chapman, assembly member for the Cynon Valley, tweeted: "So sorry about the sad passing of Elaine Morgan. What an inspiration."

'Unassuming and humble'

Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood said Dr Morgan was "highly respected in her field by people from all over the world".

"Many of us across the valleys enjoyed her commentary on life in local communities, written from the perspective of her home in Mountain Ash," she added.

"She will be missed by her community and beyond."

Councillor Pauline Jarman, who is leader of the Plaid Cymru group on Rhondda Cynon Taf council, said: "She was one of my constituents and lived only about 200 yards away from my house.

"She was obviously very talented but very unassuming and humble. Everybody loved Elaine who was known to most people as Elaine and not Dr Morgan."

Cardiff North AM Julie Morgan tweeted: "So sad to hear of death of Elaine Morgan. A great feminist, author and campaigner. What a loss for Wales."

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