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Ronald Blythe

Honorary Graduate


Ronald Blythe

Writer Ronald Blythe is arguably one of our most renowned and best loved English writers.

Based in Dedham Vale he is best known for his work Akenfield: Portrait of an English Village (1969). This account is of agricultural life in Suffolk from the turn of the century to the 1960’s.

92 year old Ronald Blythe was born in Acton, Suffolk and the eldest of six children. His father came from generations of East Anglian farmers and farm workers and this has influenced his interests throughout his life.

He has been president of the John Clare Society since its foundation. In 2006 he was awarded a Benson Medal for lifelong achievement by the Royal Society of Literature, where he is a Fellow, and continues to write a weekly column in The Church Times entitled Word from Wormingford. He is also a reader in the Church of England and a lay canon at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds.

Ronald said “It feels special to be recognised this way in Suffolk, where I belong, it’s a treat really, very nice.”

He told the congregation “I feel very much like I belong in Suffolk. There are certain writers based in a certain landscape and everything they do comes from that particular place. You’ll find you belong here to Suffolk, East Anglia, you’ll find bit by bit this part of the world will sort of train you, make you see things in a different way and you can be helped in this by reading the works of the great writers who come from East Anglia over the centuries and also of course the artists Gainsborough and Constable. And then there’s the work of Benjamin Britten. We live in the most wonderful county. You too will benefit from it, it will be part of you, your background and you’ll add to it and that’s important because nothing is static, everything has to move. I am delighted to be here tonight with you all, to come to familiar Ipswich. I hope you’ll be extremely happy, busy and successful.”