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Ronald Blythe CBE

Honorary Graduate


Ronald Blythe CBE

Writer Dr Ronald Blythe CBE (1922-2023) was arguably one of our most renowned and best loved English writers.

Based in Dedham Vale he was 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 1960s.

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

He was 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 was a Fellow, and continued to write a weekly column in The Church Times entitled Word from Wormingford. He was also a reader in the Church of England and a lay canon at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds.

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

He was appointed CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2017, for services to literature.