Saturday, April 6, 2019

Joan Davids / Joan Hewitt

Joan Davids (b. Hampstead, London, 23 November 1912; d. reg. Windsor, Berkshire, July-Sep. 1981)

Little is known of Joan Evelyn Davids. One entry in a writer's directory (1977) lists her as a writer and portraitist. She married Arthur F. Hewitt in Hemel Hemsptead in late 1948.  So far as I know, she published only two books.

The first, under her maiden name Joan Davids, was The Glastonbury Adventure (London:  Peter Lunn, 1946). It is set up like a book of the type that Alan Garner would write a few decades later. A bunch of (annoying) children become involved in the mythic legends of Glastonbury, and most of the book is seemingly just that, if on the light side, until the final chapter throws a curve ball, making the book into something on the lines of a ghost story, with an unexpected and disappointing final twist (in the final line) that undermines any interpretation.

Under her married name, as Joan Hewitt, she published one additional novel, A Pity Beyond Telling (1956). It is a story of eccentric characters and love in a country village called Broone.

Copies of both books are held in the Robert Aickman Collection at Bowling Green State University, in Bowling Green, Ohio.  The Glastonbury Adventure is inscribed by the author to Aickman.  One suspects that she was a client of the Richard Marsh Agency, the literary agency run by Aickman and his wife, and that they secured publishers for the two books. 

The writer's directory listing for Hewitt notes two further items: "The Grandfather Clock," as by Joan Davids, was read by May E. Jenkin on the BBC Children's Hour on 23 May 1950;  and a second item, possibly unpublished, is given as "Unfinished Portrait of a Royal Nanny" (Royal Archives). 

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