- Category : Writers-Playwright-script
- Type : GP
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Split - Small (20)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Laws 1
British writer of poems, short stories, novels and plays.
At Oxford he met Robert Graves, also an Old Carthusian, and they co-edited a poetry publication, Oxford Poetry, in 1921. Hughes's short play The Sisters' Tragedy was in the West End at the Royal Court Theatre by 1922. He was the author of the world's first radio play, Danger, commissioned from him for the BBC by Nigel Playfair and broadcast on January 15, 1924.
Hughes was employed as a journalist and travelled widely before he married, in 1932, the painter Frances Bazley. They settled for a period in Norfolk and then in 1934 at Castle House, Laugharne in south Wales. Dylan Thomas stayed with Hughes and wrote his book Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog whilst living at Castle House. Richard and Frances Hughes had five children.
Hughes wrote four novels, the most famous of which is The Innocent Voyage (1929), better known now as A High Wind in Jamaica. Set in the 19th century, it explores the events which follow the accidental capture of a group of English children by pirates: the children are revealed as considerably more amoral than the pirates. In 1938, he wrote an allegorical novel In Hazard based on the true story of the S.S. Phemius that was caught in the Category 5 1932 Cuba hurricane for 4 days during its peak intensity. He wrote volumes of children's stories, including The Spider's Palace.
During the Second World War, Hughes had a desk job in the Admiralty. He met the architects Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry, and Jane's and Max's children stayed with the Hughes family for much of that time. After the end of the War, he spent ten years writing scripts for Ealing Studios, and published no more novels until 1961.
His most important work is perhaps the trilogy The Human Predicament, of which only the first two volumes, The Fox in the Attic (1961) and The Wooden Shepherdess (1973), were complete when he died; twelve chapters, under 50 pages, of the final volume are now published. In these he follows the course of European history from the 1920s through the Second World War, including real characters and events — such as Hitler's escape following the abortive Munich putsch— as well as fictional.
Hughes was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in 1946. He died on 28 April 1976.