Letter: Another Powys

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The article on John Cowper Powys by Clare Garner ("65 years after publication, the sales finally take off", 16 September) caught my eye. In the mid-1950s I worked for one of his brothers, Will Powys, in the Kenya White Highlands during the Mau Mau period.

Will Powys was the only non-writing member of the seven Powys brothers. He moved to Kenya after the First World War. I helped to run his 10,000 acre farm near Timau, on Mount Kenya.

Will Powys' wife Mary (a Bowes Lyon) died in the 1960s, I believe, possibly because of the strain on her heart living at 8,900 feet. Their first son, Charles, died from a gun-shot when placing the weapon in the gun safe. Their daughter married one of Kenya's best "white hunters", Tony Dyer, and the younger son, Gilfred, is very much alive and active on behalf of wildlife conservation.

It may well be that researchers into John Cowper Powys and the other brothers should contact Gilfred in case correspondence of a literary value still exists somewhere in far-away Kenya. I recall a library at Kisima (the main farm, near Timau) but to be frank, to my youthful fleeting glance, John Cowper Powys' novels, like the later Tolkien, seemed to me child- like and trivial, and probably still would.


London W1