Richard Arthur Warren Hughes OBE (19 April 1900—28 April 1976) was a British writer of poems, short stories, novels and plays.
He was born in Weybridge, Surrey of Welsh parentage, and educated at Charterhouse and graduated from Oriel College, Oxford in 1922.
A Charterhouse schoolmaster had sent Hughes's first published work to The Spectator in 1917. (The article, written as a school essay, was an attack on The Loom of Youth, by Alec Waugh, a recently published novel which caused a furore for its frank account of homosexual passions between British schoolboys in a public school). 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 Sister's Tragedy was in the West End at the Royal Court Theatre by 1922. He is credited with the authorship of the world's first radio play, Danger, commissioned from him for the BBC by Nigel Playfair, and broadcast on January 15, 1924.
Read more about Richard Hughes' radio play, Danger, the first radio play ever written.
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 in Laugharne in south Wales, Dylan Thomas, stayed with Hughes and wrote his book portrait of and artist as a young dog whilst living at Castle House. In due course the Hugheses had five children.
He wrote only four novels, the most famous of which is A High Wind in Jamaica (1929), which was first published in the USA under the title of its successful stage adaptation, The Innocent Voyage. 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. He wrote also In Hazard (1938,) and volumes of children's stories, including The Spider's Palace.
During the Second World War, Hughes had a desk job in the Admiralty. After the end of the War, he spent ten years writing scripts for Ealing Studios.
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 a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and, in the United States, an honorary member of both the National Institute of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in 1946.
'Has there ever been a revolution which didn't end in less freedom? Because, has there ever been a revolution which wasn't essentially just one more desperate wriggle by mankind to escape from freedom.' (from The Fox in the Attic, 1961)