Working name of US writer Evangeline Walton Ensley (1907-1996), best known for her quartet of books based on the four branches of the Mabinogion. The first of these, The Virgin and the Swine (1936; vt The Island of the Mighty 1970) is the most accomplished, deftly blending the ancient Welsh Legends to ensure a mixture of myth and didacticism which gives the tales their strength. After the reprinting of this volume in the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series under the editorship of Lin Carter, her second book in the series came to light and was published as The Children of Llyr (1971), and she completed the quartet with The Song of Rhiannon (1972) and The Prince of Annwn (1974).
A sickly child, EW turned to writing from an early age. Stories written in her twenties finally saw print as "Above Ker-Is" (in The Fantastic Imagination II anth 1978 ed Robert H Boyer and Kenneth J Zahorski) and "The Mistress of Kaer-Mor" (in The Phoenix Tree anth 1980 ed Boyer and Zahorski), both of which show her interest in legends and Folktales. EW also wrote Witch House (1945; rev 1950 UK), an atmospheric Haunted-Dwelling tale.
EW worked on several historical novels. The Cross and the Sword (1956; Son of Darkness 1957 UK) is set at the time of the Viking invasion of Britain, and has minimal fantasy content. Her series about Theseus was put to the side because of work by Mary Renault, and only one volume finally appeared, The Sword is Forged (1983). She received a Special World Fantasy Award in 1985 and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989. [MA]
Evangeline Walton Ensley