Dylan Thomas: the original rock ‘n roll poet. On what would have been his 98th birthday, we thought you should know about everything Dylan that’s happening over the next month, starting with the Dylan Thomas Centre.

The Dylan Thomas Centre hosts the fifteenth annual Dylan Thomas Festival from 27 October to 9 November.

This fortnight is packed with exciting events, and there’s plenty of variety, from poetry, to prose, to music, to journalism. The Stan Tracey Quartet perform their A Child’s Christmas Jazz Suite, with folk music provided by Fernhill. In an eagerly anticipated event, the Dylan Thomas Centre welcomes journalist Graham Hunter to discuss FC Barcelona and Swansea City.

There are launches of new books from Nigel Jenkins and Menna Elfyn, and the DTC focuses on the short story with events featuring award winning writers Kevin Barry and Roshi Fernando. There are workshops from Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch and Rhian Edwards, with additional focus on Dylan’s contemporaries, Brenda Chamberlain and Keidrych Rhys.

For details of these events, and much more, please see www.dylanthomas.com

“O may my heart’s truth / Still be sung / On this high hill in a year’s turning”, wrote Dylan Thomas in ‘Poem in October’.

Jo Furber, Literature Officer at the Dylan Thomas Centre, writes: “Dylan sang in many different forms, and our festival celebrates this in the variety of genres we present throughout the fortnight, from short fiction to music, and from sports writing to poetry.”

Poetry Workshop with Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch

The rhymer in the long tongued room: celebrate Dylan’s 98th birthday at a workshop on writing long poems with acclaimed poet, Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch. Limited to ten places.

Full Price £10;  Concessions £7

Saturday, 27 October, 7.30pm

Stan Tracey Quartet: A Child’s Christmas in Wales Jazz Suite

Inspired by Dylan Thomas’ short story, jazz legend Stan Tracey’s new suite is performed by his current quartet plus his grandson, Ben, as narrator. Like Stan’s landmark Under Milk Wood Suite, this joyous piece reflects Stan’s love of Dylan’s work, and the ways in which it continues to inspire him.

Tickets from £25 to £10

Sunday, 28 October, 2pm

Hearts of Oak by Liz Wride

Based on a true story, Swansea playwright Liz Wride’s Hearts of Oak is a story of turmoil, love and hatred set in The Smalls Lighthouse off the south west coast of Wales. In 1780, two men are marooned on the light with nothing for company but their mutual dislike. Haunted by the memories of those they knew on-shore, they begin to question if they will ever leave the lighthouse alive. This premiere professional performance will be presented script-in-hand, and directed by acclaimed playwright D.J. Britton.

Full Price: £6  Concessions:  £4.20  Swansea PTL: £2.40

Tuesday, 30 October, 7.30pm

Roshi Fernando and Kevin Barry in conversation with Jon Gower

Celebrate the short story with Impress prize winner Roshi Fernando, whose stunning collection of interlinked stories, Homesick, follows a community of Sri Lankan immigrants in London. Sunday Times short story award winner Kevin Barry has been described by Irvine Welsh as “ the most arresting and original writer to emerge from these islands for years.” Dark Lies the Island tells stories about love and cruelty, crimes, desperation and hope. They will be in conversation with the multi-talented Jon Gower.

Full Price: £6  Concessions:  £4.20  Swansea PTL: £2.40

Wednesday, 31 October, 7.30pm

Brenda Chamberlain centenary event with New Welsh Review, Parthian and Fluellen

In her centenary year, Parthian publish fiction and drama by Brenda Chamberlain, along with a biography of her life. Join biographer Jill Piercy and New Welsh Review’s Gwen Davies for an evening celebrating Brenda’s work, her connections with Alun Lewis, Lynette Roberts and Dylan Thomas, and the turbulent life behind it all. Fluellen also present a script in hand performance of extracts from Chamberlain’s play, The Protagonists.

Full Price: £6  Concessions:  £4.20  Swansea PTL: £2.40

Thursday, 1 November, 7pm

Menna Elfyn Launches Murmur

Menna Elfyn is the best-known, most travelled and most translated of all Welsh-language poets. The extraordinary international range of her subjects, breathtaking inventiveness and generosity of vision place her among Europe’s leading poets, and the Dylan Thomas Centre is delighted to launch her latest collection in Welsh and English from Bloodaxe, the first ever Welsh language book to be a Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation. Menna will be joined by one of her translators, Elin ap Hywel, and introduced by Professor M Wynn Thomas.

Free entry and wine

Friday, 2 November, 9.30am – 5.30pm

The Long Revolution in Japan and Wales:Transnational Dialogues on Raymond Williams

A one-day conference arranged by CREW and supported by the Richard Burton Centre.

What has the impact of Raymond Williams’ work been in Japan?  Are there grounds for comparing the critical, cultural and political histories of Wales and Japan? Is Williams’ voice increasingly important in an age of financial crisis? The third of a series of conferences featuring Welsh and Japanese academics concerning the work of Williams includes papers by established figures such as the eminent translator and academic Yasuo Kawabata, and younger scholars such as Shintaro Kono and Takashi Onuki. It also features contributions from Swansea University’s Dai Smith and Chris Williams.

£10, including tea and coffee

Friday, 2 November, 7.30pm

Paul Durcan

Regarded by many as the great poet of contemporary Ireland, Paul Durcan is on top form in his latest collection, Praise in Which I Live and Move and Have my Being, as he contemplates the fall of the Celtic Tiger, while railing against bankers and ‘bonus boys’. There are poems of love lost and won, and in memory of friends and relatives who have passed on, but there is also joy in the birth of a grandson, and praise, too, for the modest heroism of truckers, air traffic controllers and nurses. Durcan is an electrifying reader of his work – this is an event not to be missed.

Full price: £8; Concessions: £5

Saturday, 3 November

11.30am David Boucher – The Price of Fame

Dylan Thomas was adored in America for his outrageousness, although his letters betray a certain bitterness about having to be there. He could even get away with mercilessly mocking his audience for being seduced by the allure of fame. In this talk, David Boucher explores how the negative side of fame not only tortured Dylan Thomas, but also obsessed some of his great admirers such as Rexroth, Corso, Ginsberg, Kerouac, Bukowski, Cohen and Bob Dylan.

All tickets: £4

1pm: Launch of Keidrych Rhys’ The Van Pool with Charles Mundye
Keidrych Rhys counted Dylan Thomas, Glyn Jones, Vernon Watkins, Emyr Humphreys, Alun Lewis, RS Thomas among his friends; he was married to Lynette Roberts, and edited Wales magazine. This book includesRhys’ own poems, plus Charles Mundye’s notes and biographical context.

Free entry

3pm Edge Hill Prize Shortlisted Writers Event

Three of the shortlisted writers from this year’s prestigious Edge Hill Short Story Prize, A.J. Ashworth, Zoe Lambert and Rowena Macdonald, read from their work and discuss the merits of competitions. Their collections range from Montreal to Manchester, from boy soldiers to doomsday cults, from love to war to grief to brief epiphanies. Prepare to be entertained!

Full Price: £6  Concessions:  £4.20  Swansea PTL: £2.40


Graham Hunter: Swansea City and FC Barcelona

A journalist of international reputation, Graham Hunter covers Spanish football for Sky Sports, the BBC and newspapers and magazines across the world. His access to the Barcelona team is unrivalled and unprecedented. Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World is the inside story of how the best and most loved football team in the world came to redefine how the game is played. He’ll be discussing the similarities between the philosophies of Barca and Swansea City.

Full Price: £8 Concessions £5

Sunday, 4 November


Mark Davies – ‘A Literary Tour of the River Thames’

From Chaucer’s pilgrims to Tom Brown’s higher education, via Alice in Wonderland, Wind in the Willows, and Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials, historian, author and guide Mark Davies explores the ways in which the canal and rivers of Oxford feature in innumerable works of literature. He will also discuss Welsh connections in Oxford, including reference to its former resident, Dylan Thomas.

All tickets: £4


Rhian Edwards – ‘Only Poetry Aloud’ 

Learn to maximise the live reading of your poetry with John Tripp Award Winner 2011-2012 Rhian Edwards. A mesmerising performer, Rhian’s collection, Clueless Dogs (Seren), has just been shortlisted for the Forward Prize for first collection. The only requirement of the workshop is that you learn an ‘I’ poem off by heart that has been written by yourself. The poem must be at least 8 lines long and must reference yourself, i.e. phrases pertaining to ‘I’ and ‘me’.

Full Price £10;  Concessions £7


Friends of the Glynn Vivian Event:

David Jones Between the Wars: The Years of Achievement – Derek Shiel

Renowned expert Derek Shiel introduces a showing of his fascinating film on David Jones, co-directed with Adam Alive. Through interviews with scholars, artists, writers and friends, and images of his carvings, engravings, sketches and paintings, it demonstrates Jones’ development as a painter, engraver and poet.  

Full Price: £6  Concessions:  £4.20  Swansea PTL: £2.40

Tuesday, 6 November, 7pm

Stuff Happens

We join forces with The Crunch spoken word night to present a laid back and inspiring evening of poetry, art and sparkling conversation.


Wednesday, 7 November, 7.30pm

Ros Barber and Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch read from their work

Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch’s acclaimed third collection, Banjo (Picador), commemorates the arrival of Captain Scott at the South Pole in 1912,  exploring the way in which music and theatre enabled the ice-bound communities to survive. Ros Barber’s The Marlowe Papers (Sceptre) is an extraordinary novel in verse, telling Christopher Marlowe’s alternative story, in which he is exiled to France and writes plays and poetry under the name William Shakespeare.

Full Price: £6  Concessions:  £4.20  Swansea PTL: £2.40

Thursday, 8 November, 7pm

Nigel Jenkins launches Real Swansea 2

Real Swansea 2 is a further look at his hometown by poet Nigel Jenkins with characteristic insight, humour and an eye for the odd and unusual. From Dylan Thomas’ Kardomah and the Grand Theatre to brothels and Salubrious Passage, Swansea is celebrated in stylish prose and pin sharp poetry. Nigel will be in conversation with Real series editor, Peter Finch.

Free entry and wine in association with Seren Books.

Friday, 9 November, 7.30pm


“Don’t miss” –  The Observer 

Fernhill are regarded internationally as one of Wales’ finest folk groups. Singer Julie Murphy’s fans include Robert Plant and Danny Thompson, both of whom have recorded with her. She is joined by Ceri Rhys Matthews, Tomos Williams and Christine Cooper, as they present material from their latest album, Canu Rhydd (literally, ‘free poetry’) which has been featured by Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens, and Radio 3’s Late Junction.

Full Price: £8 Concessions: £5.50 Passport to Leisure: £3


The DTC launches its partnership with the National Library of Wales by displaying a selection of of Dylan Thomas’ personal items from their holdings, as part of NLW’s outreach programme.