August 2014 News Round-up

Welcome to the latest round up of news relating to the poet Dylan Thomas


Another month and the launch of another major Dylan Thomas event as the Dylan exhibition opened at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, on June 28th. The exhibition, one of the largest ever staged at the National Library, runs until December 20th and includes never before exhibited material from the Library’s own collection, manuscripts on loan from the the University at Buffalo collection, and specially commissioned exhibits. Read our write up on the exhibition here.

Dylan’s poetry notebooks, also on loan from the University at Buffalo, are on show at the Dylan Thomas Centre until August 31st, and Sir Peter Blake’s Llareggub exhibition featuring his illustrations for Under Milk Wood continues at Oriel y Parc, St Davids, until September 23rd. The replica of Dylan’s Laugharne writing shed continued it’s tour of schools, festivals and events with a visit to the Royal Welsh Show at Llanelwedd, and it will be present at the National Eisteddfod at Llanelli, August 1st-9th.

The Dylan Unchained centenary conference takes place at Swansea University from September 3rd-5th. New research on Thomas’s work will be presented by academics alongside talks and events by poets and dramatists. A special discount of 20% off the cost of registration* is available by entering the code 20DTOFFER at the checkout. (*Packages available include full residential, non-residential, and single day rates. The discount does not include extra nights’ accommodation or tickets for Chelsea Dreaming which are already being sold at a discount to conference goers.) Deadline for registration: August 15

An updated events leaflet has been produced for the official centenary celebrations and can be downloaded here, and a new leaflet promoting the Birthplace at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, Swansea, has been produced and can be downloaded here.

For more information on events during August and beyond please check out our comprehensive Events page.

Set Fire to The Stars Premiere


Set Fire To The Stars, the movie based on the relationship between Dylan Thomas and John Malcolm Brinnin starring Elijah Wood and Celyn Jones received it’s premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on June 23rd. The screening was followed by a short acoustic set from Gruff Rhys who has composed the film soundtrack. Watch a short interview and clips here.

Dylan on the Underground


Dylan’s “Fern Hill” is part of the latest selection of poetry to feature in the Poems on the Underground series and will be on display in tube carriages on the London underground network during July and August. Dylan’s words will be joined on the underground by the work of fellow Welsh poets Dannie Abse, Gerard Benson, Gillian Clarke, Gwyneth Lewis and Owen Sheers.

Drinking Ditty 

A previously undiscovered comic drinking ditty written by Dylan Thomas has come to light. Former trade unionist Fred Jarvis discovered the handwritten poem among his late wife’s papers whilst researching for his forthcoming autobiography. The poem was written by Dylan at Henneky’s Long Bar in High Holborn in 1951 and will be published for the first time in Mr Jarvis’s book. Actor Tom Hollander, who recently portrayed Dylan in the TV drama A Poet In New York, read the poem (somehow missing the Watts-Ewers / “what’s yours” play on words) on BBC’s Newsnight. Watch the video here.

Auction News

The selection of  Dylan Thomas material offered for sale on behalf of the Trustees for the Copyrights of Dylan Thomas, at Bonhams of London,  on June 18th, fetched just short of £27,000 (incl premium) with two items failing to sell. Top price of £11,250 was achieved by the autograph draft of “Prologue to an Adventure” (c. 1935).

Three unpublished love letters that Dylan sent to Caitlin Macnamara before their marriage sold at Sothebys, London, on July 15th, to an anonymous buyer for £11,250 (incl premium).

Book News 


The Poet & The Private Eye by Rob Gittins is a novel based on Dylan’s last days in New York when he was being followed by a private investigator employed by Time Magazine. Published in hardback and paperback by Y Lolfa.


A special gift edition of Under Milk Wood will be published by Orion on September 25th. It will feature a new introduction and quotes from well-known fans of Dylan’s work.

A paperback version of John Goodby’s critical study The Poetry of Dylan Thomas : Under The Spelling Wall will be published by Liverpool University Press in October.

Radio, TV & Film

Filming has been completed on Dominion, the latest big screen depiction of Dylan Thomas which stars Rhys Ifans as the poet during his last days in New York. John Malkovich is reportedly playing Thomas’s doctor Milton Feltenstein and not John Malcolm Brinnin as we reported last time.  The film has been shot in Canada and is being edited in Montreal before premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2015.

Rhys Ifans is also starring in the latest big screen adaptation of Under Milk Wood directed by Kevin Allen. Ifans will be joined by Charlotte Church as Polly Garter and the cast will also include cameos by rugby legend Gareth Edwards and former Labour party leader Lord Kinnock. Location filming at Solva, Pembrokeshire, was completed in July. Allen talked about the film to Wales Online.

BBC America has acquired the Andrew Davies’ scripted drama A Poet In New York which will makes it’s US debut in the autumn.

Cerys Matthews is to release a CD of Dylan Thomas poems and music.

Matthew Rhys has recorded Dylan’s story “The Outing” for BBC Radio Wales, due to be broadcast on August 25th.

Ty Cerdd in partnership with Taliesin Theatre plan to record Under Milk Wood : An Opera, music by John Metcalf. The recording is currently in production with a planned release date of October 2014.

The latest trailer for the forthcoming big-budget sci-fi movie Interstellar directed by Christopher Nolan features Sir Michael Caine reciting “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”.

Dylan Watch on TV & Radio – Author Fay Weldon told Radio 4’s A Good Read that she’d been accused of plagiarising Dylan’s Under Milk Wood in her novel Remember Me. Writer Hilly Janes, author of The Three Lives of Dylan Thomas, talked about the poet on Radio 4’s The Human Zoo. Radio 4’s Today programme discussed Dylan’s value to the Welsh tourism industry, and BBC One’s Countryfile was in Gower talking to Gwen Watkins about her late husband, the poet Vernon Watkins, and his love of the Gower landscape and his relationship with Dylan. David Rayvern Allen, the biographer of the cricket commentator and poetry producer, John Arlott, joined Jonathan Agnew on BBC Radio’s Test Match Special to talk about John Arlott and Dylan who were good friends and share a centenary in 2014. Back in January Irish broadcaster RTE produced a radio feature on Dylan which can be heard here.

 In The Papers

The Guardian covered the discovery of the unpublished drinking ditty. The Independent looked at the two new screen adaptations of Under Milk Wood as well as running a piece on the wind-turbine that will blight the view from the Boathouse at Laugharne. The Telegraph published more articles in their Dylan Thomas Centenary Series. Elijah Wood gave an interview to The Scotsman ahead of the Edinburgh premiere of Set Fire To The Stars, and theatre director Michael Bogdanov spoke to the South Wales Evening Post about his plans for The Dylathon, the forthcoming 36-hour reading of Dylan’s works at Swansea Grand Theatre. Wales Online ran a piece on the 1971 filming in Fishguard of Under Milk Wood directed by Andrew Sinclair. The Daily Mail featured pictures of Charlotte Church on set for the filming of the new big screen version of Under Milk Wood, as well as covering the wind-turbine story. The Weekly Standard ran a piece by the art historian and writer Bevis Hillier – The Anti Eliot : A centenary appraisal of Dylan Thomas.


First Minister Walks the Walk

First Minister, Carwyn Jones, visited Laugharne and completed the Dylan Thomas Birthday Walk in the company of the Mayor of Laugharne, Bob Stevens, who created the walk which is based on Dylan’s “Poem in October”.

Prince Charles Reception

The Prince of Wales, royal patron of the Dylan Thomas centenary, held a reception on July 1st at his Llynywermod estate to celebrate the poet’s centenary. Singer songwriter Cerys Matthews and actor Owen Teale were among the performers taking part in the event.

Wind Turbine 

Disappointment and outrage were expressed at the decision by Carmarthenshire Council to approve plans for a wind turbine that will be visible from the Boathouse at Laugharne despite significant public opposition to the plan. The proposal will see a turbine erected across the estuary from the Boathouse at Mwche Farm, Llansteffan, part of the iconic view that inspired some of Dylan’s best loved poems.

Cardiff Airport 

Swansea West MP Geraint Davies has suggested that Cardiff Airport be renamed Dylan Thomas International Airport.

New Quay Street Performance


Students from Coleg Ceredigion took to the streets of New Quay with Cnwc y Glap, a performance at different sites around the town based on local stories of Dylan Thomas. View our photographs of the event here.

New York Headphone Choir 

The words of Dylan’s poem “And Death Shall Have No Dominion was sung on the streets of New York on June 21, as part of the British Council’s celebrations for the centenary. The world’s first synchronised headphone choir set off from various points around the city singing a choral arrangement of the poem before converging on Rockefeller Park for a grand finale. Video of an introduction by composer Pete M. Wyer, and footage of the event can be viewed here.

Reading Group Project

Dylan Thomas book covers.330x488

Reading Groups For Everyone has teamed up with publishers Orion to offer eight reading groups the chance to read a selection of Thomas’s works from the newly re-issued Orion editions and to attend one of a number of Dylan Thomas related events.

CBC Archive

Librarian and archivist for Canadian broadcaster CBC, Colin Preston, is retiring and was pictured in an article in the Vancouver Sun holding a rare vinyl recording of Dylan Thomas reciting poetry at the Hotel Vancouver in 1950.

Ed Sheeran Song

English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran who has topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic has included a song referencing Dylan’s “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” on his latest album X. The song “Even My Dad Does Sometimes” includes the line “So inside we’ll rage Against the dying of the light”.

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