September 2014 News Round-up

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


Summer has seen no let up in the celebrations as we begin to close in on Dylan’s 100th birthday in October. August saw Dylan celebrated at the National Eisteddfod in Llanelli with the first public performances of Dan y Wenallt, the newly revised Welsh language translation of Under Milk Wood. The Dylan exhibition at the National Library of Wales continues and there is now online access to many of the manuscripts and documents on show, an excellent opportunity to study these fascinating documents in great detail.

Following the ending of the Notebooks Exhibition at Swansea’s Dylan Thomas Centre, a Manuscripts Exhibition opens on September 13th and runs until December. The permanent Dylan Thomas exhibition at the Centre is currently closed for the lottery funded expansion, but re-opens on Dylan’s birthday, October 27th. A preview of the new expanded exhibition can be seen here.

Just a few of the other highlights in September include the Dylan Unchained conference at Swansea University, the London based Deaths and Entrances exhibition, the Art of Dylan Thomas exhibition at Barry, two more Dylan Weekends in Laugharne, celebrations of the 1972 Under Milk Wood film at the Fishguard Film Festival, a Dylan tribute at Portmeirion’s Festival No 6, and a trip across the Irish Sea to the dlr Book Festival for the replica of Dylan’s writing shed.

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

Wales Art Review Interviews

Wales Art Review featured two interviews by Jasper Rees focusing on Dylan Thomas during the centenary year. Professor Walford Davies talked about his admiration for the work of Thomas, his first introduction to that work, and his views on the national celebrations. National Eisteddfod Archdruid, T James Jones discusses Dyaln’s ‘Welshness’, as well as his own translations of Under Milk Wood into Welsh.

LA Theatre Works – Under Milk Wood


Rhyl born director Sara Sugarman will direct a production of Under Milk Wood for the LA Theatre Works, Los Angeles. The production will star Matthew Rhys and Richard Burton’s daughter Kate Burton.

Swansea DT Audio

A series of minute-long sound installations featuring the words of Dylan Thomas are being introduced at sites around Swansea city centre during late October and early November. The railway station, Market, Grand Theatre, No Sign Wine Bar and Uplands Tavern are among the locations where the recordings will be installed. They’ll either be heard through concealed speakers or PA systems. The Poems in October project, running from October 25 to November 9, is part of the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery’s programme of off-site events and activities.

Ian McKellen joins Dylan celebration


Sir Ian McKellen is the latest big name to be announced for the Dylathon, the 36-hour all-star reading of the works of Dylan Thomas taking place at the Grand Theatre, Swansea, October 26th & 27th.

Vernon Watkins Honoured

Dylan’s close friend, the Swansea poet Vernon Watkins is to be honoured with a blue plaque which will be unveiled on October 29th. The plaque will be erected by Swansea Council at the former bank building in St Helen’s Road where he worked for 38 years. Watkins is also due to be honoured in Pennard with the proposed new library being  named the Pennard Vernon Watkins Library.

Cardiff Sale of Dylan Thomas Material


Auctioneers Rogers Jones & Co will be including a Dylan Thomas Centenary section in their Welsh Sale at Cardiff on September 6th. The sale will include the last portrait of Dylan completed in his own lifetime, as well as other Thomas inspired artworks, rare books, letters, and signed material.

Dylan Thomas Prize Shortlist


The shortlist for the 2014 Dylan Thomas Prize has been announced. The upper age limit for the prize has been specially increased to 39  for this year in honour of Dylan’s centenary, 39 being Dylan’s age when he died in 1953.
The shortlisted writers and their books are :-
Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries (Granta)
Joshua Ferris, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (Viking)
Eimear McBride, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing (Faber & Faber)
Kseniya Melnik, Snow in May (Fourth Estate)
Kei Miller, The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion (Carcanet Press)
Owen Sheers, Mametz (National Theatre Wales)
Naomi Wood, Mrs Hemingway (Picador)

Wednesday Evenings at the Birthplace

5 Cwmdonkin Drive

September saw the start of a new initiative at Dylan’s birthplace in Swansea that revives the literary get-togethers of Dylan’s days at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive. Wednesday evenings of the early 1930s saw the legendary ‘Kardomah Group’ meet in the study and discuss the goings on in the literary and arts world. Keeping the creative spirit alive, poets from the brand new online platform Poets Hub will perform their pieces and discuss their work and influences in what is hoped will become a new monthly feature at the house and online. Spoken word performances were streamed live on the internet from Cwmdonkin Drive, watch the first sessions here. The next evening is planned for October 1st.

Book News 


Encounters with Dylan comprises essays that explore Dylan’s work from various angles by 17 contemporary writers and critics including Dafydd Ellis-Thomas, Michael Bogdanov and Rachel Tresize. Edited by Jon Gower. Published in August 2014 by H’mm Foundation. 


The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas: The New Centenary Edition is published by W&N on October 9th. The new edition of the collected poems, edited by Professor John Goodby, is an annotated special centenary edition, and will include such things as the poems in the letters, the verse film-script Our Country, uncollected poems from journals, the verse and songs from Under Milk Wood, lyrics from the short stories, a prose poem, and the newly-discovered drinking song.


The Folio Society have produced Dylan Thomas : Selected Poems with an introduction by Owen Sheers. The edition, published to mark the centenary of Dylan’s birth, includes poems from all five of his collected works, as well as the unfinished, ‘Elegy’.


Dylan Thomas : A Centenary Celebration is published by Bloomsbury on September 11th. A collection of specially commissioned essays celebrating the poet’s life and work one hundred years after his birth in 1914. Edited by his granddaughter, Hannah Ellis, who introduces each section by theme, the book is divided into three parts concerning Thomas’s early years, later life and his lasting legacy.

Radio, TV & Film


The first image of Rhys Ifans in costume as Captain Cat for the new big screen version of Under Milk Wood has been released as filming is completed in West Wales.

Set Fire To The Stars, the film which focuses on Dylan’s friendship and working relationship with John Malcolm Brinnin receives it’s English premiere at the Cambridge Film Festival on September 7th.

Dylan Watch on TV & Radio – Dylan featured in the first part of  a two-part BBC Four documentary Great Poets In Their Own Words. The BBC Proms season marked Dylan’s centenary by hosting a discussion at the Royal College of Music with National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke and artist Sir Peter Blake. Radio Winchcombe (Gloucestershire) produced a Dylan Thomas documentary presented by Anna Saunders of the Cheltenham Poetry Festival. BBC Radio Wales broadcast Dylan’s story “The Outing” read by Matthew Rhys and accompanied by memories of Swansea. Dylan’s granddaughter Hannah Ellis will be a guest on Cerys Matthews’ Sunday radio show on BBC 6 Music on September 7th. S4C have announced that their Dylan Thomas documentary fronted by Rhys Ifans will be broadcast as part of their Autumn season.

 In The Papers

Rowan Williams reviewed Hilly Janes’ new book The Three Lives of Dylan Thomas and a new edition of the Collected Stories for the New Statesman. The Telegraph continue to run features in their Dylan Thomas Centenary Series. Hugh Muir of the Guardian raised some hackles by suggesting in his diary of August 13th that Laugharne doesn’t celebrate Dylan Thomas. His diary for August 14th reflected on some alternative views to that theory.


Youtube Treat

A little gem turned up on youtube. A vinyl recording of Dylan reading “The Ballad of the Long-Legged Bait” at the CBC Vancouver Radio Studio in the Hotel Vancouver in 1950.

Welcome To Wales

A new Welcome to Wales video produced by Visit Wales features shots of the Boathouse and Dylan’s writing shed at Laugharne.

Newport Nato Summit

World leaders attending the NATO summit in Newport will be presented with a bottle of Dylan Thomas whisky from Penderyn. The replica of Dylan’s Laugharne writing shed will also visit the summit area.

Newport Painting


Llaregyb the 1958 painting by David Griffith that was inspired by Dylan’s Under Milk Wood is to go on show at Newport Museum and Art Gallery until the end of the year. Mr Griffiths will be producing limited edition prints of the painting via Cardiff’s Albany Gallery.

Young People’s Film Competition

Into Film and Literature Wales have launched a Dylan Thomas inspired film competition. Actors Matthew Rhys and Sharon Morgan will be part of the judging panel. Deadline October 24th.

Helen Love

Swansea indie band Helen Love will be releasing a Dylan Thomas tribute song called Where Dylan Thomas Talks To Me.

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