Celebrate Dylan Thomas

Events, Resources
Image © Nora Summers / Jeff Towns, Dylan’s Bookstore Collection

From Literature Wales:

After a year of celebrations, the most important date in the centenary of one of Wales’ best-loved writers is almost here: 

Dylan Thomas’ birthday is Monday 27 October

The poet has been celebrated far and wide this year through the Dylan Thomas 100 Festival, with hundreds of events commemorating his life and work.

Individuals and organisations throughout Wales and beyond have embraced and reinterpreted Dylan’s work throughout the year to produce extraordinary experiences and exciting events.

Performance, art, poetry, competitions, commemorative coins, TV and radio programmes and even smartphone apps: creativity and passion have been everywhere, from Dylan’s travelling writing shed to Peter Blake’s labour-of-love Under Milk Wood exhibition.

Read on to find out about the literary and cultural events planned around the UK and beyond that tie in with the climax of this wildly successful centenary year, as well as Literature Wales’ other Dylan Thomas-related news and announcements.

Events Around the World



Do Not Go Gentle Festival
Friday 24 – Sunday 26 October

This music and literary festival celebrates Dylan in his home suburb of Uplands, Swansea. Cosy and atmospheric venues and great acts in the company of the people of Swansea who first inspired him to write all those years ago.
Click here for more info

The Dylathon
Sunday 26 – Monday 27 October
A unique 36 hour reading of Dylan Thomas’ poems, short stories, letters, broadcasts, film scripts and Under Milk Wood, all live on stage at The Swansea Grand Theatre, on the anniversary itself in the city of his birth.
Click here for more info

Dylan Thomas Festival
Monday 27 October – Sunday 9 November
The Dylan Thomas Centre’s annual festival is set to be extra special this year, with Bob Kingdom’s Return Journey show, the launch of John Goodby’s new Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas (Orion Publishing), a new exhibition of Dylan Thomas memorabilia and much more.

Click here for more info

My Life with Dylan Thomas
Wednesday 29 October
An account by poet Tony Curtis of growing up in Carmarthen, overlapped with Dylan’s last years. Taught by Dylan’s friend, Vernon Watkins, he has won the Western Mail’s Dylan Thomas Prize, and also the Dylan Thomas Prize for Spoken Poetry.
Click here for more info

My Friend Dylan Thomas
Saturday 25 – Thursday 30 October
Musical responses to Dylan Thomas, featuring Elin Manahan Thomas and Huw Warren (BBC National Orchestra of Wales), Grant Llewellyn (Bangor University Chamber Choir), Daniel Jones, John Rea, Andrew Lewis, Guto Pryderi Puw, Mark-Anthony Turnage and Mererid Hopwood.


Dylan Thomas in Fitzrovia Festival 
Monday 20 – Sunday 26 October
Taking place in the culturally historic district of Fitzrovia, this festival offers a vibrant array of events, talks, concerts and walks, including Literature Wales’ Dylan Live show (part ofDeveloping Dylan 100) and Young People’s Laureate Martin Daws performing his ‘take-away’ poems.
Click here for more info



Under Milk Wood: A Live BBC Wales Reading
Sunday 26 October

The classic play for voices returns to 92nd Street Y cultural centre, the theatre where it premiered in 1953. Michael Sheen directs and stars in a production that also features actress Kate Burton, daughter of original cast members Richard Burton and Sybil Williams. Will be broadcast on BBC Radio Wales at 8.00 pm.
Click here for more info

A Night of Poetry in Celebration of Dylan Thomas
Sunday 26 October
The Bowery Poetry Club and BK Nation present an evening featuring Elaine Canning, Bob Holman, Gwyneth Lewis and Kevin Powell.
Click here for more info

These are just a few of the event highlights; visit the Dylan Thomas 100 website for information about other events taking place to mark Dylan Thomas’ centenary.

Dylan Live image © Lleucu Meinir

Dylan Thomas: Bardd a’i Ryfel
S4C, Friday 24 October at 9.30 pm
The documentary focuses on a less prominent facet of Dylan’s life, his career as a propaganda screenwriter during World War Two. Poet and television producer Ifor ap Glyn explores the writer’s past, taking the journey from his birthplace in Cwmdonkin Drive to London, where he worked for the UK Government’s Ministry of Information.

RS Thomas v Dylan Thomas – Brwydr y Beirdd
S4C, Sunday 26 October at 9.00 pm
A battle of the bards, the documentary compares the work of two Welsh literary legends and 20th century poets, Dylan Thomas and RS Thomas. Poetic and academic brothers Jason and Damian Walford Davies have very different viewpoints on the two Thomases, embarking on a quest of Wales to come to a conclusion.

The Hunchback in the Park
BBC One, Monday 27 October at 11.20 pm
This short animated film is based on Thomas’ poem, which depicts a lonely man who spends his time at Swansea’s Cwmdonkin Park. Expect a performance by Michael Sheen and original music by John Hardy performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

My Grandfather Dylan
ITV, Tuesday 28 October at 7.30 pm
Dylan Thomas’ granddaughter Hannah Ellis speaks of the poet and how the image of a roaring boyo needs to be replaced with the story of a dedicated craftsman. Hannah Ellis, with performances by Michael Sheen, looks at the areas that her grandfather loved from the Welsh countryside to the seaside towns.

Highlight: Cerys Matthews goes Under Milk Wood
BBC Radio 4, Sunday 26 October at 8.00 pm
Cerys Matthews unlocks an archive of rare interviews, made by her uncle Colin Edwards, with Dylan Thomas’ closest friends and family. The recordings date from the early 1960s, a decade after the poet’s death.

Under Milk Wood: A Live BBC Wales Reading
BBC Radio Wales, Sunday 26 October at 8.00 pm

The classic play for voices returns to 92nd Street Y cultural centre, the theatre where it premiered in 1953. Michael Sheen directs and stars in a production that also features actress Kate Burton, daughter of original cast members Richard Burton and Sybil Williams. 

These are just a couple of highlights; there are so many more radio programmes coming up in English and Welsh. 
Click here for a full list of BBC Radio’s Dylan Thomas schedule.
From Literature Wales

Literature Wales & Dylan Thomas 100

Our Dylan-themed projects and events have brought nearly 12,000 people into contact with the work of Dylan Thomas. The vast majority of these have been aged 7-25, so it’s often been the first significant experience of the poet’s work and legacy for these young people.

These include both our Dylan Odyssey literary tours and the Developing Dylan 100 scheme, supported by the Welsh Government’s Department for Education and Skills: a range of Dylan Thomas-inspired youth and education projects including arts and creative writing workshops, an international writing competition, an epic collaborative poem, and a touring live show blending jazz, hip-hop and spoken word.


Dylan’s Great Poem

Listen out for Dylan’s Great Poem on the Friday 31 October, which will be read out by some of Wales’ biggest celebrities and broadcast on the Shân Cothi show on BBC Radio Cymru at 10.04 am. Part of Developing Dylan 100, Dylan’s Great Poem is a collaborative poem written by the young people of the world, and edited by Owen Sheers and Mari George.
Click here to read the poem
Click here to read about the ‘making of’ Dylan’s Great Poem


Prologue to an Adventure 

On Thursday 6 November Literature Wales will be announcing the winners of the international creative writing competition, Prologue to an Adventure, at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea, alongside winners of Into Film’s Dylan Thomas short film competition.

In September 2013 Literature Wales launched the competition, open to young people aged 7-25 worldwide, in English and Welsh, and received over 500 entries.

Winners have been selected by a panel of Welsh writers and Dylan Thomas ambassadors, including Joe Dunthorne, Hannah Ellis, Elen Caldecott, Anni Llŷn, Bethan Gwanas, Gwen Davies and Mererid Hopwood. Prizes include Kindles, book tokens and creative writing masterclasses for the winners’ schools.

Wining entries will be published on the Developing Dylan 100 website, in creative writing magazines and broadcast on BBC Radio Cymru and BBC Radio Wales in November.
Click here to find out more


Our Dylan Thomas-themed creative writing workshops are led by some of Wales’ best writers. Available to Key Stages 2, 3 and 4 until Christmas 2014, over 8000 young people have taken part so far.
Click here to find out more


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