Sunday, 21 July 2013

IWA: The Second City of Wales? Swansea and its Identity

On Tuesday 30th July, the Dylan Thomas Centre will be hosting an event organised by the Institute of Welsh Affairs to celebrate and explore our wonderful city of Swansea. With the recent news that announced the creation of Wales’s first ‘city region’, comprised of the Swansea Bay area, and the fact that Swansea is a strong contender for the 2017 City of Culture, it is fitting that the IWA are dedicating an evening to discussing Swansea’s exciting future. One of Swansea’s most celebrated sons, the poet Nigel Jenkins, will be leading the conversation, along with IWA’s director, Lee Waters. The evening will also be the official launch of the photograph exhibition that features in the recent IWA publication, 25/25 Vision: Welsh Horizons Across 50 Years. This book contains essays and accompanying black and white photographs of 25 of Wales’s leading writers in both the political and cultural spheres (including some familiar faces from CREW). The essays in the collection are well worth a read; the writers were invited to reflect on their own experience of Wales, and to look ahead to a Wales they want to see in the near future.

To top it all, the evening also includes Welsh folk music, thanks to a Swansea-based mother and daughter folk-duo, DnA, who will be performing songs from their latest album.

Further details can be found at the IWA website

Saturday, 13 July 2013

R. S. Thomas @100

We are already more than half way through the centenary year of the great Welsh poet R. S. Thomas, so just a quick post to mark the events dedicated to celebrating the man and his work. One of the most significant events was the publication of RS Thomas: Serial Obsessive, by CREW’s indefatigable founder, M. Wynn Thomas. This new collection of essays looks at previously unseen poems by Thomas, exploring his various obsessions. It has received wonderful reviews:

As well as Wynn Thomas’s new book, there have also been many events to mark RST’s centenary. A major event at the Dylan Thomas Centre took place in April, marking not only Wynn Thomas’s new book, but also the Uncollected Poems, edited by Tony Brown and Jason Walford Davies. Five commemorative poems were also composed in memory of R S Thomas, by some of Wales’s leading contemporary poets (in both Welsh and English). There are still many exciting events coming up to look forward to, including the RST Literary Festival in September, and an evening of conversation on RS’s religious poetry between Wynn Thomas, Dr Rowan Williams and Dr Barry Morgan at the Taliesin Arts Centre on 1st November. For further information on all the events, see the links below:

Here is a link to an interview with M Wynn Thomas, on his experiences with RS, and his own ‘obsession’ with this fascinating man and his powerful poetry:

(I’ll post reminders of the Swansea-based events closer to the time)

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Literature Wales Literary Tourism Programme: Canoeing in Dylan Thomas's Taf Estuary

With next year promising to be a Dylan-fest, why not start celebrating Swansea’s infamous son this July with a day of canoeing, poetry and jazz? Organised by Literature Wales and CREW, the day begins in gorgeous Laugharne with Dylan Thomas experts, Jeff Towns and John Goodby. Enjoy some gentle paddling in the Taf Estuary, before an evening at Wright’s Independent Food Emporium, with New York-themed food and jazz, courtesy of Daniel Williams and his band Burum. For further details, check out the Literature Wales website:

 Welcome to Literature Wales’ 2013 Literary Tourism Events Programme. Join us on eighteen new literary adventures running from April through to October located across Wales and beyond!  Whether you want to explore the Wild West, the legends of Arthurian and Medieval Wales, Submarine Swansea, Neolithic Anglesey or the ghosts of Ceredigion, there is something for everyone. We will take you to the heart of Welsh worlds and words for totally one-off, unforgettable experiences by bicycle, canoe on horseback and on foot. You don’t have to be experienced at all. If you are interested, visit to view the brochure online...and get ready for a tour to remember or to a request a brochure or book a place, contact Literature Wales on: / 029 2047 2266.


Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Recent releases from CREW staff
Writing Wales in English: Black Skin, Blue Books - African Americans and Wales 1845-1945Staff at CREW just can’t stop publishing great research. Daniel Williams’s pioneering monograph Black Skin, Blue Books: African Americans and Wales 1845-1945 was published by UWP in September 2012, and has rightly received great acclaim. During my undergraduate studies, I often had to read rather dull scholarly works, but Williams’s book was a delight- highly readable, elegantly written and so thoroughly researched just reading the bibliography made me tired. But don’t just take my word for it, check out these glowing reviews:

Gender Studies in Wales: Rediscovering Margiad Evans - Marginality, Gender and Illness

CREW’s director, Kirsti Bohata, has also been busy, co-editing (with Katie Gramich) a new collection of wonderful essays on Margiad Evans, one of my favourite writers. Rediscovering Margiad Evans: Marginality, Gender and Illness is a valuable new collection, and features essays by both established and newer critical voices, who explore Evans’s work from a variety of themes and approaches. It has been recently reviewed in the TLS, so if you are a subscriber, take a look. Information on the book can be found here: