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THE DYLAN
THOMAS
FESTIVAL
Swansea pays homage to its much
loved literary son... words: MEGAN CAMPBELL
DYLAN Thomas fever is set to sweep Swansea this month, bringing with it a
veritable feast of readings, theatre performances, talks, music, films and arts in an
annual commemoration of one of Wales’s most famous writers. The Dylan Thomas
Festival (Thu 23 Oct-Mon 10 Nov) is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year and
as such the programme promises to be bigger and more varied than ever, featuring
celebrity guests, exclusive premieres of newly discovered work and the award of the
second Dylan Thomas Prize for writers under 30.
Dylan Thomas, although perhaps most well-known for his poetry, also wrote and
performed many short stories and scripts for film and radio. Born and raised in
Uplands, Swansea, he became famous for his public readings and gained a large
international following due in part to his distinctively sonorous reading voice.
Growing up, Thomas actively pursued a literary career, with a post-school job as a
reporter for the South Wales Daily Post and regular performances at local theatres
and pubs, including the Kardomah Café in Swansea. Thomas made many referenc-
es to his home town and Wales in his writing; his most famous work, the radio play
Under Milk Wood, was set in the fictional Welsh town Llareggub (peculiar name
choice, you say? Read it backwards…) which is based on New Quay in Ceredigion.
Swansea is rightfully proud of its famous son, with memorials to him including a
statue, a theatre and the Dylan Thomas Centre, responsible for the festival itself.
This year, the festival focuses on ‘Performing Dylan’, with a strong emphasis on
dramatic performances and readings. Notable appearances from some of Britain’s
best loved poets, such as Carol Ann Duffy and Robert Minhinnick top the bill, and
the rest of the programme is equally impressive, covering everything from Peter
Read’s five-star portrayal of the man himself in Dylan Thomas In America to a
world premiere of a previously undiscovered work, newly adapted for broadcast as
a BBC Radio Four drama. Other highlights include the award of £60,000 to the win-
ner of the Dylan Thomas Prize, the shortlist of which features the cream of young
literary talent from Britain to Ethiopia, South Africa and Vietnam.
The festival programme has been artfully geared to guarantee widespread appeal
and is virtually impossible to condense – find it in full at www.dylanthomas.com
along with information on the accompanying Dylan Thomas Fringe Festival. A must
for those who’ve always suspected there’s more to Swansea than the Mumbles Mile
and Twin Town.
Info: 01792 46980 / www.dylanthomas.com
BUZZ 012
OCTOBER2008.indd 12 25/9/08 3:16:04 pm
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