Literature Wales and Welsh Government announce new international ‘Dylan Day’
As part of an event to mark the conclusion of the successful year-long Dylan Thomas 100 Festival, Dylan Thomas’ granddaughter Hannah Ellis today announced the creation of Dylan Day, a new annual day of celebration in the name of Wales’ most famous literary son. The announcement was made at the National Library of Wales and will build upon the legacy of the Dylan Thomas 100 Festival. In response to requests to establish a public day, Dylan Day will be held each year on 14 May, the date Under Milk Wood was first read on stage at The Poetry Centre in New York in 1953.
Starting in 2015, and part of a three year package of funding announced by Welsh Government, Dylan Day will celebrate and raise the profile of Thomas’ work in Wales and abroad through a variety of activities, launch events, educational resources and social media activity.
The first year’s activity will centre on the publication of A Dylan Odyssey, a beautiful, fully illustrated book featuring fifteen unique Dylan Thomas trails across Wales, London, Oxford and New York. Edited by Literature Wales and published by south Wales publisher Graffeg, A Dylan Odyssey is based on Literature Wales’ 2014 Dylan Thomas-inspired literary tourism programme of the same name. Further details will be released by Literature Wales in the New Year.
Guests at the event in Aberystwyth were entertained by actor Adrian Metcalfe playing the part of the great poet, leading guests around the ‘Dylan’ exhibition. National Poet of Wales, Gillian Clarke, recited her favourite Dylan Thomas poem ‘Poem in October’ and Young People’s Laureate Wales, Martin Daws and Bardd Plant Cymru, Aneirin Karadog, performed a short extract from their Dylan Live show. Speaking at the event Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council spoke about Dylan Thomas’ links to Ceredigion and the positive impact the centenary had had on the county.
Hannah Ellis said: ‘It is so important that we make the most of the amazing legacy the Dylan Thomas 100 festival has offered and continue to celebrate the achievements of Dylan Thomas. A national day devoted to my grandfather will also be a way to bring attention to literature and arts in Wales and the places that inspired him so much. Let's embrace the day, dress up, read a poem or two and have fun exploring the magic of words.’
Chief Executive of Literature Wales, Lleucu Siencyn said: ‘Dylan Thomas fans across the UK and beyond have long been calling for a special day to celebrate the great poet and it seemed fitting that we should build on this year’s extraordinary achievements in Wales and abroad to celebrate Dylan Thomas by formally creating such a day. We look forward to working with partners and the public to spread the word of this great Welsh poet through fun and engaging activity for people of all ages.’
Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates, said: ‘The announcement of Dylan Day gives the year-long celebration of Dylan Thomas’ life and work a fitting conclusion. I’m delighted that this day will become a legacy for the festival and that the interest which has been shown in Dylan Thomas and Wales during the centenary celebrations will keep its momentum through this annual focal point.’