Following the success of the first three International Dylan Thomas Days, the fourth annual celebration of the famous poet’s life and work has been announced, with an open invitation to anyone in the world to join in.
‘Dylan Day’ is held each year on 14 May, the date Under Milk Wood was first read on stage at 92nd Street Y, The Poetry Center in New York in 1953. In its first three years, the Day was funded by Welsh Government, and run by Literature Wales. Now, Dylan’s grand-daughter Hannah Ellis has taken the helm and is hosting the Day on her website, Discover Dylan Thomas.com.
As before, Dylan Day aims to celebrate and raise the profile of Thomas’ work in the UK and abroad through a variety of activities, including events, educational activities, and a social media campaign. It also seeks to encourage people to ‘love the words’, a direct quote from Thomas, via a free online competition which invites anyone, anywhere, to contribute to the world’s longest love poem.
The first International Dylan Thomas Day took place in 2015 following requests to establish a public day, after the year-long Dylan Thomas 100 Festival was met with great public enthusiasm. The second celebration in 2016 included 50 events all around the world and the third, last year, included over 60 global events. Building on that legacy, the day this year aims to include a variety of activities, and is open to anyone if they wish to take part.
As in previous years, Dylan Day 2018 will begin its run-up with a pre-award celebration in London for the prestigious International Dylan Thomas Prize, in partnership with Swansea University, on 8 May. The event opens at 7.15 pm at the British Library, St Pancras, with the main ceremony taking place, then, in Swansea on 10 May. The winner of the £30,000 prize for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under, will be announced in the afternoon at the stunning Swansea University Bay Campus.
John Hurt stars in a new film, That Good Night, which takes its name from the famous Dylan Thomas Poem, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. This opens in UK cinemas on 11 May and is based on the play by N J Crisp.
In Mauritius, the poet and author Vatsala Radhakeesoon will write an article about Dylan Thomas and invites poets, authors and artists to share their views of his works and how his poetry has inspired and influenced them. The closing date for entries is 30 April and the writer will display these on her blog, vatsalaradhakeesoon.wordpress.com, on Dylan Day.
Also online will be this year’s Love the Words competition, which asks people to contribute to what will hopefully be the world’s longest love poem. Simply Tweet or Facebook your entry with the hashtags #LovetheWords and #DylanDay anytime up to midnight on 4 May in order to take part. Entries will be collated into a final poem by Dylan’s grand-daughter, Hannah Ellis, and poet Mab Jones, and showcased on the Discover Dylan Thomas.com website.
There will be a further number of events across the UK, as well as in Italy, France, Australia, and the USA, with details of these to be announced shortly. The call is open for anyone, anywhere, to take part, however, so, whether it’s a performance, a walk, a workshop, an exhibition, a blog post, or anything else at all, feel free to use the Dylan Day logo (available on Discover Dylan Thomas.com) and use it to help promote your celebration of Dylan’s work, as well as of words and their magic in general.
Cerys Matthews, said: “Falling on the anniversary of the world premier of Under Milk Wood, Dylan Day is a great excuse to celebrate not only this fine wordsmith but also the world’s great heritage of plays, poems, essays and literature.”
Find out more at Discover Dylan Thomas.com and also follow the hashtags #DylanDay and #LovetheWords on social media.
For more information contact:
Coordinators of International Dylan Thomas Day, Hannah Ellis and Mab Jones: