Wales and India will be swapping poets to mark the centenary of Dylan Thomas’ birth.
Four Welsh and four Indian poets will be taking part in a series of ‘Walking Cities’ exchanges organised by British Council Wales and Wales Arts International. Three tours will take place in India and Wales between October 2014 and April 2015.
Head of arts for British Council Wales, Dan Thomas, explained: “Walking Cities pairs up UK and international writers and enables them to tour each other’s respective home cities, providing an opportunity for the visiting poet to encounter the foreign city through the eyes of the local host.
“We hope the project will lead to new work from both the Welsh and Indian writers and maybe translations of each other’s work. It is also a chance to showcase Welsh culture in India and to bring Indian writers to a Welsh audience.”
Explaining how Dylan Thomas inspired the exchange, Dan said: “Cities were an important influence on Dylan Thomas, who had strong connections to Swansea, New York and London. He was someone who embraced these distinctive metropolises and this is the inspiration for the project.”
Welsh poets Eurig Salisbury and Rhian Edwards will be joining their Indian counterparts, Sampurna Chattarji and Ranjit Hoskote, in India from 25 October to 2 November. They will visit the cities of Mumbai and Pune and will finish their week of working together with a joint performance at the Mumbai Literature Festival.
In January Welsh poets Deryn Rees Jones and Joe Dunthorne will work with Indian poets Jeet Thayil and Tishani Doshi. They will explore the cities of Delhi and Jaipur and showcase their work at the Jaipur Literary Festival and the Kolkota (Calcutta) Book Fair.
In April the four Indian poets will visit Wales and sites of importance to Dylan Thomas, including Swansea and Laugharne, to provide further inspiration for their work and to give them a chance to learn more about what made Dylan the writer.
The poet’s visits will be recorded for a British Council podcast which will be featured in Guernica magazine.
The project is part of the British Council’s ‘Starless and Bible Black’ programme of international events to mark the centenary of Dylan Thomas’s birth.