Thursday 14 August 2014


Welsh writers and musicians are travelling to Australia to take part in this month’s Melbourne Writers Festival to mark the centenary of Dylan Thomas’s birth.

Welsh writers Rachel Trezise and John Williams will be talking about contemporary Welsh literature and the legacy of Dylan. They will also be joining with musicians Gareth Bonello and Richard James for two hours of Dylan inspired music, literature and film under the banner of ‘In Chapters’, the arts-collective founded by Richard and John that stages multi-media events.

The Welsh writers and musicians will also be collaborating with two writers and two groups of musicians from Australia, creating new work inspired by the work of Dylan Thomas.

The events are part of ‘Starless and Bible Black’, the international celebration of Dylan Thomas’s work.

Dan Thomas, head of arts at British Council Wales, which is leading the Starless and Bible Black programme, said: “We’re proud to be marking the Dylan Thomas centenary and raising the profile of Welsh creative talent at the Festival. Our events will also include the screening of two Welsh films on the big screen on Melbourne’s Federation Square: Sleep Furiously, Gideon Koppel’s critically acclaimed documentary about life in the village of Trefeurig in Ceredigion and The Colour of Saying by Richard James and artist Anthony Shapland, which explores the vocal, lyrical, rhythmic and literary strands of Dylan Thomas' west Wales world.”

Melbourne Writers Festival artistic director, Lisa Dempster, said: “Dylan Thomas' work has a lasting impact and Melbourne Writers Festival is delighted to be able to join an international literary community to celebrate his legacy. 

“The global Dylan Thomas 100 celebration creates the perfect opportunity for Melbourne Writers Festival to explore contemporary Welsh writing as well, and we look forward to bringing exciting voices from that intriguing part of the world to connect with Australian writers and readers.”

Helen O’Neil, director of British Council Australia, also welcomed the Welsh visit to the Festival: “Dylan Thomas has embedded Welsh poetry and drama in Australian cultural experience, particularly because his play for voices, Under Milk Wood, has successfully reached so many people on stage, in recordings and in print.

“In this centenary year there’s a great opportunity to engage with new generations of Welsh artists who’ve built on his legacy and connected Wales and the Welsh internationally through writing, music, film making and performance.”

Melbourne Writers Festival takes place from 21 to 31 August. The festival draws an audience of 40,000 plus and features 300 of the best writers from around the world.

 For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Alison Cummins at British Council Wales 029 2092 4334 or 

Notes to Editor

Rachel Tresize: born in Cwmparc, Rhondda, the winner of the inaugural Dylan Thomas prize, her books include: In and Out of the Goldfish Bowl, Dial M for Merthyr and Cosmic Latte.

John Williams: Cardiff born author of Bloody Valentine, Cardiff Dead and The Cardiff Trilogy.

Richard James: guitarist, bassist and singer-songwriter from Pembrokeshire, founder member of the band Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci.   

Gareth Bonello: Cardiff based songwriter who writes and records under the stage name The Gentle Good.

Starless and Bible Black: is part of the Dylan Thomas 100 Festival and British Council Wales are working with British Council Australia, the Welsh Government and the Melbourne Writers Festival to provide the Welsh appearances at the festival.

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