The Dictionary of Welsh Biography publishes new article on Dylan Thomas

Posted on 27 October 2014

To coincide with the centenary celebrations of his birth, the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies (CAWCS) is pleased to announce the publication of a new article on Dylan Thomas within the Dictionary of Welsh Biography (DWB).

Originally published in 1959 by the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion in two English-language and three Welsh-language volumes covering the whole history of Wales up to 1970, an electronic version was launched by the National Library of Wales (NLW) in 2007. Following the retirement of the dictionary’s long standing Editor Dr Brynley F. Roberts in 2013 a partnership was formed between the NLW and CAWCS to maintain and develop the DWB on behalf of the Cymmrodorion from 2014 onwards.

The article itself has been updated to reflect current understanding of Dylan Thomas’ life and the circumstances of his death, and shows how important Wales was to him as a writer.

The article’s author, Professor Walford Davies, is a leading authority on the poet and is the author of Dylan Thomas (Open University Press), co-editor with Ralph Maud of the definitive editions of Thomas’s Collected Poems 1934 - 1953 and Under Milk Wood (Dent), and editor of Selected Poems and Under Milk Wood for Penguin. His most recent title Dylan Thomas, a critical study covering the whole range of his writing, was published by the University of Wales Press in April as part of their Writers of Wales series.

The two Joint Editors of the DWB are Professor Dafydd Johnston, Director of CAWCS, and Dr Aled Gruffydd Jones, the National Librarian, with Dr Marion Löffler of CAWCS as Assistant Editor. Their work involves revising many of the old articles and commissioning new entries in order to achieve balanced coverage of the period since 1970.

Speaking about the new article, Professor Dafydd Johnston explained:

“This new article by a leading expert on Dylan Thomas is a major step in the process of updating the Dictionary of Welsh Biography, and we are delighted to make it available online to mark the centenary of his birth. It will meet the needs of anyone seeking a concise and authoritative account of Dylan’s life and work.”

On behalf of the National Library of Wales, Aled Gruffydd Jones, Chief Executive and Librarian added:

“This is, indeed, a very welcome and timely publication, appearing, as it does, during the centenary of Dylan Thomas’ birth. It complements our own contributions to the celebrations, which include the staging of a major exhibition of original items from our collections, and, crucially stimulates interest into the life and work of a major Welsh artist”

The DWB is now published online only as a live database, containing over five thousand concise biographies of Welsh people who have made a significant contribution to national life, whether in Wales or more widely. It is a bilingual resource and includes all the articles from the print volumes and also articles about a number of people who died since 1970. Available to all for free, users can undertake quick, easy and precise searches, transforming a scholarly publication into an online resource.

For information about the DWB and to search the database, please visit the website -

The new article on Dylan Thomas can be found here -


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