Following last year’s successful event featuring former National Poet of Wales, Gillian Clarke, the renowned and highly successful Welsh poet, author, playwright and television presenter, Owen Sheers is going to read at The Dylan Thomas Theatre on 9th March 2024.
Three published Welsh poets with strong connections to the city of Swansea will also feature on the night. Matthew M. C. Smith, Jo Mazelis and Jess Mookherjee are chosen as readers for their well-crafted verse and dexterity of poetic expression.
Owen Sheers was born in Fiji in 1974 and brought up in Abergavenny, South Wales. The winner of an Eric Gregory Award, his first collection of poetry, The Blue Book (2000), was shortlisted for the Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year Award and the Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection. His debut prose work, The Dust Diaries (2004), a non-fiction narrative set in Zimbabwe, was shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize and won the 2005 Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year Award. In 2004 he was Writer in Residence at The Wordsworth Trust and was selected as one of the Poetry Book Society’s 20 ‘Next Generation’ Poets. Owen’s second collection of poetry, Skirrid Hill (2005), won a Somerset Maugham Award. Unicorns, almost, his one-man play based on the life and poetry of the World War II poet Keith Douglas, was produced by Old Vic New Voices in 2006, with Joseph Fiennes in the lead role.
His play about Alun Lewis was broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and his first novel, Resistance, was published. He later co-wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation, released in 2011. His novella Two Ravens, one of the stories in Seren’s ‘Mabinogion’ series, was published in 2009. That same year, he presented the BBC4 television series A Poet’s Guide to Britain, and wrote the accompanying book of the series.
His theatre work includes the short play The Fair and Tender, performed as part of Bush Theatre’s 66 Books, and the script and novelisation (as The Gospel of Us) of The Passion, a site-specific 72-hour production by the National Theatre of Wales. Other plays include The Two Worlds of Charlie F. (2012), performed at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and based on the experiences of wounded soldiers; Mametz, a site-specific play about the battle of the Somme; and Pink Mist (2015), a verse drama performed on Radio 4, which later became a touring stage production. He also wrote the libretto for the oratorio The Water Diviner’s Tale, performed in 2007 at the Royal Albert Hall for the 2007 BBC Proms. He was the 2012 Welsh Rugby Union Artist in Residence, and published Calon (2013), a memoir of his year “at the heart of Welsh rugby”. His most recent novel is I Saw a Man (2015).
The event receives the support of Literature Wales and would not be happening were it not for the support and leadership of Dreena Elizabeth Morgan-Harvey, Director at Dylan Thomas Theatre.
Christopher Horton, a poet who is helping to coordinate the event, said: “Dreena has always been responsive to new event ideas, to innovation through performance and in supporting both established and underrepresented voices in contemporary Welsh poetry. This is the second event of this kind she has made happen and it shows that the theatre recognises its role to inspiring more local people to write and perform themselves.“ Details on how to purchase tickets can be found here: https://www.dylanthomastheatre.org.uk/events/poetry-evening-with-owen-sheers/
The event is taking place at The Dylan Thomas Theatre, Maritime Quarter, Swansea Saturday, 9th March 2024, 7:00pm