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Leading Welsh poet to give public reading in Cardiff

13 May 2008

Gwyneth Lewis, the first National Poet of Wales, is at Cardiff University Friday, May 16 for a free public poetry reading and talk.

The Cardiff born poet will be reading from her own work and also from Irish writers who have influenced her, including Seamus Heaney, W.B. Yeats, Paul Muldoon and Nuala Ní Dhomnaill. The event is part of a wider ‘Comparisons and Contexts’ symposium organised by the Ireland-Wales Research Network.

Appointed Wales’ first National Poet from 2005-06, Gwyneth Lewis writes in both English and Welsh and has published 6 books of poetry and 2 non-fiction works. Acclaimed by readers and critics in both languages, she also composed the words which appear in six foot high letters on the façade of the Wales Millennium Centre.

Gwyneth’s reading will touch upon her 2005 prose work Two in a Boat which is based on experiences she shared with her husband during the course of an epic voyage from Cardiff to North Africa. The lecture, entitled ‘Criss-crossings: Literary Adventures on Irish and Welsh Shores’, will look not only at this literal journey but will also deal with the literary journeys Lewis has taken across the Irish Sea in search of inspiration.

Speaking ahead of Friday’s event, she said: "Irish writing has been a formative influence on me and I’m glad to be able to express my gratitude to it. Being Welsh, however, I assume the privilege of kin in order to criticize the ones we love, which is why the lecture is called Criss-crossings."

Gwyneth has previously served as Poet in Residence at Cardiff University’s School of Physics and Astronomy and was made an Honorary Fellow of the University in 2005.

The event, supported by Academi, takes place at Cardiff School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, on Maindy Road, between at 6pm. The event is open to all. Tickets are free but must be booked in advance by emailing


Notes to Editors:

Cardiff University

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities. Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, the University today combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Cardiff is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s leading research universities.

Visit the University website at:

Ireland-Wales Research Network

The Ireland-Wales Research Network, funded by the Arts and Humanities Council of Great Britain, aims to develop a deeper awareness of the overlapping histories of Wales and Ireland and contribute to a fuller understanding of the interconnected pasts of Britain and Ireland. It is run by Dr Claire Connolly and Dr Katie Gramich, Cardiff School of English, Communication and Philosophy, in conjunction with partners at Aberystwyth University.

The Comparisons and Contexts symposium is a two day event designed to explore the creative, cultural and political relationships between Wales and Ireland. Gwyneth Lewis’s reading and talk will be the keynote event but the symposium has also attracted speakers from Cardiff, Aberystwyth, Galway, Belfast and Michigan. The writers Éilis Ní Dhuibhne, Robin Llywelyn, Catherine Fisher and Patrick McGuinness will also be in attendance for a round table discussion.

Gwyneth Lewis is the second high-profile poet attracted to Cardiff University by the Ireland-Wales Research Network since it officially launched last year. The Pulitzer-winning poet Paul Muldoon captivated a large audience when he visited the University to give a poetry reading in December 2007.

Cardiff School of English, Communication and Philosophy

The School of English, Communication and Philosophy has a world-wide reputation as a centre for research and publication in English Literature, Language Communication, Critical and Cultural Theory and Philosophy.

Within English and Communication, the School has expertise across a wide range of topics, from Old Norse and Old English to post-colonialism, post-modernism and sociolinguistics. English Language and Literature was awarded the top "Grade 5" rating in the government-sponsored assessment of research quality within British universities. The teaching of language and communication has also been assessed as "Excellent" in the recent assessment of teaching quality.

Further Information:

For more information, please contact:

Jessica Kelly,

Public Relations Office,

Cardiff University.

029 2087 4731