"Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
Born in 1914 in Swansea, Wales, Dylan Thomas was an acclaimed poet, writer, speaker and performer. Arguably the most famous Welsh writer in history, his work was admired in both the UK and the US, where he died in New York City at the early age of 39.
Thomas was the son of a bookish schoolteacher, and his home in Cwmdonkin Drive was packed with books. From the start the young Dylan read voraciously as he searched for favourite novelists and poets. Later literary friends were always impressed with his frame of reference that took in the classic texts, contemporary writers and popular genre novelists.
Describing poetry as a "city having many entrances," Dylan Thomas was known for his deviation from strict verse forms, favouring a more musical and flowing poetry and prose style. An entertainer as well as a writer, he was also famed for his public speaking and poetry readings, as well as appearances on BBC radio and various recordings of his work.
Dylan Thomas married in 1937, and raised three children with his wife Caitlin. The couple rented a cottage in the now famous town of Laugharne, Camarthenshire in West Wales. Thomas spent his later years in London and the United States, where he toured as a sought-after public speaker and worked as a playwright.
It was the remarkable acceptance of Dylan’s career path and its successes that led to the gestation of the Dylan Thomas Prize. His legacy is one of both the passion and rebellion of youth, and the great writing which can be created in that space; for it had been this very youthfulness which allowed his words to twinkle on the page.
Writers immediately understand why there should be a Dylan Thomas prize, and he remains an inspiration around the world today.