The Writers of Wales Database
Gwyneth Lewis was Wales’ first National Poet. She has published seven books of poetry in Welsh and English. Her first collection in English, Parables & Faxes (Bloodaxe, 1995) won the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival Prize and was short-listed for the Forward, as was her second, Zero Gravity (Bloodaxe, 1998). The BBC made a documentary of Zero Gravity, inspired by her astronaut cousin’s voyage to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. Y Llofrudd Iaith (’The Language Murderer’, Barddas, 2000), won the Welsh Arts Council Book of the Year Prize and Keeping Mum (Bloodaxe, 2003) was short–listed for the same prize in 2004. Chaotic Angels (Bloodaxe, 2005) collects the first three volumes of poetry in English and Tair mewn Un (Barddas, 2005) the first three in Welsh. Gwyneth was responsible for composing the words on the front of Cardiff’s new Wales Millennium Centre opened in November 2004. She is one of the poets in the Poetry Book Society’s Next Generation promotion and recently won a major Creative Wales Award.
Gwyneth’s first non-fiction book Sunbathing in the Rain: A Cheerful Book on Depression (Flamingo 2002), was shortlisted for the Mind Book of the Year. Her second, Two in a Boat: A Marital Voyage (Fourth Estate, 2005) recounts a voyage made with her husband on a small boat from Cardiff to North Africa and is published in the UK and the US. It was long-listed for the Wales Book of the Year 2006. She has written the libretti for two chamber operas for children - Redflight/Barcud and Dolffin - and an oratorio for five hundred voices, called The Most Beautiful Man from the Sea, performed in the Wales Millennium Centre in August 2005, commissioned and performed by the Welsh National Opera with amateur singers.
Gwyneth is a Fellow of the Welsh Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a NESTA Awardee (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts). In 2005 she was made Honorary Fellow of Cardiff University. In the past she spent three years in the US as a Harkness Fellow, where she studied at Harvard and the Graduate Writing Division of Columbia University. She was a documentary producer and director at BBC Wales and left the BBC to become a freelance writer. She was recently Writer in Residence at the School of Physics and Astronomy, Cardiff University and was awarded a Wellcome Trust Sciart Award.
The photograph of Gwyneth featured was taken by Tim Brett.
“…Felicitous, urbane, heartbreaking, the poems of Gwyneth Lewis form a universe whose planets use language for oxygen and thus are inhabitable…”
Joseph Brodsky, Nobel Laureate
“…True stars in poetry like Gwyneth Lewis always match brilliance with warmth. She is one to bet on…”
“…Undoubtedly the best book I have ever read about one person’s experience of depression…”
Dorothy Rowe on Sunbathing in the Rain
“…Funny, profound and moving… Don’t pack it away in the boat; take it home…”
Peter Nicholls on Two in a Boat: A Marital Rite of Passage, The Guardian
“…Lewis learns how the sea is an unanchored otherworld that tests everything that comes into its power… I have never read a better description of this process of discovery…”
"…Gwyneth Lewis has so many of the gifts required for good poetry: command of form, with improvisation enlivening tradition; supple rhythm; originality of subject-matter and the right eye to pin down detail; humour, both sardonic and direct; and; above all, commitment to human feeling…"
"…Her descriptive eye and innate formal intelligence merge into places to create truly magical poems, full of metaphysical mystery and spirit…"
Sonedau Redsa (Gomer, 1990)
Parables & Faxes (Bloodaxe Books, 1995)
Cyfrif Un ac Un yn Dri (Barddas, 1996)
Zero Gravity (Bloodaxe Books, 1998)
Y Llofrudd Iaith (Barddas, 1999)
Sunbathing in the Rain: A Cheerful Book on Depression (Flamingo, 2002)
Keeping Mum (Bloodaxe Books, 2003)
Tair mewn Un (Barddas, 2005)
Chaotic Angels (Bloodaxe, 2005)
Two in a Boat: A Marital Voyage (Fourth Estate, 2005)
A Hospital Odyssey (Bloodaxe, 2010)
The Meat Tree (Seren, 2010)
Sparrow Tree (Bloodaxe, 2011)
Two in a Boat: A Marital Voyage (Fourth Estate, 2005)
In her forties and recovering from a struggle with depression, Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis decided to trade in her landlubber life - a house in Cardiff and a responsible job at the BBC - for life aboard a small yacht with her husband Leighton, a former bosun with the Merchant Navy and now in his mid-sixties.
After buying a yacht - Jameeleh - and teaching themselves to sail it (a pocess not without its fair share of disasters, from psychotic seas off St Govan’s Head to a battle with buoys off Ballytcotton), Gwyneth and Leighton set out to cross the Atlantic. But Gwyneth’s seasickness and Leighton’s daily deterioration into Captain Bastard were not the only catastrophes with which they had to contend. This strange, stirring and often hilarious account of their voyage is as much of a beginner’s guide to sailing as it is a portrait of a marriage under pressure.
To purchase this title from gwales.com, please click on its front cover
Eligible Writers on Tour subjects offered:
1. Own work
2. Poetry in general
AGE RANGE: Age 8 to adults.
For poetry appearances, please e-mail email@example.com
Rogers, Coleridge & White
20 Powis Mews
Tel: 020 7221 3717
or to request an interview with Gwyneth Lewis please contact Lizzy Kingston 0208 307 4247 or email firstname.lastname@example.org