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Alun Lewis Centenary Celebrations

To mark the 100 year anniversary of the birth of Alun Lewis, one of the most significant Welsh writers of the 20th Century, a series of events will take place across Wales. Born on 1 July 1915 in Cwmaman, Alun Lewis became the foremost poet and prose writer of the Second World War. Rooted in the South Wales valleys from his childhood to his later profession as teacher in Lewis School, Pengam, Lewis went on to travel the world, conducting military service in India and Burma during the Second World War. These experiences profoundly shaped his work, leading to his reputation as one of the most important war writers of his time.


Planned Events Include:


Gwyn Jones Annual Lecture at the Hay Festival on 26 May. A drinks reception at noon, funded by the Welsh Books Council and Literature Wales, to be followed by a discussion between Owen Sheers, Juliet Aykroyd and John Pikoulis, leading to Gillian Clarke’s Gwyn Jones lecture entitled, ‘Love and War’.

Alun Lewis Symposium entitled On Embarkation: The Alun Lewis Centenary Symposium organised by CREW Swansea University on 27 June in Cwmaman Institute. 

An exhibition of local school children’s work at Aberdare Museum on 27 June.

Local celebrations and plaque unveiling in Cwmaman, funded by the Royal Welsh Regiment on 1 July, as well as re-dedications of the Lewis bronze in Aberdare Library; an address by Gillian Clarke, and a reading of a Lewis poem by Brigadier Philip Napier along with contributions by local schools.

Rhondda Heritage Park History Society Talk with Alun Lewis biographer Dr John Pikoulis. The hour lecture will take place on 10 July at 2pm at the Rhondda Heritage Park Museum.

Cross-art form workshops at Cowbridge and Lewis School, sponsored by Literature Wales, with musician Rufus Mufasa and poet Patrick Jones, to introduce Alun Lewis’ work to a new generation.


Book launches. The launch of Alun, Gweno and Freda will be held on 16 July and the launch of Morlais on 22 July. Both will be held at The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. The events are organised jointly by National Library of Wales and Seren Books.


Alun Lewis’ Cwmaman Literary Tour on Saturday 19 September will takes place from 9.30 am – 5.30 pm in Cwmaman, Aberdare. Led by Dr John Pikoulis, the tour will explore the places in Cwmaman which churned through the poet’s psyche, flourishing in prose and poetry, but also manifesting in the depression which featured throughout his life. Ticket price:£27.00 (£25.00)Tea/coffee and lunch included.


Aberystwyth University Conference on Lewis and War Poetry in October.


The Friends of the Welsh Books Council are hosting a meeting on Alun Lewis in Aberdare in October, led by Professor M Wynn Thomas and Dr John Pikoulis.