Page last updated at 17:29 GMT, Sunday, 25 October 2009

New mural launches Dylan festival

Dylan Thomas mural
The new mural of Dylan Thomas by local spray paint artist Mark Hughes

Swansea is gearing up for two weeks of words, music and street entertainment to celebrate its most famous son.

The city's Dylan Thomas Festival, from 26 October to 9 November, is marking its 12th year.

The event includes the entertainment-based Fringe Festival at Swansea Metropolitan University and another based at Thomas's restored family home.

This year's festival is dedicated to Aeronwy Thomas Ellis, his daughter, who died, aged 66, in July.

The fortnight focuses not only on Thomas's work, but that of his friends, contemporaries and those inspired by him.

Contributors include the poet Dannie Abse, who attended one of Thomas's last UK readings, and former Catatonia front-woman Cerys Matthews.

It includes a play by Gwynne Edwards looking at the life of Richard Burton, who asked to be buried with a copy of Thomas' Collected Poems, which won a four-star review at the Edinburgh Fringe.

It also includes the posthumous launch of Aeronwy Thomas Ellis's long-anticipated memoir My Father's Places, a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week.

Aeronwy Thomas Ellis at the Dylan Thomas Centre
Aeronwy Thomas Ellis championed her father's work throughout her life

The annual lecture by Thomas scholar and Swansea poet John Goodby focuses on the poem In Country Sleep which Thomas wrote for his daughter.

The fringe festival, which runs until 8 November, was launched in 2005 to showcase up and coming talent in the performing arts from south west Wales as well as acts from further afield.

Street party

This year's event began with the unveiling on Saturday of spray paint artist Mark Hughes' specially commissioned work.

Among the performances are Alistair McGowan at the Grand Theatre on 5 November, The Vagina Monologues, starring Lesley Joseph and Lisa Riley, at the Grand Theatre on 2 November, and comedians Craig Campbell and Geoff Whiting at Swansea Met's Townhill campus on 27 October.

Dylan Down the Ups is based around 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, in the Uplands area of the city, where Thomas was born.

The event began on Sunday with a mass gathering in Cwmdonkin Park - across the road from the house - of people called Dylan in a bid to set a Guinness world record.

A street party is held in the Uplands on Tuesday, the 95th anniversary of Thomas's birth.

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