Page last updated at 09:42 GMT, Sunday, 15 March 2009

Poets' 'Dylan' Atlantic crossing

Dylan Thomas
Dylan Thomas led the way going to America fifty years ago

Five Welsh writers are following in the footsteps of Dylan Thomas by heading to the US to entertain audiences there.

Swansea-born Thomas famously made the transatlantic crossing in the 1950s giving lectures and reading his poetry.

Today's writers are travelling to Washington DC where Wales will be the guest nation of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in June 2009.

The week-long series of literary events has been organised as a taster showcasing what Wales has to offer.

The writers - Tom Anderson, Catrin Dafydd, Fflur Dafydd, Eurig Salisbury and Owen Sheers - will perform and discuss their work at venues including Marymount University Campus Cafe and the Writers' Center in Bethesda.

They will also lead workshops and discuss their work with students at three universities.

The inheritors of Dylan Thomas have a lot to live up to but, being Welsh, they'll do it with ease
Peter Finch, Academi

The five will combine poetry, prose and music and some of their work will be read in Welsh as well as English.

The Welsh-US literary week has been organised by Academi, the Welsh national literature promotion agency, with support from the Welsh Assembly Government.

Academi chief executive Peter Finch said: "The links between Wales and the US have a long history.

"Academi is delighted to have a role in creating new connections today.

"Following in the footsteps of Dylan Thomas, five young Welsh writers will cross the Atlantic for a week of workshops, readings, exchange and debate.

"What better time to glance at the state of these two nations and their literatures. The inheritors of Dylan Thomas have a lot to live up to but, being Welsh, they'll do it with ease."

First Minister Rhodri Morgan in Washington DC
Rhodri Morgan launched Wales' Smithsonian programme this month

First Minister Rhodri Morgan launched Wales' programme in the 2009 Smithsonian Folklore Festival earlier in March.

He said an exciting programme will await visitors to the Wales area of the festival. Some 100 participants will represent Wales at the event, on an area the size of four football pitches.

He said: "This is a unique and fantastic opportunity to promote Wales in Washington at a time when the American people are taking a new path, with a new president."

The young writers' visit to the US this week is the first of a range of ancillary programmes connected to the Smithsonian appearance.

Other events planned include a lecture and discussion on the famous Welsh art collectors the Davies sisters, a ceramics exhibition, and activities engaging young people in opera.

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