Dylan Thomas Digitised/New Writing Prize – Poetry News Roundup October 30th

Our final poetry round-up of the week takes a look at the digitising of the Dylan Thomas archives and the winners of this year’s Queen Mary Wasafiri Writing Prize.

International Collection of Dylan Thomas Goes Digital

Notebooks, photographs, and manuscripts that chronicle the life of Dylan Thomas the Welsh poet will soon be available to view online as part of a digital archive.

The project is a collaboration between the Dylan Thomas Trust, Swansea University and the Harry Ransom Centre at the University of Texas, and was announced on the anniversary of the poet’s birth. The Harry Ransom Centre holds the largest collection of Thomas material in the world.

The archive will include, amongst other works, the poet’s handwritten notes that he made for his radio play “Under Milk Wood” and it is hoped that all the necessary work required to get everything ready will be completed by the end of 2021.

The initiative has been planned with the idea of deepening people’s understanding of the creative process that Dylan Thomas followed and to give new insights into his poetry and writing.

In addition to the handwritten notes for “Under Milk Wood,” there are also financial records, letters, and proofs that belonged to the poet, who was born in Swansea and died in New York City in 1953. A typed version of “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” one of his most famous poems will also be part of the project.

Hannah Ellis, who is the manager of the Dylan Thomas Trust, and also the poet’s granddaughter, said that she hopes the digitalised archive will allow people to understand better the meticulous detail that Thomas put into his work.

Swansea University owns what is referred to as the “lost” fifth notebook of Thomas’s work alongside a number of rare proof copies of some of his other work. They also host the annual Dylan Thomas Prize, considered by many to be the most prestigious international prize for young writers.

2020 Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize

The winners of this year’s Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize have been announced and include writers from Turkey, India, and Barbados.

The team of judges included a life writing judge, a fiction judge, and a poetry judge. The winners of each category were awarded a cash prize of £1000.

Wasafiri is based at the Queen Mary University in London and is the leading magazine looking at international contemporary writing. The prize is now in its 11th year.

There are no limits when it comes to the entries for the prize in respect of nationality, background age or gender. However, the entries do need to from writers who have not yet published a complete work in their preferred genre. . This year, there were a record number of entries for the competition with over 1600 entries received from 64 different countries. This is an increase of over 50% on previous years.

The winners will also receive publishing and mentoring deals as well as the cash prizes.

The poetry winner is Yasmine Seale, who is from Turkey. Her poem “Conventional Wisdom” looks at an Arabic saying that can be translated in 20 different ways and the various meanings.

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