Gwyneth Lewis

Gwyneth Lewis. Photo Tim Brett

Last updated: 02 November 2010

Gwyneth Lewis was the inaugural National Poet of Wales and wrote the poetry that proudly emblazons the front of the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay. (Photo courtesy of Tim Brett.)

Lewis was born in Cardiff in 1959, attended a bilingual school in Pontypridd and studied English at Cambridge University, and later Harvard and Columbia. She writes in both Welsh, her first language, and in English.

Her first collection in English, Parables & Faxes, won the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival Prize and was shortlisted for the Forward Poetry Prize for best first collection. Her second collection, Zero Gravity, was shortlisted for the Forward Poetry Prize for best poetry collection of the year.

Y Llofrudd Iaith (2000) won the Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year Award.

In 2002 she published her first non-fiction book, Sunbathing in the Rain, which chronicles her ongoing battle with depression.

Lewis composed the poetry that adorns the front of the Wales Millennium Centre in huge lettering: Creu Gwir fel Gwydr o Ffwrnais Awen / In these Stones Horizons Sing.

The Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay. Photo: John Evans

The Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay. Photo: John Evans.

Lewis became the inaugural National Poet of Wales in 2005, handing the mantle over to Gwyn Thomas in 2006.

She is also a librettist, and has written two chamber operas for children and an oratorio, The Most Beautiful Man from the Sea.

In 2010 Lewis was given a Society of Authors Cholmondeley Award recognizing a body of work and achievement of distinction. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a Vice President of the Poetry Society and an Honorary Fellow of Cardiff University.

Lewis has recently been involved with Seren's series of books, New Stories from the Mabinogion, in which she retells the fourth branch of the Mabinogion in her novel The Meat Tree.

Selected bibliography

  • Sonedau Redsa a Cherddi Eraill (1990)
  • Parables & Faxes (1995)
  • Cyfrif Un Ac Un yn Dri (1996)
  • Zero Gravity (1998)
  • Y Llofrudd Iaith (2000)
  • Sunbathing in the Rain: A Cheerful Book on Depression (2002)
  • Keeping Mum (2003)
  • Chaotic Angels: poems in English (2005)
  • Two In A Boat: A Marital Rite of Passage (2005)
  • A Hospital Odyssey (2010)
  • The Meat Tree (2010)

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