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Gwyneth Lewis

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Gwyneth is currently adapting her crime novel Y LLOFRUDD IAITH (‘The Language Murderer’) for television for Cwmni Da and is dramatising her narrative verse book A HOSPITAL ODYSSEY for BBC Radio 4. She is also adapting Philippa Davies’ novel THE GRITTIES as a film for Boom Pictures.

Gwyneth’s version of CLYTEMNESTRA ran at the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff in 2012 as their first production in their new building.

Gwyneth was appointed Wales’s first National Poet in 2005. She has published nine books of poetry in Welsh and English.

Gwyneth was a scholar at Girton College, Cambridge, where she was awarded a double first in English Literature. She also won the Laurie Hart Prize for outstanding intellectual work. She received a D.Phil in English from Oxford, having written a thesis on eighteenth-century literary forgery. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was a NESTA Awardee (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts). In 2005 she was made Honorary Fellow of Cardiff University and, in 2011, Honorary Fellow of University of Liverpool. From 2008-09, Gwyneth was the Mildred Londa Weisman Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard University and from 2009-10 Joint Sica/ Stanford Humanities Center Fellow in the Arts and Humanities at Stanford University. In 2010 she was elected the Mary Amelia Cummins Harvey Visiting Fellow Commoner at Girton College, Cambridge.

Her first collection in English, Parables & Faxes (Bloodaxe, 1995) won the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival Prize and was short listed for the Forward prize, as was her second, Zero Gravity (Bloodaxe, 1998). The BBC made a documentary of Zero Gravity, inspired by her astronaut cousin’s voyage to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. Y Llofrudd Iaith (“The Language Murderer”, Barddas, 2000), won the Welsh Arts Council Book of the Year Prize and Keeping Mum (Bloodaxe, 2003) was short listed for the same prize in 2004. Chaotic Angels (Bloodaxe, 2005) collects the first three volumes of poetry in English and Tair mewn Un (“Three in One”, Barddas, 2005) the first three in Welsh. A Hospital Odyssey (Bloodaxe, 2010) was selected a Times Book of the Year.

Gwyneth’s first non-fiction book Sunbathing in the Rain: A Cheerful Book on Depression (Flamingo 2002), was short listed for the Mind Book of the Year, was published in the US and translated into Dutch, Czech and Spanish. Her adaptation of the play for BBC Radio 4 won the Mental Health in the Media award. Her second book of non-fiction, Two in a Boat: A Marital Voyage (Fourth Estate, 2005) recounts a journey made with her husband on a small boat from Cardiff to North Africa and is also published in the US.

Gwyneth has written libretti for two chamber operas for children and an oratorio, The Most Beautiful Man from the Sea, based on a short story by Gabriel García Márquez. All were commissioned and performed by the Welsh National Opera.

In the past Gwyneth spent three years in the US as a Harkness Fellow, where she studied at Harvard University and the Graduate Writing Division of Columbia University in the City of New York. She was a television documentary producer and director at BBC Wales and left the BBC to become a freelance writer. In 2005 she was awarded a Wellcome Trust Sciart Award and a Creative Wales Award from the Arts Council of Wales. In 2006 she was Writer in Residence at the School of Physics and Astronomy, Cardiff University. Gwyneth’s second radio play, Stardust: A Love Story, an account of the particle physics in everyday life, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and drew an unusually large public response.

Gwyneth is currently under commission to the National Theatre of Wales.

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