Grahame Davies

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Grahame Davies
Born1964 (age 54–55)
Coedpoeth, Wales
Occupationpoet, author, editor and literary critic
EducationAnglia Ruskin University, Cambridge.
Cardiff University
Notable awardsLiterature Wales Bursary

Honorary D.Litt. Anglia Ruskin University
Ruth Howarth Literature Award
Honorary Research Fellowship, Cardiff University
2x Academi Bursary Awards
Fellowship of Goodenough College, London
Cerdd Deyrnged, National Eisteddfod of Wales
Longlist for Book of the Year
Welsh Arts Council Book of the Year
Winner, Stomp, National Eisteddfod of Wales
Welsh Arts Council Writer's Bursary Award
Harri Webb Memorial Poetry Prize

Vers Libre Prize at the National Eisteddfod of Wales

Grahame Davies (born 1964) is a poet, author, editor, literary critic and journalist. He was brought up in the former coal mining village of Coedpoeth near Wrexham in north east Wales.[1][2][3]


After gaining a degree in English Literature at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, he qualified as a journalist with the Thomson Organisation at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. In 1997, he was awarded a doctorate by the University of Wales for his study, written in Welsh, of the work of R.S.Thomas, Saunders Lewis, T.S. Eliot and Simone Weil, whom he identified as part of an anti-modern trend in Western culture in the 20th Century.[4]


His career as a journalist and producer has brought him a number of Welsh and UK industry awards. In 1997, his first volume of poetry, Adennill Tir, (Barddas,) a book arising from the 10 years he spent in Merthyr Tydfil in the south Wales Valleys, won the Harri Webb Memorial Prize.[5]

In 1999, his study of Wales and the anti-modern movement, Sefyll yn y Bwlch (University of Wales Press, 1999), the product of his doctoral research, was published. It went "straight to the front rank of criticism of our day," according to the critic Dr Dafydd Glyn Jones (Barn), and was described as "a signal book" by the critic Dr Angharad Price (New Welsh Review). In 2000, he co-edited Oxygen, (Seren) a bilingual anthology of Welsh poets aged under 45.[6]

In 2001, his second volume of poetry, Cadwyni Rhyddid (Barddas), appeared. It went to a second edition within a few months of publication, won the Wales Arts Council's 2002 Book of the Year award at the Hay on Wye Festival of Literature, together with a prize of £3,000. In 2002, Seren Press published his literary anthology, The Chosen People, which details the relationship of the Welsh and the Jewish people as reflected in literature.[7] [8]

Also in 2002, he edited a 160-page edition of the Bulgarian literary magazine Plamak (“Flame”) dedicated to Welsh literature, the first such anthology of Welsh writing in the Balkans. In 2002 Ffiniau/Borders appeared from Gomer press, a bilingual volume of poetry jointly with Elin ap Hywel.[9][10]

In 2003, he chaired the panel of judges for the Welsh Book of the Year Awards. The first prize of £5,000 went to Jerry Hunter's Llwch Cenhedloedd.[11] In 2004 his first novel Rhaid i Bopeth Newid was published by Gomer. It was longlisted for the £10,000 Book of the Year prize, 2005, and was described by Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas in the Welsh poetry periodical Taliesin as 'the first post-national novel.' Also in 2004, his selection of Welsh poetry in Asturian translation appeared in Spain from Kêr ar Mor press under the title Nel país del borrina (The Country of the Clouds). In 2005, his selection of Welsh poetry in Galician translation appeared under the title of No país de la brétema from VTP Editorial.[12]

He is a Board member of the Welsh Academi and was the Welsh language editor of Poetry Wales magazine for several years until 2002. He won the vers libre prize in the National Eisteddfod in 1994, the sonnet prize in 2004 and the Welsh Academi's Stomp competition in 2001. His work has been translated into several languages, including English, German, Latvian, Maltese, Bulgarian, Polish, Asturian and Galician, and is widely anthologised, appearing in publications as diverse as The Times, The Times Literary Supplement, Poetry London, the Literary Review in America, and the Yearbook of Welsh Writing in English.[13]

He is a frequent contributor of articles and reviews to journals such as Poetry Wales, Barn, Taliesin, Planet and New Welsh Review, and his poetry is on the syllabus for school pupils in Wales. He is a regular columnist with Barddas. He reads regularly at festivals and venues, including the Berlin Poesiefestival, the National Eisteddfod, the Llangollen International Eisteddfod, several times at the Hay on Wye Festival of Literature and at the Royal Festival Hall in London. He has represented Wales at literary events in Europe, United States and Canada, and frequently appears on television and radio. As a literary critic he has chaired the panel of judges for the £10,000 2004 Book of the Year Award, and has also adjudicated other major competitions such as the John Tripp Award for Spoken Poetry and the National Eisteddfod's 2006 Literary Medal Competition. He is a Fellow of Goodenough College in London and an Honorary Research Fellow in Cardiff University.[14]

Selected publications[edit]

Adennill Tir (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas, 1997)
Meddwl a’r Dychymyg Cymreig, Y: Sefyll yn y Bwlch: Cymru a’r Mudiad Gwrth-Fodern – Astudiaeth o Waith T.S. Eliot, Simone Weil, Saunders Lewis ac R.S. Thomas (University of Wales Press, 1999)
Cadwyni Rhyddid (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas, 2002)
Rhaid i Bopeth Newid (Gwasg Gomer, 2004)
Achos (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas, 2005)
Everything Must Change (Seren Press, 2007)
Real Wrexham (Seren Press, 2007)[15]

Contributed to:
Oxygen – Beirdd Newydd o Gymru / New Poets from Wales (editor with Amy Wack) (Seren Press, 2000)
Trosiadau / Translations: Ffiniau / Borders (with Elin ap Hywel) (Gwasg Gomer, 2002)
The Chosen People- Wales and the Jews (editor) (Seren Press, 2002)
The Big Book of Cardiff (edited with Peter Finch) (Seren Press, 2005)
Gwyl Y Blaidd: The Festival of the Wolf (co-editor) (Parthian, 2006)
Poems of Love and Longing (contributor) (Pont, 2008)[16]