Lewis, Gwyneth, 1959-

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Lewis, Gwyneth, 1959-

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Other form(s) of name

  • Davies, Gwyneth Denver

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Description area

Dates of existence



Gwyneth Lewis is a poet and writer who was born in Cardiff in 1959. She writes in both Welsh and English. Brought up in a Welsh-speaking family, she was educated at Ysgol Gyfun Rhydfelen, Pontypridd, and studied English at Girton College, Cambridge, before spending three years in the USA studying creative writing as a Harkness Fellow at Harvard and Columbia universities, and then as a freelance writer in New York. She has also held temporary fellowships at the universities of Harvard (2008), Stanford (2009), Cambridge (2010), Manchester (2012) and Swansea (2012), and has a D.Phil. in English from Balliol College, Oxford.

Gwyneth Lewis's first collection of poems in Welsh appeared in 1977, and her first collection of poems in English was published as Parables and Faxes in 1995, since when her poetry in both languages has been published widely. Much of her work is concerned with the relationship between language, the self and its environment, and she often engages with scientific subjects as well as the arts. Her poems in English sometimes employ the techniques of Welsh-language composition, and her style is often direct, which she describes as 'telling things as they are'. Gwyneth Lewis has won many awards for her poetry in both languages, including the Crown at the 2012 National Eisteddfod, and she composed the inscription above the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff in 2004. She has been the Welsh language editor of Poetry Wales, and she is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a member of the Welsh Academy. In 2005, she was made the first National Poet of Wales.

Gwyneth Lewis’s prose writing can be very personal. She addressed her problems with depression and alcoholism in Sunbathing in the Rain, while Two in a Boat is an account of sailing a yacht with her husband, Leighton Denver Davies (a former bosun in the Merchant Navy) across the Atlantic to Africa.

As well as her creative literary work, Gwyneth Lewis has been employed as a book reviewer in New York, as a correspondent for Radio Wales in the USA and the Far East, and as a documentary producer and director for BBC Wales. In 2001, she was awarded a grant by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) to carry out research and sail to ports historically linked to Cardiff and its inhabitants. She has also been commissioned by the Welsh National Opera to compose musical librettos for performances by schools and amateur singers.



Legal status

Functions, occupations and activities

Poet and writer

Mandates/sources of authority

Gwyneth Lewis Papers (NLW); Gwyneth Lewis's website (viewed October 2016)

Internal structures/genealogy

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Authority record identifier

n 77015945

Institution identifier

Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = National Library of Wales

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Revised October 2016


  • English



Papers within Gwyneth Lewis's personal archive (NLW, Gwyneth Lewis Papers)

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  • Clipboard

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  • EAC

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