Grahame Davies:(cy)
Grahame Davies:(en)










(August 2016)

The Shadows of WarGrahame Davies, by John Briggs
Premiere for new Paul Mealor oratorio

National sonnet prize
Eisteddfod competition win

International Middle East conference
Keynote speech on Wales and Islam

More news
Further details of recent activities.


Grahame Davies

Winner of Wales Arts Council's Book of the Year Award

Grahame Davies is a Welsh poet, author and lyricist, who has won numerous prizes, including the Wales Book of the Year Award.

He is the author of 17 books in Welsh and English, including: The Chosen People, a study of the relationship of the Welsh and Jewish peoples; The Dragon and the Crescent, a study of Wales and Islam; a novel, Everything Must Change, about the French philosopher Simone Weil, and the popular work of psychogeography, Real Wrexham.

A native of Wrexham, now based in Cardiff and London, he has a degree in English from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, and a PhD from Cardiff University, where he was an honorary fellow in the department of religious studies.

He has been awarded an honorary D.Litt from Anglia Ruskin University, and is a Fellow and Governor of Goodenough College, London. He travels internationally as a reader and lecturer. His poetry has been translated into many languages and set to music by many prominent composers.


Grahame Davies was born in 1964 and brought up in the former coal mining village of Coedpoeth near Wrexham in north east Wales.

After gaining a degree in English Literature at CCAT (now Anglia Ruskin University) Cambridge, he qualified as a journalist with the Thomson Organisation and since 1986 worked in the print, broadcast and online media, winning a number of Welsh and UK industry awards. He now divides his time between Cardiff and London.

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.

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.

In 1998, he was second to Emyr Lewis in the competition for the National Eisteddfod Crown.

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.

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.

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.

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.'

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.

In 2005, Seren published The Big Book of Cardiff, an anthology of contemporary writing about Cardiff, co-edited by Peter Finch and Grahame Davies.

Also in 2005, his third volume of original Welsh-language poetry appeared from Barddas, under the title Achos (Cause).

In 2006, his anthology of work by and about refugees and asylum seekers in Wales, Gwyl y Blaidd / Festival of the Wolf, appeared from Parthian/Hafan, edited jointly with Tom Cheesman and Sylvie Hoffman.

In 2007, Seren published Everything Must Change, an English-language novel based on Rhaid i Bopeth Newid.

Also in 2007, Seren published Real Wrexham, a work of psychogeography in the Real series edited by Peter Finch. It was reprinted in 2009.

His extensive study of the relationship between the Welsh people and Islam as reflected in literature, The Dragon and the Crescent, appeared from Seren in 2011.

His first full-length book of poetry in English, Lightning Under the Sea, appeared from Seren in 2012.

In 2013, a bilingual book of poems about Welsh lakes, rivers, shorelines and waterfalls, entitled, Alcemi Dwr / Alchemy of Water, was published by Gomer Press, featuring the poems of Grahame Daves and Tony Curtis and the photographs of Mari Owen and Carl Ryan.

Also in 2013, he was one of eleven contributors to Poems for R.S. A centenary Celebration (Hay Festival Press) and one of twelve contributors to a book of essays, Encounters With R.S. (H'mm Foundation).

In 2014, with Menna Elfyn, he judged the Dylan Thomas International Poetry Award, a £2,000 prize.

In 2014, the academic Jon Anderson wrote a chapter on Grahame Davies's work, 'Durability and change: eternity and belonging in the plots of Grahame Davies' in his book Page and Place: Ongoing Compositions of Plot, (Rodopi; Amsterdam/New York, 2014)

His work has been translated into numerous languages, including English, German, Italian, Latvian, Maltese, Bulgarian, Polish, Asturian, Galician, and Guglienesano, has appeared in publications as diverse as The Times, The Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian, Poetry London, the Literary Review in America, Orbis (#136 Spring 2006), Yearbook of Welsh Writing in English, Absinthe (Michigan, USA, 2007), Kalliope (Germany, 2009), Poetry Review, and Everyman's Library Pocket Poets series Villanelles (2012) has been widely anthologised and is also on the education syllabus in Wales. He was a regular columnist with Barddas until 2012 and is a frequent contributor of articles and reviews to journals such as Poetry Wales, Barn, Taliesin, Planet and New Welsh Review. He regularly reads and lectures in the UK and worldwide, frequently appears on television and radio, has completed numerous high-profile poetry commissions, and collaborates extensively with musical and visual artists. Fuller details are below.


Alcemi Dwr / Alchemy of Water (Gomer, 2013)

Lightning Beneath the Sea (Seren, 2012).

The Dragon and the Crescent (Seren, 2011).

Real Wrexham (Seren, 2007) Reprinted 2009.

Everything Must Change (Seren, 2007).

Gwyl y Blaidd / Festival of the Wolf, Eds. Tom Cheesman, Grahame Davies and Sylvie Hoffman (Parthian/Hafan, 2006).

Achos, (Barddas, 2005).

The Big Book of Cardiff, Eds. Peter Finch & Grahame Davies (Seren, 2005).

Rhaid i Bopeth Newid, (Gomer, 2004).

Nel país de la borrina. (VTP Editorial, 2004).

No país da brétema (VTP Editorial, 2004).

Ffiniau/Borders, (Gomer, 2002).

The Chosen People, (Seren, 2002).

Cadwyni Rhyddid, (Barddas, 2001).

Oxygen, (Seren, 2000).

Sefyll yn y Bwlch, (University of Wales Press, 1999).

Adennill Tir, (Barddas, 1997).


Major Awards, Scholarships etc:

  • 2016: Sonnet prize, National Eisteddfod of Wales
  • 2011: Literature Wales Bursary for poetry project.
  • 2010: Honorary D.Litt. Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge
  • 2009: Ruth Howarth Literature Award for Real Wrexham
  • 2008: Honorary Research Fellowship, Cardiff University.
  • 2007: Academi Bursary Award for Wales and the Muslims.
  • 2004: Academi Bursary Award for Everything Must Change
  • 2004: Fellowship of Goodenough College, London.
  • 2004: Poem of tribute, National Eisteddfod of Wales.
  • 2004: Longlist for Book of the Year award for Rhaid i Bopeth Newid
  • 2002: Welsh Arts Council Book of the Year Award for Cadwyni Rhyddid.
  • 2001: Winner, Stomp Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Dinbych, Yr Academi.
  • 1998: Welsh Arts Council Writer's Bursary Award for Wales and the Jews.
  • 1997: Harri Webb Memorial Poetry Prize for Adennill Tir.
  • 1994: Vers Libre Prize at National Eisteddfod of Wales.

Major Commissions, Residencies, Visits, Festivals, Lectures.

  • 2016 Edge Festival, Solva, Pembrokeshire
  • 2016 Llangwm Festival, Pembrokeshire
  • 2016 Keynote speech at opening of international conference of the British Institute of Middle Eastern Studies, Lampeter.
  • 2016: Chairing British Council discussion on Shakespeare and Wales at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, with Gwyneth Lewis and Rakie Ayola.
  • 2016: Reading with Kevin Crossley Holland, Temenos Academy, Lincoln Centre, London.
  • 2014: Reading with Kevin Crossley Holland, Pembroke College, Cambridge Festival of Ideas
  • 2014: 'Meddwl' philosophy conference, Aberystwyth
  • 2014: Poem for Sacred Site and Sound Festival, Tintern.
  • 2013: Poem for 'Ode to Samarkand' festival, Uzbekistan.
  • 2013: Cambridge Festival of Ideas.
  • 2013: Chelmsford Festival of Ideas.
  • 2013: PENfro Literary Festival, Pembrokeshire.
  • 2013: Hay Festival, launch of Alchemy of Water and R.S.Thomas centenary event
  • 2012: Guardian Poem of the Week, 'Departed'.
  • 2011: Oxfam Poetry series, London.
  • 2011: Cambridge Festival of Ideas, Panel discussion on mythology.
  • 2011: Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, Aberystwyth, 'The Crescent and the Welsh.'
  • 2011: Cambridge Muslim College; 'Wales and Islam'.
  • 2011: Carnhuanawc Lecture; 'Wales and Islam': Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru.
  • 2011: Lecture on Bryan Martin Davies with Elin ap Hywel, Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru
  • 2011: BBC Wales All Things Considered programme.
  • 2011: Hay Festival, session on The Dragon and the Crescent
  • 2010: 'On the Border' series session with John Hegley at Chepstow.
  • 2010: Half-hour BBC Radio Four Great Lives programme about Simone Weil, with Eleanor Bron.
  • 2009: North American tour: readings and artistic collaborations in Pennsylvania, Vermont and New York. Wales Arts International.
  • 2009: Greenbelt Festival, Cheltenham, UK.
  • 2009: Harvard University, U.S.A. Lecture.
  • 2008: Readings in Guglionesi, Italy.
  • 2008: Five literary readings in Argentina.
  • 2007: North American tour: readings and launch of Everything Must Change in Delta, Pennsylvania; Westport, Connecticut, and Chrysler Building, New York, and lecture at Yale University, Massachussetts. Wales Arts International.
  • 2007: Memorial Poem for Children's Commissioner for Wales.
  • 2007: Hay on Wye Festival of Literature, Readings. Launch of 'Poets' Portraits' exhibition.
  • 2007. Imperial College, London. Lecture.
  • 2007: Artist in Residence in Summer school of the British Centre for Literary Translation, University of East Anglia, Norwich.
  • 2007: Subject of half-hour BBC Wales All Things Considered programme
  • 2006: Delta, Pennsylvania. Readings
  • 2006. Cape Town, South Africa. University of the Western Cape. Lecture.
  • 2005: Madrid, Spain. Launch of La Pais de la Borrina. British Council.
  • 2005: Canu'n Rhydd conference, Llandudno, Academi. Readings and panel.
  • 2005. Limerick University, Ireland. Lecture.
  • 2004: Poesiefestival, Berlin. Translation workshops and readings. British Council / Welsh Literature Abroad
  • 2004: Israel and Palestine. Fact-finding visit. Israeli Foreign Ministry.
  • 2004: Greenbelt Arts Festival, Cheltenham. Readings and workshops.
  • 2004: NAASWCH Conference, Morgantown, WV, USA. Lectures.
  • 2004. Subject of half-hour Dechrau Canu Dechrau Canmol programme
  • 2003: Commission by Academi for Great Cardiff Poem
  • 2003; Commission by HRH Prince of Wales for poem for Llangollen Eisteddfod.
  • 2003: Edmonton, Canada. Lecture and readings at 'Culture and the State' conference. British Council.
  • 2002: Sofia, Bulgaria. Readings and launch of Plamak Welsh edition. British Council.
  • 2002: Lublin, Poland. Lecture. British Council.
  • 2002: NAASWCH conference, Syracuse, NY. U.S.A. Two lectures.
  • 2002: College of William and Mary, Williamsburg. U.S.A. Lecture.
  • 2002: Commission by Wales Millennium Centre for poem for laying of foundation stone.
  • 2002. Hay on Wye Festival of Literature, Readings.
  • 2001: Argentina, British Council.
  • 2001: European Round Table on Poetry, Riga, Latvia. Readings. British Council.
  • 2000: Wexford, Ireland. Reading. Academi.
  • 2000: Royal Festival Hall, London. Reading.

Musical collaborations:

  • 2016 'The Shadows of War', by Paul Mealor, Welsh premiere at St David's Hall, Cardiff, with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Owain Arwel Hughes.
  • 2016 Words for 'The Shadows of War', a new commission by Paul Mealor to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, Jam on the Marsh Festival, New Romney, Kent, with the London Mozart Players and the Mousai Singers.
  • 2016 Words for 'Wrth Ddwr a Thân / By Water and Fire', composed by Paul Mealor for the opening of the Fifth National Assembly for Wales by Her Majesty The Queen, Y Senedd, Cardiff, June 7, 2016.
  • 2016 Words for section of new choral work 'Jubilate Deo' by Paul Mealor for The Distinguished Concerts Orchestra and Distinguished Concerts Singers International, conducted by the Grammy-nominated Dr James Jordan, at Carnegie Hall, New York.
  • 2016 Words for new choral work by Paul Carroll for the 90th Birthday of Her Majesty The Queen for the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir.
  • 2015 Settings of 'Weather Forecast', 'Waiting' and 'Propempticon' by composer Celia Harper, performed by mezzo soprano Claire Bradshaw and violinist David Juritz at Burton Bradstock Festival in Dorset
  • 2014: Words for 'Spirit of Hope' by Paul Mealor to mark 20 years of democracy in South Africa, premiered in Cape Town in April with Only Kids Aloud and Bryn Terfel.
  • 2013: Words for 'A Welsh Prayer' by Paul Mealor to mark the 65th birthday of HRH The Prince of Wales, at North Wales Music Festival, St Asaph.
  • 2013: 'When you have to leave"' set to music by Canadian singer-songwriter Kevin Hutchings for the album, Shadows in the Light.
  • 2012: Words for 'The Hero's Journey', a new choral work by Sir Karl Jenkins, performed by a 500-voice male choir at Royal Festival Hall, London, on July 7, 2012, and a 1,000-voice choir at the Royal Albert Hall, London, on October 13, 2012.
  • 2012: Words for multi-media project about Gelligaer Common with visual artist Gigi Jones, composer Mervyn Burtch and poet Tony Curtis.
  • 2011: Words for part of the score by Sir Karl Jenkins for the BBC Wales television history series, The Story of Wales.
  • 2011: Words for 'Benedictus' in Celtic Mass by U.S. choral and orchestral composer Ben Allaway
  • 2010: 'Homecoming' set to music by Canadian singer-songwriter Kevin Hutchings for the album, Light to Shine.
  • 2010: Words based on sacred literature from several religions for a new setting of the Gloria by Sir Karl Jenkins, performed for the first time in the Royal Albert Hall, London, July 11, 2010.
  • 2009 English words for a recording of Sir Karl Jenkins' 'Cantilena' by the pop star Rhydian for the album O Fortuna on the Syco Label.
  • 2009: Words for a new commissioned choral work by Sir Karl Jenkins, 'Ysbrydoliaeth' ('Inspiration') performed at the Wales Millennium Centre, November 14.
  • 2009: Words for 'O Beata Trinitas' for Sir Karl Jenkins to mark university status of Trinity College, Carmarthen.
  • 2009 Several poems set to music for album of Kevin Hutchings, Canada, On the Bridge You Were Burning.
  • 2008: Commission to provide words and translations for a new setting of the Stabat Mater by Sir Karl Jenkins as part of the events for European City of Culture, Liverpool, 2008. Published on album Stabat Mater (EMI Classics).
  • 2008: Lyrics for a number of songs for the album Adnodau gyda Blodau for the rock band Catsgam.
  • 2007: Welsh words for a new setting of the Largo from the New World Symphony by Dvorak, and for a new setting of 'Cantilena', by Sir Karl Jenkins on album This Land of Ours (EMI Classics).
  • 2007: Panellist on day school on the libretto, for Academi and Music Theatre Wales.
  • 2006: Welsh translation of 'The Mystics' performed by Dame Kiri te Kanawa on the Karl Jenkins album Kiri Sings Karl. (EMI Classics).
  • 2006: Poems set to music by rock band Malarki on album Malarki.
  • 2005: Sir Karl Jenkins album, Requiem, (EMI Classics), including a setting of the poem 'Llwyd', reaches Number One in the classical charts.
  • 2005: Commission from Opus and Barcud Derwen for opera libretto Taliesin for Sir Karl Jenkins.

Visual and public art collaborations

  • 2016: Work on public poetry for artworks by sculptor Rebecca Gouldson in Merthyr Tydfil
  • 2014: Poem for painting by Roy Guy commemorating Prince of Wales Colliery disaster, Newbridge Memorial Hall
  • 2012: Words for sculptures on artwork trail in Brecon to mark the year of the 2012 Olympics
  • 2011 Words for sculptures by Adam Williamson along Green Journeys cycle path at Maesteg.
  • 2009 Commission for Welsh words for statue of Ivor Novello at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff.
  • 2008 Poems are incorporated into sculptured benches as part of redevelopment of Merthyr Tydfil town centre.
  • 2008: Collaboration with the visual artist Helen Stiff for Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru.
  • 2006.Poem commissioned by the sculptor Nigel Talbot and included in his artwork as part of his exhibition Salvage..
  • 2006: A portrait of Grahame Davies by Lorraine Bewsey is one of 20 pictures in her exhibition, Portreadau'r Beirdd / Poets' Portraits.
  • 2004: Poems included on sculptures by Nigel Talbot at several locations on the Taff Trail, at Abercynon, Aberfan, Cefn Coed y Cymmer.

Membership of organisations

  • 2014 - Vice-President Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.
  • 2013 - Governor, Goodenough College.
  • 2011-2012: Board of Literature Wales.
  • 2008-2011: Honorary research fellowship, Cardiff University.
  • 2007-2012: National Library of Wales Advisory Board
  • 2006-2009: Board of Displaced People in Action.
  • 2006- Society of Authors
  • 2005-2011: Board of the Academi
  • 2004- Fellowship of Goodenough College, London.
  • 2003-2008: Management committee of Cyfrwng, the media journal in Wales
  • 2002- Associate Lecturer, Creative Writing, Welsh Department, Cardiff University.
  • 2002-2012 BAFTA Cymru
  • 2002-2006 Standing Liturgical Advisory Committee of the Church in Wales
  • 2001-2006 External Examiner, Media and Communication Course, MA and BA, University of Wales, Bangor
  • 1997: Membership of the Welsh Academi.
  • 1997-2002 Welsh-language Editor Poetry Wales magazine.


  • 2015: Undercurrents Festival, Caerphilly county.
  • 2014: Undercurrents Festival, Caerphilly county.
  • 2014: Dylan Thomas International Poetry Award.
  • 2011: Literature Medal at National Eisteddfod.
  • 2011: Chair competition (learners) at National Eisteddfod.
  • 2007: John Tripp Award for Spoken Poetry, Cardiff round.
  • 2007: Wrexham Festival Poetry Competition, Welsh and English.
  • 2006: Literature Medal at National Eisteddfod.
  • 2005: Bafta Cymru judging panel: Best Magazine/Feature Programme
  • 2005: Wrexham Festival Poetry Competition, Welsh and English.
  • 2004: Chair of Welsh-language judging panel for Book of the Year Award.
  • 2003: John Tripp Award for Spoken Poetry
  • 2002: Eisteddfod Rhyng-Golegol, Free verse competitions.

Note: All Grahame Davies's travel and domestic and office energy use is carbon-balanced via the Woodland Trust.



Grahame Davies








Website created by