Emyr Humphreys at 100: Swansea University hosts symposium to celebrate the legacy of one of Wales’ most eminent writers

Swansea University’s Centre for Research into the English Literature and Language of Wales (CREW) will host a free one-day symposium and public lecture on Saturday 13 April on the literary and cultural legacy of Emyr Humphreys to mark the centenary of his birth.

Born in Prestatyn on 15 April 1919, Emyr Humphreys has published more than two dozen novels, including the prize-winning A Toy Epic and the magisterial Outside the House of Baal, which is widely regarded as the greatest Welsh novel of the twentieth century. He has also enjoyed a distinguished career spanning half a century as a poet, cultural historian, dramatist, and documentary film director.

Emyr Humphreys The Emyr Humphreys at 100 symposium, which takes place at Taliesin Create at Swansea University’s Singleton Park Campus, will feature insights from speakers including award-winning author, Tristan Hughes, and Professor M. Wynn Thomas, holder of the Emyr Humphreys Chair of Welsh Writing in English at Swansea University, who has written the first comprehensive and authoritative study of the life and work of Humphreys. An evening public lecture will be delivered at Cinema & Co by the acclaimed novelist Candida Clark, entitled: ‘A world woven by his voice’; Myth-maker, story-teller, formal innovator and bard: tracing the unique songline of Emyr Humphreys at 100’

The symposium will also include the launch of the Swansea University Emyr Humprhreys Archive, a newly-established archive based at the University.

Professor M. Wynn Thomas said: “Swansea University has been privileged to enjoy a thirty-year relationship with Emyr Humphreys. Having consented to be, along with Gillian Clarke and Seamus Heaney, a founding Patron of the Centre for Research into the English Literature of Wales he was subsequently one of the first distinguished individuals to be made an Honorary Fellow of the University. It is therefore highly fitting that we celebrate the hundredth birthday of Wales’s foremost novelist.”

Shards of Light, a new collection of poems by Humphreys, and Professor Thomas’s latest volume, Emyr Humphreys, both published by University of Wales Press, will be launched at the event.

Professor Kirsti Bohata, director of CREW and co-Chair of AWWE, said: “We are thrilled to be hosting these events in honour of Emyr Humphreys. It is exciting to see that Humphreys is capturing the academic and creative imaginations of several generations of academics and writer.  We are very grateful for the generous financial support we have received from the University, the Saunders Lewis Memorial Fund and the Learned Society of Wales.”


Emyr Humphreys at 100 symposium: 10am - 4.30pm at Taliesin Create, Swansea University, Singleton Park, SA2 8PP

Public lecture: 6pm - 7.45pm at Cinema & Co, 17 Castle St, Swansea SA1 1JF

Both symposium and public lecture are free, but registration via Eventbrite is essential.  

Symposium - register here

Lecture - register here