An aerial view of Singleton Campus and the bay opposite
Professor Daniel Williams

Professor Daniel Williams

Personal Chair, English Literature

Welsh language proficiency

Fluent Welsh Speaker
Office - 212
Second Floor
Keir Hardie Building
Singleton Campus
Available For Postgraduate Supervision


Professor Daniel Gwydion Williams is a cultural critic and one of Wales’ leading public intellectuals. His research interests range from the 19th century to the present day and encompass Welsh language and English language literatures on both sides of the Atlantic. These interests are linked by a concern with questions of nationalism, ethnicity and identity.

Professor Williams is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales and an Elected Fellow of the Welsh Academy. He is Director of the Richard Burton Centre for the Study of Wales and has served as President of NAASWCH (The North American Association for the Study of Welsh Culture and History). He spent 2012 in Cambridge, Massachusetts as a Research Fellow at Harvard University’s Department of Celtic Languages and Literatures, funded by the Leverhulme Trust. Since 2016 he has been Chair of the Grants Awarding Panel of the Welsh Books Council.

Daniel Williams was born in Aberystwyth in 1972 and educated at Ysgol Gymraeg Aberystwyth and Ysgol Gyfun Penweddig. As an undergraduate, he studied American and English Literature at the University of East Anglia (Norwich), spending his third year at Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts. He was awarded a Frank Knox Fellowship in 1995 to study at Harvard University, graduating with an MA in Celtic Languages and Literatures in 1997. He studied for his PhD in English Literature (2001) at Cambridge University where his time at King’s College was funded by the then AHRB (Arts and Humanities Research Board). Daniel began teaching at Swansea University in January 2000. He was Assistant Director of CREW (Centre for Research into the English Literature and Language of Wales) from 2001 – 2007 and followed Professor M. Wynn Thomas as Director from 2007 – 2010. 

Beyond academia, Daniel is particularly interested in music and politics. He is a semi-professional jazz saxophonist and founder-member of the jazz-folk sextet ‘Burum’ who have released three albums - Alawon (2007), Caniadau (2012), Llef (2016). He lives in the Neath constituency where he stood as the Plaid Cymru/Party of Wales candidate in the Westminster elections of 2017 and 2019.

Areas Of Expertise

  • Literatures of Wales
  • African American Literature
  • Celtic Languages and Literatures (from 1800)
  • Raymond Williams and the New Left
  • Intellectual History
  • Cultural Nationalism
  • Ethnicity
  • Colonialism/Postcolonialism

Career Highlights

Teaching Interests

Professor Williams teaches across most periods, with a particular focus at undergraduate level on African American, Irish and Welsh literatures. He aims to foster comparative approaches to literary traditions in his teaching.

Daniel Williams co-ordinates courses on the MA in Welsh Writing in English.

He has supervised eight PhDs to completion, ranging from the Welsh poet Harri Webb to the African American novelist Ishmael Reed, from European Marxism to postcolonialism. He would be interested in supervising theses in these broad areas:

• Comparative Literature
• Literature and National Identity
• Multilingual Literature
• Welsh Writing in English
• African American Literature
• Yeats and the Irish Renaissance
• Intellectual History
• Cultural Studies
• Literary Theory

Research Award Highlights Collaborations