Dylan at 100
A Prologue to an Adventure is the prestigious international creative writing competition celebrating Dylan Thomas’s 100th birthday. It is part of Literature Wales’ Developing Dylan 100 education project, which is bringing the wizardry of Dylan Thomas’s words to the children and young people of Wales and beyond through creative workshops, a cutting-edge roadshow, and an online event to create an epic, 100-line poem.
Below is the winner of the Best in Wales category, Ethan Evans.
Best in Wales
To see how you can get involved and to book a Developing Dylan creative writing workshop click here
Mrs Dylan Thomas
It was raining when Caitlin Thomas arrived at Hotel Chelsea. She stood, for a moment, on the edge of the pavement, staring up at the faded red brickwork and the secrets festering behind shuttered windows.
“What did you do, Dylan?”
Wrapping her cardigan tighter around her chest, she stepped inside, avoiding her reflection in the glass doors.
At reception, she announced, with unusual confidence, that she was Mrs Dylan Thomas, and demanded to be shown room 205. There were old ghosts she needed to bury.
Caitlin sat, alone, on the edge of Dylan’s bed, staring at his tattered suitcase, recalling long Laugharne evenings fuelled with liquor laced stories and promises, always promises, of a better life.
As she considered opening the suitcase, there was a knock at the door.
Caitlin jumped to her feet, ripped the bedside lamp from its socket and threw it at the door, swearing loudly.
There was a whimper. Caitlin wrenched open the door. An eleven year old boy stared back at her, a notepad and pen pressed to his chest.
“Is Mr Thomas here?”
“Mr Thomas is dead. So, no, he’s not here.”
The boy considered this for a moment. “Are you Mrs Thomas?”
“I might be.”
“I’m writing an assignment on heroes. I saw Mr Thomas’ play, and thought that-.”
Caitlin slammed the door, sinking to her knees.
“Dylan Thomas was not a hero. He was a drunkard, a swine.”
“I think he’s a hero.”
“Then you’re a fool…just like I was.”
She heard the boy shuffle forwards.
“Papa says it’s the fools who rush in where angels fear to tread.”
Caitlin opened the door.
The boy blushed. “Papa likes Mr Sinatra.”
“You can have five minutes.”
The boy made himself comfortable in the armchair, his features blurred by the dirty sunlight.
Caitlin sat in the window, gazing out at the silver city.
“So many people…”
“Seven million, so papa says.”
Caitlin studied the boy. “What does papa do?”
“He fixes cars, sometimes.”
“Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The rest, he looks after me. We live upstairs. For now, until Papa finds more work.”
“You should be writing about him.”
Caitlin took out her cigarettes.
“Papa says smoking’s bad for you.”
“So is my husband.”
The boy squirmed. “Why do you hate Dylan?”
“I do not hate Dylan. I cannot bear to live with him…nor can I bear to live without him. Our love was toxic, but love nonetheless. He was a great poet…he used to sit in that bloody boat house…but, all gone now...”
“In person. He’ll live forever in writing.”
Caitlin rummaged in her handbag. “You want to write, too?”
“Here, perhaps Dylan can help.”
She handed him a notebook of inky scribbles. Dylan’s scribbles. He moved forwards for a hug but Caitlin pushed him away.
“Papa will be looking for you.”
The boy stiffened. They shook hands.
As he left, Caitlin leaned against the doorframe, Dylan’s ghost on her shoulder, and cried.
I’m seventeen years old, and a student at the College Merthyr Tydfil, where I try to juggle studying English, Psychology and History, with writing (and rewriting) a grizzly, dystopian crime novel. My keen interest in the criminal mind and all things psychopath is, understandably, beginning to worry my parents. At the moment, I am applying to universities to study English with creative writing, and can often be found with my head firmly planted in a musty dog-eared book, with a notepad swarming with scribbles. The dream, at present, is to teach English Literature, write (quite a bit) and travel (everywhere and anywhere that will take me) - I’m only on this Earth once, I intend to visit as much as it has to offer. Writing, I find, helps to smooth out the creases in the everyday. It gives, or it gives us back, a voice. And that is one of the most important things in the world.