Rowan Williams for RS Thomas Festival

Rowan Williams for RS Thomas Festival

R S Thomas Festival, 9-11 June 2017

Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, himself a poet, is to be one of the guest speakers at this year’s RS Thomas Festival, held in Aberdaron in north Wales, where Thomas was a Church of Wales parish priest for nearly 30 years. 

Seventeen years after his death, a new society has been formed to celebrate and promote Thomas’s work along with that of his artist wife ME Eldridge. The RS Thomas & ME Eldridge Society has grown out of the annual celebration and literary festivals held in Aberdaron since 2013, the 100th anniversary of Thomas’s birth. RS Thomas fans now regard Aberdaron as a unique, ‘world centre’ to gather together each year, with internationally recognised speakers.

Mark Oakley a canon of St Paul’s Cathedral, London, author of The Splash of Words, will be speaking about how Thomas’s poetry has helped him on his journey of faith: ‘Thomas’s poems have been life-vests…keeping my head just above water’.

The Society plans to expand the scope of the Festivals, beyond Thomas’s poetry, to bring awareness to the art of Elsi Eldridge, who was a recognised London artist before she came to live in Wales and married RS, the young curate. She had some influence on his poetry, steering him to publication. Her journals, written a few years before she died are expected to be published in 2018.

Plans are already underway for 2018’s Festival, with speakers and poets coming from America, plus an exciting world premiere of music inspired by Thomas’s poetry.

For more information about booking a place at this year’s festival and  membership of the society go to:   Email: Or write to: RS Thomas & ME Eldridge Society, 4 Riverside, Pwllheli LL53 7TA (phone: 01758 703039)

Bloodaxe Books has supported RS Thomas’s work for the past 30 years, publishing eight of his books over the years, most recently Collected Later Poems 1988-2000, Uncollected Poems and Too Brave to Dream.  

[20 April 2017]

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