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Richard GwynIntroduction

Richard Gwyn was born and grew up in south Wales. While studying anthropology at the London School of Economics, he became interested in the threatened cultures, languages and music of peripheral communities. He also harboured ambitions as a poet and made several luminary appearances at punk gigs in the late 1970s, including a memorable support act to The Cure. Turning his back on beckoning stardom, a confusing period followed, during which he lived in London and worked as a milkman and sawyer. Then, after sustaining an injury in an industrial accident, he moved to Crete and bought a six-metre fishing boat, describing himself as a refugee from Thatcherism. For the next nine years he travelled on and around the Mediterranean forming enduring links with people, places and wooden boats. The prospect of permanent self-imposed exile seemed likely. However, after a long, revelatory walk across northern Spain, he decided to return to Wales. He settled in Cardiff, where he married Rose Pallot, and their two daughters were born. In 1993 he began a study of illness, language and the body, an interest which he pursued professionally until 2003, resulting in the publication of two books, Communicating Health and Illness (Sage, 2002) and Discourse, the Body, and Identity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003). He teaches at Cardiff University, where he is Director of the MA in Creative Writing.

Richard Gwyn’s poetry includes One Night in Icarus Street, Stone dog, flower red/Gos de pedra flor vermella (both 1995), Walking on Bones (2000) and Being in Water (2001). He is also the editor of an anthology of new poetry from Wales titled The Pterodactyl’s Wing: Welsh World Poetry, launched at the Hay Festival in 2003. He has published poetry in translation from Spanish, Catalan and Lithuanian, has read his work at many venues internationally, and has collaborated extensively with visual artists in Britain, Spain and France. He is a regular columnist for Poetry Wales, reviews books for The Independent and has discussed his work on TV and radio. His first novel, The Colour of a Dog Running Away (2005), set in the Gothic quarter of Barcelona, is published by Parthian in the UK, Doubleday in the USA, and has been translated into many languages. His second novel, Deep Hanging Out (2007) is published by Snowbooks. His most recent books are Sad Giraffe Café (2010), a collection of prose poems, and The Vagabond’s Breakfast (2011) a memoir.