Dylan Thomas liked Fitzrovia, even if it wasn't always conducive to his productivity. The writer once described his escapades in the area as ones “that scatter all my good intentions over the saloon bars of the tawdriest pubs in London.” Still, he managed to bash out frequent flashes of genius while in the city, and is remembered in its bookshops and and theatres as much as he is by the sundry boozers proclaiming his name on plaques.
To celebrate what would be Thomas's 100th birthday the Dylan Thomas in Fitzrovia festival runs from 20-26 October (although most events are happening on the final two days). It's a week-long session of Dylan delights — recitals, talks, art exhibitions and more — too much to mention all of them. Here, then, are a few of our picks:
Dylan and Women: Tempestuous relationships with women (notably his wife Caitlin) were an ongoing theme of Thomas's life. In Dylan and Women, the writer's grand-daughter Hannah Ellis speaks with his most recent biographer, Hilly Janes, about how Thomas dealt with his mother, sister, wife, daughter, mistresses and friends. Senate House, Malet Street, WC1E 7HU. 25 October, 12pm, £6
A Shed of One's Own: Thomas got way more work done in his writing shed than he ever did down the pub. A Shed of One's Own is a photographic exhibition that takes inspiration from the writer's hut of solace (a replica of which will also be at the festival), documenting other people's idiosyncratic hideaways. The Building Centre, Store Street, WC1E 7BT. 20-6 October, 10am-5pm daily, free
Dylan Thomas in Fitzrovia Walks: Shamble in the footsteps of Thomas, following a guide around some of the poet's fave Fitzrovia haunts. There's live interaction, performances and (yup) pub pit-stops. The walks take place six times over two days. Meeting point : Outside Senate House, Malet Street, WC1E 7HU. 25 October (12pm, 12.15pm, 2.45pm) and 26 October (11am, 12.30pm, 3.30pm), £10
A Poet in New York: Screening and Q&A: Londonist thought Tom Hollander was uncanny in his portrayal of Thomas in the BBC's 2014 biopic A Poet in New York (trailer below). Now there's a chance to catch it on the big screen, and speak to the star afterwards. Senate House, Malet Street, WC1E 7HU. 26 October, 2pm, £8
Theatr Clwyd, Under Milk Wood: The Telegraph has described Terry Hands's take on Under Milk Wood as “vivid and affectionate”, while the Guardian proclaimed it “a pitch-perfect revival”. You can make up your own mind at the full-cast, recital performace of Thomas's most famous work, which is a one-off festival performance. Senate House, Malet Street, WC1E 7HU. 26 October, 5pm, £8
Dylan Thomas in Fitzrovia runs from 20-26 October. Ticket prices for events vary, and you can buy them on the website. You can see a full programme of listings there too. We recommend you book ahead for most events.