This past weekend (8-11 June) was a big one for Hilly Janes and her book Ugly, Lovely: Dylan Thomas’ Swansea and Carmarthenshire of the 1950’s in pictures with four events offering insights into the beautiful, nostalgic volume.
The first of Hilly’s events took place on June 8, at the Tabernacle UR Church in Mumbles, hosted in association with Cover to Cover of Mumbles. Hilly discussed the life of her aunt, Ethel Ross, a contemporary of Dylan Thomas and photographer of the images within the book. With a small but intimate audience, Hilly read excerpts and displayed some of the photos from Ugly, Lovely. A lively question-and-answer session followed, with some in the audience recognising notable Swansea landmarks, and others even recognising people from the pictures Hilly had on display.
Next on Hilly’s calendar was another small afternoon gathering at Killay Library on Friday 9 June. Hilly discussed the book and previewed some of her aunt’s photographs here too, before she continued to read at the very first Llansteffan Literary Festival. Here, Hilly teamed up with Professor John Goodby of Swansea University, a Dylan Thomas specialist and author of a preface within Ugly, Lovely, for an illustrated talk which featured the photographs her aunt took of the Llansteffan landscape. It was a long day for Hilly, but her wonderful enthusiasm, coupled with great audiences in beautiful locations, ensured these were events not to be missed.
Hilly finished her mini tour with a trip to 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, the birthplace of Dylan Thomas, on June 10. It was certainly an action-packed weekend, for us but especially for Hilly. We just hope Hilly used her Sunday to catch up on some rest after such a busy few days!