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Hilly Janes

The Three Lives of Dylan Thomas

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  • £8.99

‘[An] engaging, accessible biography...The book is at its best when grounding and humanising the man, stripping away some of the layers of myth, and placing him among friends.’

Natasha Tripney, The Observer

‘One closes Hilly Janes’s modest, but clear-sighted, life with the conclusion that he had an extraordinary gift, most of which he splattered against the pub-lavatory wall.’

John Sutherland, The Times

One of the outstanding literary figures of the twentieth century, the Welsh poet and playwright Dylan Thomas is as famous for his poetry as he is for his dissolute, Bohemian lifestyle and tempestuous personal life.

In The Three Lives of Dylan Thomas, journalist Hilly Janes explores the poet’s life and extraordinary legacy through the eyes of her father, the artist Alfred Janes. A member of Thomas’s inner circle, he painted the poet at three key moments: in 1934, 1953 and, posthumously in 1964, portraits which are at the heart of Janes’ work.

Drawing on her own personal archive, including drawings, diaries, letters and new interviews with Thomas’s friends and descendants, The Three Lives of Dylan Thomas traces the course of the poet’s life, from his birthplace in Swansea to his untimely death in a New York hospital in 1953.



Hilly Janes is an award-winning writer and editor who has worked for many national newspapers and magazines including the Times, Guardian, Observer, Independent and Prospect magazine. She spent her first ten years on the Gower peninsula, where her aunt, Ethel Ross, a lecturer in education, shared the family home. Hilly now lives in London with her husband and two children. Her biography, The Three Lives of Dylan Thomas, is based on portraits of the poet painted by her father, the Swansea born artist Alfred Janes.