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Carter joins Dylan fest as writer's notes arrive.

Byline: Robin Turner Reporter robin.turner@walesonline.co.uk

ON THE day rare Dylan Thomas notebooks dating from the 1930s go on display in Swansea, it has been announced ex-US president Jimmy Carter will become "Honorary Patron of Centenary Events" at the poet's birthplace.

Carter is a life-long Dylan Thomas fan and played a big part in arranging for a memorial plaque to Thomas being erected in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey in 1982.

The ex-president recently recorded an introductory message for visitors to Dylan Thomas' birthplace at Cwmdonkin Drive in Swansea's Uplands when he met Geoff Haden - who has restored the house over the past 20 years - on a visit to the Carter Centre in Atlanta.

Businessman Mr Haden announced Carter has agreed to be honorary patron for events at the house as part of DT100, the successful Wales and worldwide celebration of Dylan's birth 100 years ago.

Mr Haden said: "The birthplace has a number of high-profile events planned over the coming months with representatives of Britain's major literary houses attending the Lithouses Summer Conference on June 6 followed by Dylanathon - a Dylan themed one day photomarathon - at the end of the month." Mr Haden said of the birthplace: "In particular, Dylan's tiny bedroom is decorated as it might have been in about 1934 when he was at the height of his powers producing two thirds of his published work and is complete with books, discarded writings, cigarette ends and a half-drunk glass of beer."

Today, notebooks and manuscripts written by Dylan Thomas are now on display in his home city for the very first time. The documents, on loan from the University of Buffalo in the USA, are available for the public to see at the city's Dylan Thomas Centre from now until August 31.

The exhibition is made up of four poetry notebooks and a red prose notebook written between 1930 and 1934.

Supporting material includes extracts from letters that refer to the poems and the processes involved in their writing and a self-portrait in coloured pencil Dylan drew on the back of a letter to the writer, Pamela Hansford Johnson.

Also included are drawings of his friends from the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery's collection.

It is the first time the collection has returned to Swansea since its sale in the 1940s.

Nick Bradley, Swansea council's cabinet member for regeneration, said of the exhibition: "This is a major coup for Swansea at a time when the Dylan Thomas 2014 Festival to mark the centenary of his birth is ongoing.

"These notebooks tell us so much about Dylan's creative process and the extraordinary talent he was lucky enough to have at such a very young age."

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Former President <BJimmy Carter, and above, Dylan Thomas' birthplace in Cwmdonkin Drive
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 31, 2014
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