International Dylan Thomas Day

(Also known as Dylan Day)

International Dylan Thomas Day is observed next on Sunday, May 14th, 2023 (51 days from today).

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International Dylan Thomas Day (Dylan Day for short) celebrates the life and work of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas on 14th May. It was also the anniversary of the reading Under Milk Wood firstly at 92Y The Poetry Center, New York in 1953.

History of International Dylan Thomas Day

Today, we celebrate the life and work of Dylan Thomas, a Welsh writer and poet whose best-known works include the poem "Don't Go Light on That Good Night" and the play under the milk forest. The holiday was celebrated on the anniversary of Under Milk Wood's first reading, which took place on May 14, 1953, at the 92Y Poetry Center in New York City. The day is organized by Literature Welsh and sponsored by the Welsh government, in consultation with the Thomas family, the Dylan Thomas estate and other stakeholders. Events are held around the world and the International Dylan Thomas Awards are presented during the week.

Dylan Thomas’s birthday was on October 27th, 1914 in Swansea, Wales. In 1931, at the age of 16, he left school to become a reporter and began working for the South Wales Daily Post. He also wrote many poems at this time and began to write in notebooks. At last, he gave up reporting at the end of 1932 in order to focus on poetry solely. The following year, "And Death Shall Have No Dominion" was published in New English Weekly, marking his first worldwide publication.

In the spring of 1934, "Light Breaks Where No Sun Shines" appeared as an entry in Poetry of the Year. This is the first time that one of Thomas' poems has appeared in book form. His first full volume of poetry, 18 Poems, was published in December 1934. Many of these poems come from his youth notebook. Similar collections were published in later years: Twenty-five Poems (1936), Map of Love (1939), and Deaths and Entrances (1946). Thomas' work is reminiscent of the Romantic poetic period, in contrast to many of his contemporaries, who focused on social and intellectual themes in their work.

In addition to poetry, Thomas worked as a screenwriter and for the BBC during World War II. He also wrote several plays and prose, including A Child's Christmas in Wales and Under Milk Wood. In 1937, he got married with Caitlin Macnamara, and then, they had two sons and a daughter. Financial struggles have followed Thomas throughout his life, and at times he was heavily in debt. He also became a heavy drinker, which eventually led to his downfall.

Thomas is known for his invigorating readings and they have brought in extra income. He has toured the United States four times, with his last tour taking place in 1953. His last performance was at City College in New York City in October 1953. After that, he had a drink at the White Horse Tavern and then collapsed at the Chelsea Hotel. He died in a New York City hospital on November 9th, 1953. His cause of death was listed as pneumonia, fatty liver, and brain swelling. He is only 39 years old. Despite his short life, he left behind a remarkable and influential work of countless writers after him. Today we celebrate his legacy!

How to celebrate International Dylan Thomas Day

  • Explore the work of Dylan Thomas.
  • Browse through some of Thomas' books and recordings.
  • Listen and watch some audio and video clips of Dylan Thomas.
  • Attend an International Dylan Thomas Day event.
  • Read the biography of Dylan Thomas.
  • Watch the Dylan Thomas exhibit via internet at the National Library of Wales.
  • Read Under Milk Wood.
  • Watch the movie adaptation Under Milk Wood.
  • Check out Dylan Thomas's International Day Facebook page.
  • Visit the White Horse Tavern, where Thomas had his last drink.
  • Stop at the Chelsea Hotel, where Thomas was ill.
  • Take Dylan Thomas's Official Walk to Greenwich Village.
  • Visit the 92Y Poetry Center, where the first reading of Under the Milky Way took place today in 1953. The 92Y Poetry Center also has an online Thomas exhibit that you can view.
  • Visit the Dylan Thomas Center or the Dylan Thomas Birthplace in Swansea, Wales.
  • Come on the Dylan Thomas Trail in New Quay, Wales.
  • Stop at the Dylan Thomas memorial stone at Westminster Abbey.
  • Take another walking tour, visit other places related to Dylan Thomas, or check out other resources related to him. (Some previously mentioned are listed here.)
  • Learn about the International Dylan Thomas Award, presented during the week of International Dylan Thomas Day.
  • Join the Dylan Thomas Society.


International Dylan Thomas Day has been observed annually on May 14th.


Friday, May 14th, 2021

Saturday, May 14th, 2022

Sunday, May 14th, 2023

Tuesday, May 14th, 2024

Wednesday, May 14th, 2025

Also on Sunday, May 14th, 2023

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