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This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

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Literature Wales launches 2012 Literary Tourism programme

Saturday 24th March 2012

In the National Museum Cardiff, the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke about his love of Welsh literature at the launch of Literature Wales' 2012 Literary Tourism programme.

Archbishop Rowan Williams talked about growing up in Swansea: struggling with The Mabinogion as a child, drafting "The Great Welsh Novel" with friends as a teenager, and discovering the Anglo-Welsh poets in the 6th form.  "Like every other adolescent poet in Swansea at the time, I began to produce reams of second-rate imitations of Dylan Thomas"  said the Archbishop, joking that he would offer vast sums of money to buy up any surviving copies of the school magazines in which the poems were published.

Speaking in support of the Literary Tourism programme, the Archbishop said:

"Stories are not told in mid-air.  Stories are told to explain why places are the way they are, why place names are as they are.  They invite you to read the landscape in terms of its human history of conflict, of sorcery and romance - a reminder that landscape itself never just 'sits there' for the human eye and the human mind.  Landscape is always more than it seems, and it waits for words to bring it alive again and again. 

"The project that we're concerned about this evening is one which has enormous promise for the health of our society, not just for the entertainment of dedicated readers. ... I am delighted to think that the riches and gifts [of the literatures of Wales] will be so abundantly available to many more people through this project, and I wish it well." 

Listen to the Archbishop's speech here [22Mb, 23 mins]. 

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