Raymond Williams Centenary Tour

Written by on 30th September 2022

The Raymond Williams Centenary Tour is described by its organisers as “a uniquely immersive tour of South Wales on October 15th bringing the centenary of Raymond Williams to a close – and inspiring a new generation of fans and followers”.

Raymond Williams was born in Pandy near Abergavenny in 1921 and the Raymond Williams Foundation (RWF) is rounding off its 2021-22 Centenary celebrations with a bus tour – curated and hosted by Valleys Ale Trails | Llwybrau Cwrw y Cymoedd – of locations in south Wales related to Williams’ life and works on Saturday 15 October 2022.

Raymond Williams was one of the C20th’s greatest cultural philosophers and socialist thinkers. In a three year period in a prolific writing career Williams published two seminal, iconic intellectual texts – Culture and Society (1958) and The Long Revolution (1961) – that sandwiched his most famous work of fiction Border Country (1960) set in and around the fictional town of Gwenton (based on Abergavenny).

Williams studied and later taught at Cambridge University, continuing to be a perceptive and radical thinker, literary critic and writer of fiction; all of which were inspired and shaped by his Pandy upbringing. He died prematurely at 66 in 1988 but his influence remains undimmed. Indeed, his work is gaining a new audience as a new generation finds inspiration and challenge off the back of the RWF’s Centenary celebrations that have aimed to reintroduce some of Williams’ key ideas to contemporary public spaces and fora.

Listen to Russell Todd and Leanne Wood speak to GTFM’s Terry Mann about the tour. 

THE TOUR

Starting in Abergavenny the day-long tour will visit by coach Pandy, Merthyr Tydfil and other locations

in the Heads of the Valleys. Speakers from the world of literature and politics will animate the tour

with insights into how Williams has influenced their thinking and writing. They include:

*writer and Guardian columnist Jude Rogers

*former Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood

*writer Darren Chetty

*writer Merlin Gable

*Sel Williams from pioneering community organisation Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog who have a project called ‘Pontio‘r Cenedl | Bridging the Nation’ that is inspired by Williams

Their talks will help locate Raymond Williams’ teachings in contemporary Wales and will help demonstrate that even though his writing dates back several decades in some cases it still has an incredible resonance and power for those who are concerned at what the future holds for Wales. They will cover diverse topics as identity, travel and transport, environmentalism, sport, and language.

The tour is aimed primarily at those people who have recently discovered Raymond Williams and who have a growing enthusiasm for and curiosity in his work. It will be of particular interest to people involved in/with:

*adult education

*community organising

*trade unionism

*arts and cultural activity

*further and higher education

Early bird tickets have all gone but reduced prices remain for students, the unwaged, and Universal Credit recipients. Everyone who joins the tour will receive a complimentary copy of Red Pepper, a quarterly magazine and website of left politics and culture.

Tickets and full tour details available: https://bit.ly/3PXWmEn


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