"The Spirit of Place"

This song with original words and music by Caitlin was written in response to a prompt by Workshop leader and writer of place Pamela Petro during the UWTSD Dylan Thomas Summer School 2017.

A ten day residential summer school focusing on the extraordinary landscape of Wales as a catalyst for creative writing. Students will attend daily writing workshops, travel to culturally significant locations, and listen to readings by renowned Welsh writers.

Tuesday 28 May - Friday 7 June

The Dylan Thomas Summer School is a 10-day intensive writing programme at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, in Lampeter, Wales. It was founded by Menna Elfyn in 2014 and is co-directed by Pamela Petro and Dominic Williams.

The course is structured to reflect its thematic emphasis on “A Sense of Place.” It is fully accredited by the University of Wales and is open to undergraduates, graduate students, and members of the public. Class size is usually about 15 students.

The 2018 syllabus included 11 writing workshops taught by prose writer Pamela Petro and poet Samantha Rhydderch, along with visiting tutors including novelist Carly Holmess. Workshops included lectures and in-class writing prompts. In 2018 we featured on-site prompts at Aberglasney Gardens, Dryslwyn Castle, the megalithic monument Pentre Ifan and nearby Iron Age Village, and the coastal town of New Quay, which inspired Dylan Thomas’ play Under Milk Wood.

Campus-based workshop prompts are drawn from assigned readings and afternoon excursions. We encourage students to draw links between observation of Wales’ landscape and history and their own memories of “place” as raw material for their writing.

In addition to on-site prompt locations, in 2018 we visited the harbour town of Aberaeron, the National Coracle Centre and waterfalls in Cenarth (as well as the artisanal Caws Cenarth Cheese), St David’s Cathedral and the dramatic sea cliffs of St David’s Head, Tregwynt Woolen Mill, and the Dylan Thomas Boathouse in Laugharne. In Lampeter students toured the Roderic Bowen Library, which contains one of the most important collections of rare books and medieval manuscripts in Britain.       

In the evenings students were treated to a series of nightly readings by Wales’ finest practicing writers and poets including Menna Elfyn, Samantha Rhydderch, Gwynneth Lewis, Gary Owen, and Sion Owen; award-winning poets, novelists, nonfiction writers, and playwrights.

Toward the end of the programme students will receive a 20-minute, one-on-one tutorial with Pamela Petro or Samantha Rhydderch to discuss their work in private. Each student doing the course for credit must submit a selection of poems, short story, or essay for grading on Wednesday, 7 June.

Please note that the programme is designed so that students’ time outside workshops and seminars is equally important to time spent in the classroom. Excursions and readings by Welsh authors prompt students to create material that could never be generated in the classroom alone. 

  • £1,750 per person (inclusive of En-suite accommodation / meals / airport pick up & return and all excursions)
  • Students may choose whether or not they wish to take the program for credit: a 30 credit module at the DTISSs = 3 graduate credits (with additional final project), 3 undergraduate credits.  

Administration correspondence and questions should be addressed to: Joanne Price: joanne.price@uwtsd.ac.uk, 01570 424723

The programme will only run subject to minimum numbers being met.


Important Dates for Applicants Prior to Traveling to Wales

1 February 2019 -- Application Period opens

1 April 2019 -- Application Period closes

9 April 2019 -- Students will be notified of their acceptance. Accepted students will receive a “Tip Sheet for Travel to Wales,” which answers frequently asked questions and advises on flight reservations, what to expect on campus, what to pack, suggested readings, etc.

1 May 2019 -- Closing date for students to submit payment

15 May 2019 -- Students will have received a letter of registration (to be shown at Immigration when entering the U.K.) and a wifi sign-up for the University of Wales Trinity Saint David


Here are some top_tips for travelling to Wales



Non-visa nationals’ (that includes US passport-holders) do not normally need to pre-apply for a visa from the US in order to study at a Summer School, though they must request immigration permission under a short-term study visa when they enter the UK.

In order to do so they must inform immigration when they arrive at the border that they are in the UK to study on a short course/summer school (which is of less than 6 months). They will need evidence of their offer so that they have the details to hand on arrival as well as documents showing that they meet the rules for the short-term study visa.

Details of these rules are given at:


Different rules may arise if any of the students are not US passport-holders, plan to do other things while they are in the UK, or already hold some kind of valid UK visa.


Lampeter was such a magical place that no matter where you went on the grounds you were inspired. I learned so much from the exercises and prompts that have improved my writing skills and made my work more creative. It was an amazing feeling being around people that were extremely imaginative with their writing.(Brenne Post: studnet 2014))

It was a tremendous experience, learning about Dylan Thomas while surrounded by the roads he walked and the hills he gazed on. I'll always treasure the readings we attended, meeting the National Poet of Wales, and reading our own work in Dylan's house.(Alicia Zadrozny: student 2014)

We had a fantastic time in Wales. The graciousness of the Welsh, the exceptional writers and teachers at UWTSD, the generosity and rigor of the program; the two weeks were challenging, fun, and, most of all, inspiring. (Jeff Bens: Chair, English: Director, Undergraduate Creative Writing Program 2015)


Mollie Chandler, DTSS '16: Published her final submission for the DTSS in the Charles River Journal -- http://penandanvil.com/crj/7/mollie-chandler/#. She will read another poem she began in Wales in at the Prudential Center in Boston for Mass Poetry Unplugged, as a featured poet in their Under 35 series. She published a fiction piece in October in Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, as well as 4 poems in Hollow literary magazine. Most notably (for her!) she also had a poem accepted to The Fairy Tale Review's upcoming Charcoal Issue. 

Danielle Genarro, DTSS ’14, ’16: Published her poem, "Directions To My House," which she began at the DTSS, in Oberon Poetry Magazine in 2016.

Mariya Taher, DTSS '15: Was selected as a Top  5 Fiction Finalist in the Solstice Literary Magazine Annual contest for her short story "The Chaiwalla," which received the distinction of being the editor's pick -- http://solsticelitmag.org/content/editors-pick-chaiwalla/  

Gail Tyson, DTSS '14, '17: Will have three creative nonfiction essays published in Fall 2017: “Museum of My Identity” in Adanna: http://adannajournal.blogspot.com. “Like Water Lapping Shore” in EcoTheo Review: www.ecotheoreview.org. And “Jiveshake on the Subway” in The Lampeter Review: www.lampeter-review.com. She also has a short story in Still Point Arts Quarterly, Summer 2017 edition: https://www.stillpointartgallery.com, and is a creative nonfiction contributor Unbroken Circle: Stories of Cultural Diversity in the South, available from amazon.

Laura Wainwright, DTSS '14: Published an essay she worked on in Lampeter in The Martha's Vineyard Times -- Fieldwork: Loving a difficult father - The Martha's Vineyard Times.

Amy Wasserman, DTSS '16: Has been writing TV reviews for an entertainment industry site called Tracking Board -- http://www.tracking-board.com/?s=a.r.+wasserman. She also had a review published in The Rumpus-- http://therumpus.net/2017/02/good-girls-revolt-and-female-focused-sex-on-tv/

Gabrielle van Welie,  DTSS '15: Published her essay on hiraeth, "The Once and Future Wales," in Graffiti, Manhattanville College's literary magazine: https://issuu.com/graffitimag/docs/graffiti_2016_final_1. She also launched a website called The Nerd League.

Isabel Reddy DTSS '17: Published an article on Brain Resilience on the NOrth Carolina Herald Sun website -- http://www.heraldsun.com/opinion/article201961694.html. 

Dylan Thomas Summer School Itinerary for 2018 (provisional)

29 May-- Students arrive at Heathrow, Terminal 5, by 12 pm. Bus trip from Heathrow to Lampeter; welcome dinner at the Castle Green.

30 May-- Introductory morning workshop; students tour campus, town, and see manuscripts at the Rod Bowen Library; optional hike to Iron Age Fort.

 31 May--  Morning workshops; to Cenarth to see falls and National Coracle Centre; tasting at Caws Cenarth Cheese. 

1 June-- To Aberglasney Gardens for workshop with Kathy Miles; lunch at Aberglasney tea room; to Dynefor Castle for 2ndworkshop.

2 June-- (No workshops) To St David’s for Cathedral tour; shopping options; walk on Pembrokeshire National Coast Path if good weather; visit to Tregwynt Woolen Mill. Stay in Pembrokeshire.

3 June-- Visit Pentre Ifan (megalithic monument), Nevern Church, and Castell Henllys Iron Age Village; lunch and workshop in Newport. Stay in Pembrokeshire. Male Voice Choir concert.

4 June-- To New Quay for tour and workshop with Samantha Rhydderch; return to Lampeter via Aberaeron for shopping,

5 June-- Morning workshops; free time; evening rehearsal for students’ Poems & Pints performance.

6 June-- Morning workshops; afternoon tutorials; Poems & Pints at the Castle Green.

7 June-- Final morning workshop; to Dylan Thomas Boathouse in Laugharne; farewell dinner.

8 June-- Students leave for Heathrow.


Pamela PetroPamela Petro


Pamela Petro is the author of three books of place-based creative nonfiction for HarperCollins UK, including Travels in an Old Tongue: Touring the World Speaking Welsh. She has also written award-winning articles and essays for The New York Times, Granta, The Paris Review, and more. She teaches Nonfiction on Lesley University’s MFA in Creative Writing Programme, is a Lecturer at Smith College, and is a Fellow of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. She is also a visual artist who has received visual arts and literary residencies from Grand Canyon National Park, The MacDowell Colony, The Black Rock Arts Foundation, and The Spring Creek Project. She received her BA from Brown University and her MA from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Pamela is currently working on a hybrid memoir / literary nonfiction book called The Long Field: Wales and the Presence of Absence.


Dominic WilliamsDominic Williams


Originally from the valleys of the South Wales Coalfield Dominic Williams is a writer and poet based in Carmarthenshire. For nearly twenty years his home has been the small fishing village of Ferryside on the Tywi estuary from where he runs his publishing house Iconau Books. Williams is a co-founder of the community interest company write4word and with his friend, Irish poet Denis Collins, established the Wales Ireland Spoken-word and Poetry Alliance (WISPA). He is the MC of West Wales’ most established monthly spoken word event, Poems and Pints at the Queens. In 2012, as coordinator of the Coracle project he was a founding partner of the inaugural Dinefwr Literature Festival and in 2006 organised and managed the week-long Welsh Writing for The World Festival in venues across New York City. He has been a board member of New Welsh Review and is currently the chair of the board of trustees of DAC, Wales' national charity for Disability Art. He has been a regular guest lecturer on the MA Creative Writing programme for the last ten years and is the Disability Adviser for the Swansea campuses of UWTSD.