Geraint Talfan Davies Talks Unfinished Business

Scholar and cultural personality Geraint Talfan Davies has been travelling the UK talking about his book Unfinished Business: Journal of an Embattled European and why it’s important that the United Kingdom backs out of Brexit.

Thursday 25th October the turn came to Swansea University, where Geraint Talfan Davies was invited to a panel discussion by the Morgan Academy, a research-based political think tank, and the political organisation Wales for Europe | Cymru Dros Ewropof which Davies is chair.

Watch a video of the event here.

Davies started out by giving a moving talk on the book and why he wrote it. Unfinished Business charts his personal experience with Europe and EU-UK relations during his many years of collaborating internationally.

Geraint Talfan Davies
Geraint Talfan Davies at Swansea University

Personal is the keyword here, for during the Brexit-debates of 2016, Davies was appalled by the coldness and steely logic of the Remain side’s arguments. To him, Europe is first and foremost an emotional issue, and the failure of the Remain-side, Davies argues, is that it did not bring out the emotional side of Europe, but made the EU into something that could be argued only in cold and monetary terms.

According to Davies, the UK, and Wales in particular, are intimately interwoven with the EU. The EU was essential in bringing about and sustaining — devolution, both with its funding and with its focus on regional self-determination. He questions the impact Brexit will have on this.

Unfinished Business also centers on what Davies calls ‘The Single Market of the Mind’ — the way the EU has allowed the free exchange of ideas, culture, and creative products, and free movement of people. Through the EU, UK citizens have been free to move and experience Europe, and free to bring back ideas. To Davies, the EU is not about funding for vanity projects, but about free intellectual collaboration and exchange of ideas.

In his moving address to the audience — and his readers — Davies implored people to act against the ‘happy band of Brexiteers’ who would force people to choose between identities — Welsh, British, European, global. The world today is a lot more complex than it was when the UK joined 50 years ago, and identities today are no longer ‘confidently unitary’.

Panel Debate on Brexit and Unfinished Business
Left to right: Dr. Aled Eirug, Dr. Simon Brooks, Chloe Hutchinson, Tonia Antoniazzi MP, Geraint Talfan Davies

After the talk, Geraint Talfan Davies was joined in a panel discussion with Dr. Aled Eirug from the Morgan Academy and Dr. Simon Brooks (political historian), Chloe Hutchinson from the Swansea University Students’ Union and Tonia Antoniazzi, MP for Gower.

They discussed the impact of Brexit and the various failures of the Remain-campaign, but the discussion very quickly turned more optimistic and the panel was joined by the audience in discussing ways to avoid Brexit. The evening thus ended on a distinctly positive note as people left with hope and concrete plans for action to agitate for a people’s vote.

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Davies’ tour with Unfinished Business continues, and if you want to catch him speaking, now’s your chance:

Check out our Events Page for more info.

 

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The Launch of Rhys Owain Williams’ ‘That Lone Ship’ – a recap

Our intern Ann went to the launch of Rhys Owain Williams’ new poetry collection ‘That Lone Ship.’

Friday 14th September, Rhys Owain Williams launched his first poetry collection, That Lone Ship, published this autumn by Parthian Books. The event was held in TechHub in Swansea and the room was crammed full of people.

The Swansea-based poet was surrounded most of the evening by a crowd of friends, family, and other enthusiastic supporters. There was no doubt that this was home turf.

As he began his reading by stating that, “I really love reading poems in Swansea, especially the ones that are set here,” it became clear that here is a man who knows his roots. Many of the poems in That Lone Ship are inspired by situations and places in Swansea, and it was with a particular relish that the poet read these aloud. Poems acquire a certain intensity when read out loud in the place they are set, and through the poet’s powerful voice, Swansea became a charmed place.

Rhys Owain Williams reading from That Lone Ship
Rhys Owain Williams reading from That Lone Ship   © Parthian Books

Rhys finished off his reading to an overwhelming applause that was as much praise for his moving poetry as it was acknowledgement of his success. To finish off the evening, the local musician and singer-songwriter Joe Bayliss gave a couple numbers as people settled down to celebrate the launch with music and drinks.

The venue itself seemed very well-suited for a poetry reading with its atmospheric lighting, simple and elegant colour scheme, and rough-hewn wooden table tops. The TechHub is hidden away down an alley off High Street, a well-kept local secret. In a way like Rhys Owain Williams himself, who toured the Swansea open mic scene for years. But hopefully, he won’t stay that way for long now that That Lone Ship has set sail.

Read an interview with the poet himself as he talks to Rhian Elisabeth as part of her Polar Bear blog-takeover.

Rhys Owain Williams - signing
Personalised signatures for all who bought a copy on the night   © Parthian Books