The Welsh literary world is mourning one of its most respected writers, following the death of Mumbles-based Nigel Jenkins.
The prize-winning poet and writer of non-fiction was also a journalist, editor and broadcaster, as well as an associate professor, and director of Swansea University’s Masters programme in creative writing, which he had taught since 2003.
National poet of Wales Gillian Clarke described his death as ‘terrible, shocking news’, while novelist Stevie Davies , co-founder of the Swansea Creative Writing MA, described him as “an inspirational teacher, an outstanding writer and a true friend to authors, poets, dramatists and artists of all kinds throughout and beyond Wales.
“He was much loved by staff and students present and past, and we shall miss him greatly.”
Brought up on a farm on Gower, Mr Jenkins lived in Mumbles, and captured his love of the area in his books Real Swansea (Seren Books, 2008) , Real Swansea 2, and Gower (Gomer, 2009).
He was also co-editor of The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales, and in 1996 he won the Arts Council of Wales, Book of the Year prize with his travel book Gwalia in Khasia.
In 1997, he presented the BBC Wales TV programme Kardomah Boys, about Dylan Thomas and his fellow Swansea artists, while as a lecturer and tutor he worked for organisations including Trinity College, Carmarthen, the Workers' Educational Association, and Ty Newydd, the National Writers’ centre for Wales in Gwynedd.
Lleucu Siencyn, chief executive of Literature Wales: “This is a poignant time for Welsh literature. Nigel Jenkins was a shining example of a writer who transgressed traditional boundaries, flourishing as an academic, artist, journalist and dramatist; equally loved by Welsh and English creative communities and at home both in the wilds of the Welsh landscape and in the lecture theatre. Anyone who knew Nigel will remember his humour, humility and genuineness alongside his legacy - a varied and consistently outstanding body of work.”
Nigel Jenkins died in Ty Olwen hospice after a short illness. He leaves two daughters, partner Margo and former wife Delyth, and a brother and sister.