The little park where he played as a boy in Swansea, on Wales' south-west coast, has had a facelift, and a bronze statue is to be erected outside his childhood home. Manuscripts and rare photographs have been borrowed from an archive in New York, and his quotations have been liberally applied to council vehicles. Wales is preparing to embrace once again Dylan Thomas, its errant son, 100 years after his birth. Next year the poet who was too "English for the Welsh and too Welsh for the English" is finally to receive the full accolades many feel he has long deserved.

Announcing that £750,000 would be made available for the "DT100" festival, the Welsh government hopes the centenary will boost tourism, but first minister Carwyn Jones said the festival would also be used to raise the status of Thomas, and Welsh tourism minister Edwina Hart called for "resurrecting" a passion for the poet.

There are strong feelings that Wales, and the rest of the U.K., have neglected Thomas, allowing his work to be overshadowed by a conception of the man as a drunkard, scrounger and womanizer. His admirers want to use the occasion to debunk the myths and rediscover the poet who in his lifetime was dubbed "Britain's finest" — the poet who worked so hard that there are as many as 200 versions of the same poem, and whose reading tours were grueling.