Born in Tredegar in 1965, Patrick Jones was educated at Oakdale Comprehensive, Crosskeys College (a campus of Coleg Gwent), and then at the University of Wales, Swansea from 1983-1987. He was awarded Bsc. (Hons) in Sociology and American Studies. Jones has been employed in youth work, nursing aid, as a Literacy Officer and a Lecturer. He has lived much of his life in Blackwood but has also lived in Herne Bay, Swansea, in Germany, and spent four years in Chicago, Illinois.
Jones set up the Blackwood Young Writers Group based at the Blackwood Miners Institute in 1993. He taught Adult Literacy at Blackwood Community College and the Ebbw Vale Institute. Jones is also active in setting up various reading and writing workshops throughout Wales from schools to youth centres. He has also served as the Creative Literacy Worker for the Cynon Project and in 1988 was writer in residence at Swansea College. He has worked in collaboration with Hafan Cymru, Ty Hapus, Literature Wales and The Welsh National Opera.
Jones has made various television and radio appearances, and is probably Wales’ most prominent living literary figure. He participated in a week-long intensive writing masterclass with Arnold Wesker at Hay on WyeLiterature Festival in 1997. Jones participated in the 1998 Dysfluency Tour. In April 1999, he staged a Kosovo benefit at Blackwood Miner’s Institute involving Max Boyce, James Dean Bradfield and other artists. Later that year he read from and discussed sections of his play Everything Must Go at Marxism ’99. 1999 also saw Ioan Gruffydd, Matthew Rhys and other Welsh celebrities performing his poem “The Guerrilla Tapestry” at the opening of the Welsh Assembly ‘Voices Of A Nation’ concert. In 2004, he returned to the Hay Festival for a discussion with James Dean Bradfield on music, politics and writing.
Jones has worked with St David’s Foundation Hospice Care, The Samaritans, Hope and Aid Direct and Learning through Growth in the Cynon Valley.. Has been involved in many protests including Save St David’s Woods, and Justice for Fathers. In 2007 he performed a reading at a fundraising concert for Stop The War, during which he also collaborated with Newport band New State Radio.
Jones’ play, Revelation, spoke out on behalf of victims of female domestic violence. Jones spent some time researching the play and it is based on over forty interviews with men who have experienced domestic violence.
It was supported by the Dyn Project Cardiff, Mankind UK, Chapter Arts Centre and the Welsh Arts Council. It was directed by Chris Durnall with Nathan Sussex and Stacey Daly and featured a soundtrack by Jones’ friend and collaborator, James Dean Bradfield. It was performed at Chapter Arts Centre in July 2008 before transferring to a three-week run at the Courtyard Theatre in London as well as other, non-theatre venues.
In November 2008, Waterstone’s cancelled an appearance from Jones at one of their stores, where he was expected to sign autographs and promote his new work, because of a planned protest by a religious pressure group over alleged blasphemy. In an effort to ensure that he was not gagged, Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Peter Black then asked Jones to read from his book, Darkness Is Where The Stars Are, at the Welsh Assembly, and the reading went ahead on 11 December despite protests.
A CD Tongues for a Stammering Time, with spoken word in collaboration with many musicians including Nicky Wire, James Dean Bradfield, Billy Bragg, Amy Wadge, Martyn Joseph and others, was released on Anhrefn Records in May 2009.
In 2014 The Forgotten, a Chartist musical co written with Drama lecturer Vanessa Dodd was performed at The Riverfront and other venues in the South Wales are to mark the 175th anniversary of The Chartist Rising. In March 2015 it was announced that Jones’ play Before I leave would be part of the National Theatre of Wales’ 5th Year programme. The play was inspired by The Cwm Taf Choir based in Merthyr Tydfil which is supported by The Alzheimer’s Society.
Jones worked with Rhiannon White Co Artistic Director of Common Wealth Theatre Company Summer 2015 in and around Blackwood, researching and developing his first play Everything Must Go which was resurrected for the second Velvet Coalmine festival. 2016 saw the premiere of his new play Before I Leave produced by The National Theatre Wales. Based on research Jones undertook with various Dementia choirs and supported by The Alzheimer’s Society Cymru, the play tells the story of a choir made up of members who live with dementia. It is currently being developed into a film.
A new album will be released in 2018 which is a collaboration with Jones and The Membranes singer and bassist John Robb, and will feature twelve brand new tracks.