HIS work has fans as diverse as horror writer Stephen King, Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, and Oscar-nominated film director Guillermo Del Toro - and his influence is widespread.

But Arthur Machen’s novels and short stories are little read nowadays, his name barely known even in Caerleon and the surrounding area, where he was born and brought up.

A higher profile is coming this year however, for a man whose literary star waxed and waned over more than 30 years from the mid-1890s, due to works such as The Great God Pan, and The Bowmen.

A range of events are being organised to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth.

These include an exhibition, Far Off Things: Arthur Machen and the Gwent Landscape, charting his life, his work and its influence, is on at Newport Museum and Art Gallery.

Far Off Things is also the title of an autobiography of his early life in Gwent, to be reissued in a limited edition next month.

The reissue is the work of Three Impostors, a small publishing house formed by three men whose shared interest in Machen has formed over several years’ exploration of his life, works and landscapes.

● The exhibition is at Newport Museum and Art Gallery until April 6.

Landscape inspiration

THE Caerleon Arts Festival in July includes in its programme a series of Arthur Machen-related events.

Details are being finalised, but will include talks on the author, readings of some of his work, and a Machen Country walk of landscapes in and around the Soar Valley, north of Caerleon.

Caerleon Arts Festival details can be found at caerleon-arts.org A number of talks are also planned in London, where Machen lived for much of his life.

Like Gwent, the city exerted a huge influence on his work, and he spent countless hours exploring it, and observing its rapid expansion and the change that expansion wrought upon its outer environs.