Wales Book of the Year prizes are awarded annually to the best Welsh and English language works in the fields of fiction and literary criticism by Welsh or Welsh interest authors.
Established in 1992, the awards are currently administered by the Academi, and supported by the Arts Council of Wales, Welsh Assembly Government and the Welsh Books Council. In 2006, the prizes were each £10,000. In 2007, for the first time, four runners-up (two in each language) also each received £1000.
The Wales Book of the Year 2010 Winners& Short List
Announced in a special event on Sunday 6 June 2010, at The Guardian Hay Festival.
From a longlist which was notable for its diversity, the judges have chosen award-winning poet Philip Gross for his poems inspired by images of electricity pylons taken with a pin-hole camera; Anglo-Russian historian Nikolai Tolstoy for his re-examination of the origins of the tales of the Mabinogi and Terri Wiltshire for her debut novel about racism in America’s Deep South.
I Spy Pinhole Eye, Philip Gross (Cinnamon) - Winner
The Compilation of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi, Nikolai Tolstoy (The Edwin Mellen Press)
Carry Me Home, Terri Wiltshire (Macmillan)
The English language judges are poet and lecturer at the University of Wales, Ian Gregson, fiction writer James Hawes and broadcaster Sara Edwards.
Ian Gregson said:
"This very diverse list contains a novel, a book of poems and a work of criticism: together they constitute an excitingly challenging set of texts which illustrates the powerfully innovative writing which is currently emerging in Wales."
Peter Finch, Academi Chief Executive commented:
"The annual Wales Book of the Year Award draws attention world-wide to the strength of our native creativity. For a small nation Wales consistently punches well above its literary weight. This year’s short-listed titles prove the point admirably."
The winner for the Welsh-language Award is Cymru: Y 100 lle i’w gweld cyn marw by John Davies; other shortlisted were Banerog by Hywel Griffiths and Naw Mis by Caryl Lewis.
Deborah Kay Davies has won the Wales Book of the Year 2009 for her debut collection of short stories Grace, Tamar and Laszlo the Beautiful published by Parthian.
The announcement was made on Monday 15 June, at an award ceremony at The St David’s Hotel and Spa, introduced by BBC Political Editor, Betsan Powys and poet Linton Kwesi Johnson.
Deborah Kay Davies received the £10,000 prize from judge Mike Parker.
Set in the eastern valleys of South Wales from 1970 to the present, Grace, Tamar and Laszlo the Beautiful tells the story of two sisters, Grace and Tamar, their volatile childhood, disruptive coming of age and dubious maturity. By turns moving, hilarious and terrifying and often all three at once, it is an unusual collection in that each story is complete in its own right, but also forms part of a continuous and powerful sequence. Part fantasy, part social history, these are dark, universal tales about how utterly strange it is to learn to be human.
about Grace, Tamar and Laszlo the Beautiful
Are Grace and Tamar the sisters from Hell? Grace is a moony, bookish, devious Daddy's girl and her little sister Tamar is a force of nature. Their competitive, sometimes violent relationship simultaneously explodes and strengthens the myth of sisterhood. Set in the eastern valleys of south Wales from 1970 to the present day, this collection of linking stories relates the history of Grace and Tamar, their volatile childhood, disruptive coming-of-age and dubious maturity. The book is part novel, part fantasy, part social history. than anything it tells dark, universal tales about how utterly strange it is to learn to be human.
Gee Williams for Blood etc
Blood Etc. is a collection of short stories set mainly in a northeast corner of Wales, with other locations such as parts of England and America. Its main themes include issues of power and balance, class conflict, fatherhood, and of nature and...
Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch for Not in these Shoes
Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch's debut collection for Picador introduces a young poet and seems to announce not one,but several new voices. Not In These Shoes is an act of uncanny ventriloquism, and a distinct spirit haunts each of Wynne-Rhydderch's meticulously drawn spaces. Whether conjuring the
interior of a toy snowstorm, a flooded valley, a woman in a backless dress, a ship's figurehead or a matador in a hotel room, Wynne-Rhydderch finds a voice that commands our attention...
The judges for the 2009 English-language Award are poet, critic and lecturer at Aberystwyth University, Tiffany Atkinson; poet, essayist and former editor of Planet, John Barnie and broadcaster and travel writer Mike Parker (Chair).
The writers on the Welsh-language longlist are Myrddin ap Dafydd, Gwilym Prys Davies, J. Towyn Jones, Geraint V. Jones, Mared Lewis, Robyn Léwis, Harri Parri, Wiliam Owen Roberts (Winner) , Aled Jones Williams and Hefin Wyn.
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oe Dunthorne - Submarine (Hamish Hamilton) - Convinced that his father is depressed and his mother is having an affair with her capoeira teacher, "a hippy-looking twonk", Oliver Tate embarks on a misguided campaign to bring the family back together. Meanwhile, he is also trying to lose his...
Matthew Francis - Mandeville (Faber and Faber)- The Travels of Sir John Mandeville was one of the most popular books of the later Middle Ages, and its author was described centuries after by Sir Thomas Browne as 'the greatest liar of all time'. Purporting to describe the circumnavigation of an English knight through Africa, India and the Middle East in 1322, the narrative tells of many wonders: of islands whose inhabitants have the bodies of humans but the heads of dogs, of a tribe whose only source of nourishment is the smell of apples, of a race of one-eyed giants .
Stephen May - TAG (Cinnamon)- Friends, gangs and war -- will Pete have to choose? An exciting novel about changing friendships, gang rivalry and inner conflicts, with a roller-coaster ride of a plot. From the pen of Carnegie shortlisted author, Michael Coleman. The graffiti -...
Robert Minhinnick - King Driftwood (Carcanet) - King Driftwood teems with characters and narratives: treasure hunters, drug dealers, small-town eccentrics - blue-rinsed Mrs Dawes-Llewellyn, John the Song and Mothman, George Bush and Saddam Hussein glimpsed at a phantasmagoric funfair; the mourning women of Baghdad. Driven by a vigorous rhythmic energy, Robert Minhinnick's poems evoke the dense and different realities of communities, the cadences of voices and weather, shared maps of streets and cafes, custom and memory, that define life in Wales, Iraq and Argentina.
Sheenagh Pugh - Long-haul Travellers (Seren) - Some of the journeys in this collection can be found on maps. But some travellers are journeying from one self to another, like those strange adventurers Murat Reis and Tristan Jones. Some, like Adwaitya the tortoise, have traversed time as well as space. Some travel in dreams. And the longest-haul travellers of all are the dead, like Josephine, whose memory returns to haunt our consciousness and remind us that not all places can be found in the atlas.
Zoë Skoulding - Remains of a Future City (Seren)- Vibrant and multilayered, this collection of poems takes the imagined city as its inspiration, but is equally open to the suggestions offered by keenly observed details. The natural world and the multiple variations of the built environment--from cathedrals to construction sites--hint at utopia, but the future city is haunted by its ruins. New relationships emerge from the shared fractures of a European past
Dai Smith - Raymond Williams: A Warrior’s Tale (Parthian) - Using a rich array of material from Raymond Williams's hitherto unused personal papers - juvenilia, diaries, letters, unpublished novels and stories, notebooks, work drafts and fragments - Dai Smith takes us through the formative years on the...
2008 Winner: Dannie Abse The Presence (Hutchinson) - Loss, grief and love are the themes of this memoir from Dannie Abse, one of Britain's distinguished poets. It is both a record of grief due to the death of his wife Joan in a car accident and a portrait of marriage which lasted more than fifty years.
2008 English language Shortlist
Tom Bullough, The Claude Glass (Sort of Books)- Set in the Welsh Borders in 1980, this title charts an unlikely friendship between two neighbours: Robin, the seven year old son of English hippie sheep farmers, and Andrew, a child so neglected by his impoverished parents that he is left almost mute, seeking solace among the farm dogs.
Nia Wyn, Blue Sky July (Seren / Penguin)- A testament to the power of a mother's unconditional love for her son. Set between the summers of 1998 and 2005 in Cardiff, it tells the story of Nia, whose son Joe suffers a devastating brain injury. It explores the impact of the tragedy on Nia's...
2007 Winner: Lloyd Jones Mr Cassini (Seren) - Packed with literary allusion, this circuitous story of strange travels where past and present merge and dreams threaten to dominate reality is an atypical look at a journey from abuse to personal redemption. This Welsh "Arabian Nights" takes the reader on a trip grounded in the history and literature of Wales, exploring the painful yet humorous reality and dreams of Duxie and Ollie as they encounter famous Welsh heroes and must learn to contend with the terrifying Mr. Cassini himself.
2006: Robert Minhinnick To Babel and Back (Seren) - A deadly trail from the U.S. uranium mines to Saddam Hussein's Iraq is traced in this part documentary, part dream-travel narrative. From Berlin and Buenos Aires to New York and the place that the author's guides insist is the sight of the Tower...
2005: Owen Sheers The Dust Diaries (Faber and Faber)- A few years ago, Owen Sheers stumbled upon a dusty book in his father's study by the extraordinary Arthur Cripps, part-time lyric poet and full-time unorthodox missionary who served in Rhodesia for fifty years from 1902. Sheers' discovery prompts...
2004: Niall Griffiths Stump (Jonathan Cape)
2003: Charlotte Williams Sugar and Slate (Planet)
2002: Stevie Davies The Element of Water (The Women’s Press)
2001: Stephen Knight Mr Schnitzel (Viking)
2000: Sheenagh Pugh Stonelight (Seren)2009 English Language Winner & Runners-up | 2009 English Language Longlist | English Language 2003 -2008 | 2009 Welsh Language Winners & longlist | Welsh Language Winners 2003 to 2008 | back to top
2008 Winner: Gareth Miles Y Proffwyd a'l Ddwy Jesebel
2008 Welsh language Shortlist
Tony Bianchi, Pryfeta (Y Lolfa)
Gareth Miles, Y Proffwyd a’i Ddwy Jesebel (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch)
Ceri Wyn Jones, Dauwynebog (Gomer)
2007: Llwyd Owen Ffydd Gobaith Cariad (Lolfa)
2006: Rhys Evans Gwynfor: Rhag Pob Brad (Y Lolfa)
2005: Caryl Lewis Martha, Jac a Sianco
2004: Jerry Hunter Llwch Cenhedloedd
2003: Angharad Price O! Tyn y Gorchudd