Tir na n-Og English Award Winner

22 May 2009

The prestigious Tir na n-Og English Award for  2009 has been won by Graham Howells for his book for young people,  Merlin’s Magical Creatures  (Pont Books).

The Welsh Books Council has announced the name of the winner of the prestigious Tir na n-Og English Award which recognises the exceptional quality of books with Welsh background for children and young people.

The 2009 English Award was won by Graham Howells for his book for young people,  Merlin’s Magical Creatures,  published by Pont Books. The volume is a directory of magical creatures which inhabit the otherworld just beyond our own.

The award is sponsored by CILIP Wales (The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals). The award was presented to the author at a special reception held at the CILIP Cymru annual conference at Llandrindod, Powys.

Alan Lee, the Oscar winning concept artist for the  Lord of the Rings  film trilogy said in a review of the book:  ‘Merlin would have been proud of this cornucopia of world Welsh wonders.’

Graham Howells was born in Antwerp, Belgium. His father was in the army and the family moved around the world with him. When he was ten, the family moved to Pembroke Dock, where he attended Bush Comprehensive School. He now lives in Llanelli.

He soon discovered that Pembrokeshire was magical and when he went to Art College he found he could take the magic with him.

The first book that he wrote and illustrated was  Merlin Awakes,  Pont Books, in October 2004. He has since written and illustrated a number of books including:  Hiding Hopcyn,  Captain Dan and the Ruby Ann,  Fabulous Celtic Beasts,  Rebecca’s Daughter,  Spellmakers,  Stories of the Stones,  Fairy Tales from Wales.  Many of his books are also available in Welsh.

Graham Howells said,  ‘It was a privilege just to be short-listed alongside the likes of Simon Weston, and Malachy Doyle, so to find out that I’d won was a bit of a shock to say the least. Magic.’

Menna Lloyd Williams, Head of the Children’s Books Department at the Welsh Books Council said,  ‘There was a wealth of books to be considered, reflecting the high standard of books for children. It is with great pleasure that we warmly congratulate the winner and the publisher.’

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