Wales Book of the Year Award 2013 Short List

13 May 2013

The annual Wales Book of the Year journey has begun as the 2013 Short List has been announced via a special online broadcast. Using a digital platform for the Short List meant that everyone, whether in Wales or further afield, could celebrate the wealth of literary talent we have here in Wales.

Over one hundred eligible English-language books were submitted for the 2013 Award, from which the following titles have been selected as the Wales Book of the Year 2013 Short List:

Roland Mathias Poetry Prize Short List:

Rhian Edwards,  Clueless Dogs  (Seren)
Deryn Rees-Jones,  Burying of the Wren  (Seren)
Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch,  Banjo  (Picador)

Fiction Short List:

James Smythe,  The Testimony  (Blue Door)
Gee Williams,  A Girl’s Arm  (Salt Publishing)
Matthew Francis,  Singing a Man to Death  (Cinnamon Press)

Creative Non-Fiction Short List:

John Harrison,  Forgotten Footprints  (Parthian)
Jon Gower,  Wales at Water’s Edge  (Gwasg Gomer)
Meic Stephens,  Welsh Lives  (Y Lolfa)

The 2013 Short List features writers at various stages of their literary careers. While James Smythe and Deryn Rees-Jones both appear on the Short List for the first time, as does Rhian Edwards for her debut poetry collection, other writers featured are no strangers to the Award, with John Harrison and Jon Gower both having won the accolade in recent years.

For the first time in the long history of the Award, one writer has reached both the English and Welsh Short List in the same year. This remarkable achievement is one of many for Meic Stephens who is one of Wales’ most celebrated writers and editors. 

The English-language books were judged by writer and business consultant Ffion Hague, popular fantasy novelist Jasper Fforde, and lecturer and poet Richard Marggraf Turley.

Ffion Hague, chair of the English-language judging panel said: "We were faced with a real challenge this year since the standard of entries seems higher than ever.  All three of us were excited to note the variety of the writing submitted, the number of talented new writers, and the broad range of topics, styles and formats of the work.   We believe that yet again, the prize has demonstrated that Welsh writing is diverse, vibrant and, at its best, highly accomplished.

The shortlisted books, in our view, represent the best writing in each category aimed at a general market.  There were examples of excellent writing in more niche categories, but we feel strongly that our eventual winner, our Wales Book of the Year, should have breadth of appeal and we have made our choices accordingly.  We were particularly pleased by the strength of the poetry category but we feel that the three shortlists are equally impressive and that all nine books featured are real contenders for the prize.  We’ll have our work cut out to decide the winners in July!"

Chief Executive of Literature Wales, Lleucu Siencyn, said: "The Wales Book of the Year Award gives readers and writers across Wales and beyond the opportunity to experience the richness of Welsh literature. By using a digital platform for the Short List we are able to share our strong literary heritage with even more people no matter where they are in the world."

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