First-Time Author Scoops Tir na n-Og Award

16 May 2014

Carmarthenshire-based author Wendy White has won the annual Tir na n-Og award with  Welsh Cakes and Custard, her début novel for children.

This award – organised by the Welsh Books Council, and sponsored by CILIP Cymru/Wales – celebrates the best English-language title with an authentic Welsh background. In a prestigious event held at Cardiff Central Library on 15 May, the award was presented to Wendy White for her book Welsh Cakes and Custard (published by Pont/Gomer).

Welsh Cakes and Custard, illustrated by Helen Flook, is a charming series of stories about two young children, Betsi Wyn and Emyr Rhys, who encounter new and sometimes alarming things for the first time. Both children spend a great deal of time with their grandparents, who are positive and encouraging role models for the youngsters.

The panel of judges agreed that Welsh Cakes and Custard skilfully showed aspects of contemporary life in Wales, introducing unforgettable characters in Betsi Wyn and Emyr Rhys, who are brimming with personality.

Lorna Egan, Chair of the Tir na n-Og English-language Panel, stated of the winner: "She is a perceptive author who understands young children, and her book will educate and entertain youngsters and sharing adults. Text and visual elements work well together, and the joyous illustrations by Helen Flook, the inclusion of both a recipe and traditional song lyrics in Welsh and English, produce a gem of a book which is warm, funny and curriculum-friendly."

Wendy White, a former teacher at Ysgol y Castell, Kidwelly, said: "I’m delighted to win the Tir na n-Og Award. It’s a great honour for me to win this important award with my first book, as it will certainly encourage me to keep on writing. I love writing about children, so it would be wonderful to have a second book published about Betsi Wyn and Emyr Rhys. I’m also writing a story for young adults and grown-ups about a six-year-old boy who is having a difficult time at home."

The Tir na n-Og English Award – which recognises the exceptional quality of books with a Welsh background for children and young people – is sponsored by CILIP Cymru/Wales (The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals).

The award-winning titles for the Primary and Secondary Welsh-language categories will be revealed at a ceremony held during the 2014 Meirionnydd Urdd Eisteddfod.

Elwyn Jones, Chief Executive of the Welsh Books Council, said: "A number of exciting books were considered for this year’s Tir na n-Og Award, reflecting the quality and range of titles available for children. It is with great pleasure that we warmly congratulate Wendy White and Pont Books on their achievement."

YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sObHh0cMUmA

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