Author Scoops Prestigious Award for the Sixth Time

28 May 2015

In a ceremony held in the main pavilion of the Urdd Eisteddfod at Caerphilly, it was announced that books by authors Gareth F. Williams and Caryl Lewis are the winners of the Welsh-language Tir na n-Og Awards, 2015.

Remarkably, this is the sixth time for Gareth F. Williams to win one of the awards and this year he –  together with his co-winner, author Caryl Lewis  –  had two books included on the shortlist.

The winner of the Primary schools category is Caryl Lewis for her book  Straeon Gorau’r Byd,  published by Gwasg Carreg Gwalch. It is an eclectic collection of stories from various parts of the world, adapted and brought up to date by Caryl, with each story accompanied by intricate drawings.

Caryl noted that the inspiration for the book stemmed from her childhood, when she enjoyed listening to her mother reading bedtime stories to her every evening.

"One of my favourite childhood memories is sitting on my bed every night with my mother reading a story. Safe in her arms, the bed became an aeroplane or a pirate ship or a giant butterfly as we sped across the world through the medium of stories. "Now that I am a mother myself, story time is very important to us as a family. That is why I decided to re-read stories from all parts of the world, and to select the best to be included in Straeon Gorau’r Byd. I read stories from Russia, Japan, France and India, before selecting those that had something new to say about the world. I chose one story about a naughty little girl from Wales, called Aderyn. But is she actually naughty – or clever? Another story tells of the kindness of a little boy from Kazakhstan. And I chose a story about a princess who decides not to marry the prince because he is a lazy couch potato – and she is perfectly happy to walk alone towards the sunset."

The winner of the Secondary schools category is Gareth F. Williams, who is originally from Porthmadog, but who now lives at Beddau, near Pontypridd. His novel, Y Gêm, was based on historical events that occurred during the First World War, and the football match played on the first Christmas of the war on No Man’s Land between the soldiers in the trenches. The book, published by Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, follows the friendship between two young soldiers in the Belgian trenches at the beginning of the war.

Gareth, who won the award for the first time in 1991, said: "I was inspired to write this novel by the events held last year to note the centenary of the beginning of the First World War. Although football plays a major part in  Y Gêm,  it is in fact a novel about friendship, love and longing, about lives wasted, and about the foolishness of man. The effects of the war can be seen clearly – not only on the soldiers, but also on the ones who stayed at home, namely their parents, friends, wives and girlfriends. Y Gêm ends almost at the threshold of war, on Boxing Day 1914, when it was supposed to have ended. The cruel irony was that almost four more years would pass before the bells of peace pealed throughout the land."

The awards are presented annually by the Welsh Books Council to the authors of the best books for children and young people published during the previous year.The awards were established in 1976, and over the years they have been presented to some of the best authors of children’s books in Wales.

Elwyn Jones, Chief Executive of the Welsh Books Council, said: "It is a privilege to congratulate Gareth F. Williams on winning the Tir na n-Og Award for the sixth time – a record that confirms his talent for writing captivating stories for children and young people. This is the second time for Caryl Lewis to win the award, and she too has established herself as an author of excellent books for children and adults. The standard of the books on the shortlist was particularly high this year, reflecting the wide variety of the titles published.

We warmly congratulate both authors, together with their publisher, Carreg Gwalch, on their success." The Tir na n-Og Awards are sponsored by CILIP Cymru/Wales (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals), together with Cymdeithas Lyfrau Ceredigion.

https://youtu.be/dRfJ_Ya1GxI (Gareth F. Williams)
https://youtu.be/uRq2MpX5Gh8 (Caryl Lewis)

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