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Welsh-language Tir na n-Og Awards winners announced

29 May 2024 6 minute read
Winners in the Welsh-language categories of the 2024 Tir na n-Og Awards

The winners in the Welsh-language categories of the 2024 Tir na n-Og Awards were announced today, 29 May, in a special lunchtime ceremony at the Urdd Eisteddfod Maldwyn in Meifod.

The winner in the primary age category is Jac a’r Angel  by Daf James, and the winner in the secondary age category is Astronot yn yr Atig by Megan Angharad Hunter.

The two winning novels celebrate the power of imagination to help us navigate difficult times and experiences.

Primary age category winner

Jac a’r Angel by Daf James, illustrated by Bethan Mai (Y Lolfa)

A humorous, charming and sensitive novel – Jac a’r Angel is a lively Christmas story. Children and adults alike can enjoy the ‘coming of age’ story of an innocent boy who uses his imagination to overcome grief and the dark forces of life.

Daf James said: “I’ve been aware of the Tir na n-Og Awards since learning to read as a child, as so many of the authors I enjoyed had won the award: authors such as T. Llew Jones, J. Selwyn Lloyd, Irma Chilton, Gwenno Hywyn, Penri Jones, Jenny Nimmo… the list is never-ending!

“It’s a really important award that celebrates and draws much-deserved attention to books for children and young people, and being able to join the list of my childhood heroes is a dream come true for me.

“Though I am mostly a dramatist, books – not plays – were my first literary passion. Being able to escape into the world of a story was a balm to the soul for me as an eccentric young boy, and I have longed to write a novel since then.

“Becoming a dad spurred me on; I wanted to write a story for my children and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for being an inspiration; but I also wish to thank those authors who came before me, and made me believe, like Jac in Jac a’r Angel, that anything is possible when your imagination is alight.”

Secondary age category winner

Astronot yn yr Atig by Megan Angharad Hunter (Y Lolfa)

Rosie is mad about the TV series Yr Estronos and about astronauts, and when a spaceship lands in her back garden, she cannot believe her luck. This is a novel about friendship, about time-travelling, about growing up in a complex and difficult world, and about pushing the boundaries of the imagination to the extreme.

Megan Angharad Hunter said: “There are no words to describe how much this honour means to me. As a child and during my teens I always kept an eye on the Tir na n-Og Awards, so winning it – and especially winning it for a book that is so close to my heart – is an amazingly surreal experience.

“A novel like Astronot yn yr Atig would have been a big comfort to me when I was in school and so I hope it will be a comfort to children in Wales today as well, while taking them on an exciting and imaginative journey through space!

“The Tir na n-Og Awards are so important because children’s books don’t get nearly enough attention, especially original Welsh-language books, which is ironic because we need children to read in order to ensure there will be adult Welsh readers in the future!

“There are many reasons why I think children’s books are more important, possibly, than books for adults, and this is just one of them.”

Celebration

Pupils from Ysgol Pennant, Penybont Fawr, and Gwenno Wigley from Ysgol Bro Hyddgen, Machynlleth played a special role in today’s ceremony, performing extracts from the winning novels for the authors and audience.

Established in 1976, the annual Tir na n-Og Awards celebrate the best books for children and young people in Wales. They are organised by the Books Council of Wales and sponsored by CILIP Cymru Wales.

Jamie Finch, Chair of CILIP Cymru Wales, said: “On behalf of CILIP Cymru Wales, we are delighted once again to support the annual Tir na n-Og Awards, which showcase some of the most inspiring and entertaining books penned for children and young adults in Wales.

We are grateful to the Books Council of Wales for organising these awards, and, of course, to the judging panels who have the unenviable task of picking the winners.”

The other shortlisted titles in the Welsh-language categories were:

Primary age category

  • Mari a Mrs Cloch by Caryl Lewis, illustrated by Valériane Leblond (Y Lolfa)
  • Wyneb yn Wyneb by Sioned Wyn Roberts (Atebol)
  • Y Gragen by Casia Wiliam, illustrated by Naomi Bennet (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas)

Secondary age category

  • Fi ydy Fi by Sian Eirian Lewis, illustrated by Celyn Hunt (Y Lolfa)
  • Sêr y Nos yn Gwenu by Casia Wiliam (Y Lolfa)

Readers’ Choice

Also announced today were the winners of the Welsh-language Readers’ Choice Awards (Dewis y Darllenwyr). These are special awards chosen by children and young people who took part in the Tir na n-Og Shadowing Scheme and nominated their own winners from the shortlisted titles in each category.

The winner of the Welsh-language primary category Readers’ Choice Award is Mari a Mrs Clochby Caryl Lewis, illustrated by Valériane Leblond (Y Lolfa)

The winner of the Welsh-language secondary category Readers’ Choice Award is Sêr y Nos yn Gwenu by Casia Wiliam (Y Lolfa)

Helgard Krause, Chief Executive of the Books Council said: “Warmest congratulations to Daf James and to Megan Angharad Hunter on winning this year’s Welsh-language Tir na n-Og Awards, and congratulations also to the winners of the Readers’ Choice Awards – Caryl Lewis and Casia Wiliam.

“Thank you to everybody involved in this year’s awards, with special thanks to the librarians, teachers and booksellers who play such a vital role helping young readers discover these wonderful books.”

Where the River Takes Us by Lesley Parr (published by Bloomsbury) is the winner of both the English-language category, and the English-language Readers’ Choice Award this year. The announcement was made at a ceremony at the CILIP Cymru Wales conference in Cardiff on 17 May.

More information about the Tir na n-Og Awards and titles can be found on the Books Council website.


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