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Literature Wales announces shortlist for Wales Book of the Year

21 May 2023 5 minute read
English and Welsh language shortlisted titles for Wales Book of the Year 2023

Literature Wales has announced the 2023 Wales Book of the Year Shortlist.

The list, which includes 12 books in all, was announced on the Lynn Bowles show on BBC Radio Wales, in the company of judge Mike Parker and Literature Wales’ Executive Director, Claire Furlong.

Awarding over four categories in both Welsh and English – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction and Children & Young People – Wales Book of the Year celebrates some of the best literary works in the previous calendar year.

The Welsh-language shortlist was announced on the Ffion Dafis show on BBC Radio Cymru earlier in the day.

Wales Book of the Year has been run by Literature Wales since 2004, and over the years, some of Wales’ most prominent, long-standing writers, as well as new and emerging talents have dazzled the judges.

The Wales Book of the Year Award is an essential part of Literature Wales’ programme of activity, and help fulfil its aim of celebrating and representing Wales’ writers, heritage and rich literary culture.

The English-language Shortlist

The Poetry Award

As If To Sing, Paul Henry (Seren Poetry Wales Press Ltd)

The language of bees, Rae Howells (Parthian Books)

A Marginal Sea, Zoë Skoulding (Carcanet Press)

The Creative Non-Fiction Award

And… a memoir of my mother, Isabel Adonis (Black Bee Books)   
The Sound of Being Human: How Music Shapes Our Lives
, Jude Rogers (Weidenfeld and Nicolson)

Original Sins, Matt Rowland-Hill (Chatto & Windus)

The Rhys Davies Trust Fiction Award

This Is Not Who We Are, Sophie Buchaillard (Seren Poetry Wales Press Ltd)

Fannie, Rebecca F. John (Honno Ltd.)

Drift, Caryl Lewis (Doubleday – Transworld, Penguin Random House)

The Children & Young People Award

The Mab, Various Authors (Unbound)

The Last Firefox, Lee Newbery (Penguin Random House Children’s)

When the War Came Home, Lesley Parr (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

The Welsh-language Shortlist

The Poetry Award

Tosturi, Menna Elfyn (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas)

Y Lôn Hir Iawn, Osian Wyn Owen (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas)

Anwyddoldeb, Elinor Wyn Reynolds (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas)

The Creative Non-fiction Award

Sgen i’m Syniad – Snogs, Secs, Sens, Gwenllian Ellis (Y Lolfa)

Cylchu Cymru, Gareth Evans Jones (Y Lolfa)

Cerdded y Caeau, Rhian Parry (Y Lolfa)

The Fiction Award

Pumed Gainc y Mabinogi, Peredur Glyn (Y Lolfa)

Rhyngom, Sioned Erin Hughes (Y Lolfa)

Pridd, Llŷr Titus (Gwasg y Bwthyn)

The Children & Young People Award

Dwi Eisiau Bod yn Ddeinosor, Luned Aaron a Huw Aaron (Atebol)

Byd Bach Dy Hun, Sioned Medi Evans (Y Lolfa)

Powell, Manon Steffan Ros (Y Lolfa)

The Judges

An independent panel of judges are appointed to read, discuss, and select a shortlist every year.

This year’s English-language judging panel includes BAFTA-winning actress and writer Emily Burnett; author and teacher Emma Smith-Barton; poet and editor Kristian Evans; and former Wales Book of the Year category winner, writer Mike Parker.

The Welsh-language judges are award-winning poet, author, and editor Ceri Wyn Jones; writer and winner of Wales Book of the Year 2021 Megan Angharad Hunter; former comedy commissioner, author and producer Sioned Wiliam; and Mudiad Meithrin trustee and diversity and inclusion promoter Savanna Jones.

Judge Mike Parker said: “From fact to fiction, poetry to prose, the standard of this year’s Wales Book of the Year shortlist is extraordinarily high.

“To arrive at it, we had to lose wonderful books in every single category – it was a very hard-fought battle, and a supremely intense discussion.  Picking the winners will be an even tougher challenge!”

Literature Wales’ Executive Director, Claire Furlong, said:As one of the highlights of the Welsh literary calendar, it’s a privilege to share the Wales Book of the Year shortlist and celebrate the depth and variety of fantastic Welsh writing.

“We must wait a fair few weeks before the winners are announced, so if you’ve not done so already, I urge you to read these wonderful books, and wherever you may be – the library, the office, at the school gates – discuss them, celebrate them, and encourage others to do the same.”

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The Next Steps

For the first time in four years, Literature Wales is hosting a live ceremony to celebrate the writers and their books at The Tramshed in Cardiff on Thursday 13 July. A total of £14,000 in prizes will be distributed amongst the winners.

The winner, or winners, of each category will receive a prize of £1,000 and the main winners will receive an additional £3,000.

Each winner will also receive an iconic Wales Book of the Year trophy, designed by artist and blacksmith Angharad Pearce Jones.

The books which top the public vote will also be announced at the Awards Ceremony.

The People’s Choice prize is organised by Wales Arts Review, and the Barn y Bobl prize is organised by Golwg360.

Literature Wales is grateful for the support of the award’s sponsors and partners: Arts Council of Wales, Welsh Government, The Rhys Davies Trust, Books Council of Wales, Wales Arts Review, Golwg360, and BBC Cymru Wales.

To find out more about the award and those books which have reached the shortlist, visit the Wales Book of the Year page on Literature Wales’ website.

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