New Welsh Review announces winner of the Rheidol Prize 2023
The winner of the New Welsh Writing Awards 2023: Rheidol Prize for Prose with a Welsh Theme or Setting, judged by New Welsh Review editor Gwen Davies has just been announced.
Mark Blayney, from Cardiff, accepted his prize at a ceremony at Hay Festival this afternoon [Saturday 27 May] for his fictionalised account of the life of Thomas Picton, Invisibility.
Invisibility is a fictionalised account of Thomas Picton’s life, starting with his period as Governor of Trinidad, a role for which he was dubbed the Tyrant of Trinidad, and moving through the viewpoints of those most affected by his violent and unjust exploits.
New Welsh Review editor Gwen Davies said of the novel: “The subject-matter of this fictionalised account of the life of Sir Thomas Picton, the governor known as the Tyrant of Trinidad, is brutal. And it is timely, in this age of backlash against the proper revaluation of history’s darker passages.
“But fiction, as ever, proves itself the best means to understanding unforgivable acts, and Mark Blayney’s ventriloquism and fluid empathy moving between characters and historical figures, gets us close to understanding, if not forgiving.”
Pembrokeshire resident Elizabeth Griffiths came second with In My Father’s House, which moves through the rooms of multiple vicarages that trace one father’s inability to escape himself through alcohol or relocation.
Elizabeth wins a four-night stay at the Nant Writers’ Retreat, at Literature Wales’ Tŷ Newydd in Llanystumdwy.
Sam Lewis from Aberystwyth was placed third for The Signature of Gates – dubbed in its adjudication as ‘an empassioned novella that tackles issue of land, property and possession in rural Wales’ – and wins a two-night stay at Gladstone’s Library in Hawarden.
Congratulations to Mark! In second place we have Elizabeth Griffiths with 'In My Father's House' and Sam Lewis takes third place with 'The Signature of Gates'. pic.twitter.com/ND9C5pDIXX
— New Welsh Review (@newwelshreview) May 27, 2023
The awards were set up in 2015 to champion the best short-form writing (under 30,000 words) and were open to all writers based in the UK and Ireland plus those who live overseas who have been educated in Wales.
The winner of the Rheidol Prize for Prose with a Welsh Theme or Setting in 2021 was Jasmine Donahaye’s Birdsplaining: A Natural History, which was published in January to critical acclaim.
Tim Cooke, who won the Rheidol Prize in 2022 for River, a memoir of dark play, is currently developing his manuscript with editor Gwen Davies.
Meanwhile, Susan Karen Burton’s winning nonfiction book about relations between Wales and Japan, The Transplantable Roots of Catharine Huws Nagashima will be published in 2024
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