Congratulations to Alys Conran whose debut novel Pigeon won readers and judges over to take the audience, category and overall prize at the Wales Book of the Year award ceremony in Cardiff last night. The novel, which was also shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize earlier in the year was the first to be released simultaneously in English and Welsh (in translation by Sian Northey as Pijin).
Alys’s novel was first awarded the Rhys Davies Trust Fiction Award before moving on to win the main English-language award securing an overall prize of £4,000 as well as a specially commissioned trophy designed and created by the artist Angharad Pearce Jones. The prize was presented to Alys by the Chair of the Arts Council of Wales, Phil George. The readers of Wales agreed wholeheartedly with the judges’ choice this year, as the novel also won the public vote for the Wales Arts Review People’s Choice Award.
Pigeon is a journey through the uneasy half-forgotten memories of childhood; a story about wishful thinking and the power of language.
Congratulations to Alys Conran (Pigeon) and Peter Lord (The Tradition) who have both had their latest books shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year 2017, as announced on BBC Radio Wales this morning.
The Wales Book of the Year Award, administered by Literature Wales, is presented to the best Welsh-language and English-language works first published in the preceding year in the fields of creative writing and literary criticism in three categories: Poetry, Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction.
The English-language poetry category, sponsored by The Brecknock Society is entitled The Roland Mathias Poetry Award. The English-language fiction category is sponsored by The Rhys Davies Trust, and is entitled The Rhys Davies Trust Fiction Award. The English-language judging panel this year are: award-winning author Tyler Keevil; Senior Lecturer Dimitra Fimi and the Costa Poetry Prize winner Jonathan Edwards.
Jonathan Edwards said: 'This shortlist offers a real celebration of just how exciting, vibrant and diverse literature in Wales currently is. There are books here for everyone: poetry collections which are novelistic in their scope and ambition, novels whose innovations in language might be traditionally expected of poetry. There are biographies which don't so much show you a life as let you amble round in a world, reference books which can put six centuries on your coffee table. To be part of the announcement of this list is to be proud to be Welsh; the country which moved these writers to such astonishing achievement.'
Lleucu Siencyn, Chief Executive of Literature Wales said: 'It’s one of the literary highlights of the year, and we at Literature Wales have been filled with excitement for the release of this year's Short List. With the announcement taking place during Libraries Week, we hope that readers will head to their local library to seek out these wonderful titles to enjoy the wealth and variety of modern Welsh literature. Readers will travel from the shadow of slate mountains to 60s London; they’ll be lost at sea; they’ll experience the pain of radiation therapy; will learn about the history of Welsh art, and journey through themes of loss, myth and memory.'
The winners of this prestigious award will be announced at an Award Ceremony held in The Tramshed, Cardiff on the evening of Monday 13 November, where a total prize fund of £12,000 is up for grabs. Each category winner will receive a prize of £1,000, and the main award winners in each language will receive an additional £3,000. Each winner will also receive a specially commissioned trophy created by the artist Angharad Pearce Jones. Tickets for the Award Ceremony are £6 and can be purchased online from http://tramshedcardiff.com.
At the Award Ceremony both the People’s Choice Award and Gwobr Barn y Bobl (the Welsh-language people’s prize) will also be presented to the reading public’s favorite title from the Short List. Visit Wales Arts Review to vote for your favorite English-language title.