Conran wins Wales Book of the Year

Conran wins Wales Book of the Year

Pigeon by Alys Conran (Parthian) has won the Wales Book of the Year 2017.

Published by Cardigan-based publisher Parthian, Pigeon is described as a journey through the uneasy half-forgotten memories of childhood, and is a story about wishful thinking and the power of language.

Conran was presented with an overall prize of £4,000 as well as a specially commissioned trophy designed and created by artist Angharad Pearce Jones by the chair of the Arts Council of Wales, Phil George.


Alys Conran (© Camera Sioned) and Pigeon

Conran's novel was first awarded the Rhys Davies Trust Fiction Award before moving on to win the main English-language award. The novel also won the public vote for the Wales Arts Review People’s Choice Award.

The winner of the Roland Mathias Poetry Award was John Freeman for his collection What Possessed Me (Worple Press) which explores childhood memories and lifelong relationships with humour, poignancy, and preternatural clarity.

The winner of the Creative Non-Fiction Award was Peter Lord’s The Tradition (Parthian), which surveys the evolution of the visual culture of Wales from the Renaissance to the end of the twentieth century in this new, single-volume history. The category winners each received a prize of £1,000.

Jonathan Freeman and Peter Lord © Camera Sioned

On the English-language judging panel this year are award-winning author, Tyler Keevil; senior lecturer Dimitra Fimi; and Costa Poetry Prize winner Jonathan Edwards.

Edwards said: "This year’s winning books are a real celebration of just how exciting, vibrant and diverse literature in Wales currently is. These writers are great talents who have succeeded in proving that Wales is a world-class contributor to literature.”

The winner of the Welsh-language main award was Idris Reynolds for his volume of recollections about the late poet and former Archdruid of Wales, Dic Jones, Cofio Dic (Gwasg Gomer). The award was presented by the new Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Lord Dafydd El is-Thomas AM .

Meanwhile Aneirin Karadog's Bylchau (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas) was presented with the Welsh-language Poetry Award, and Caryl Lewis won the Welsh-language Fiction Award for Y Gwreiddyn (Y Lolfa).

Aneirin Karadog and Caryl Lewis © Camera Sioned

The Welsh-language judging panel for 2017 were critic and reviewer, Catrin Beard; author and poet, Mari George; and Eirian James, owner of the award-winning independent bookshop, Palas Print in Caernarfon.

The Gwobr Barn y Bobl Golwg360 (Welsh-language People’s Choice Award) was awarded to Guto Dafydd, who "captured the imagination of the reading public" with his novel, Ymbelydredd (Y Lolfa).

The winners were announced at an award ceremony held in The Tramshed, Cardiff on Monday (13th November), hosted by BBC Radio Wales’ Eleri Siôn.

Lleucu Siencyn, chief executive of Literature Wales, said: "The Wales Book of the Year ceremony is one of the most significant events in the Welsh literary calendar, and a celebration of the very best writers in both Welsh and English. Congratulations to all of this year's winners."

Guto Dafydd © Camera Sioned