Welsh TV director Griff Rowland has won Welsh children's literary awards, the Tir na n-Og Awards for his independently published, debut YA book The Search For Mister Lloyd (Candy Jar Books).
The Tir na n-Og Award celebrates new literary titles "with an authentic Welsh background" written in both English and Welsh.
Rowland, a director on such soaps as Coronation Street and Hollyoaks, yesterday (26th May) claimed the 2016 Tir na n-Og Award during the CILIP Cymru Library and Information Conference. It follows the shortlist announcement that was made in April, said to have shown "a formidable wealth of talent and passion for literature across Wales".
Rowland, author of the winning title and also director of popular television shows Hinterland and Holby City, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that The Search for Mister Lloyd has been recognised for such an important Welsh award.
“Setting the story in north Wales felt almost inevitable to me as a writer. The Welsh landscape itself, as well as the language and the culture, has been influential to me in all my work. This is an achievement that I am very proud of – it’s a real honour to receive this incredible award for my first book.”
The Search For Mister Lloyd is set against the background of the Welsh town of Bangor, which influence "runs deeply throughout the narrative", according to judges, while "effortlessly weav[ing] Welsh phrases and names into the narrative". It begins when 11-year-old Mostyn Price’s beloved racing pigeon, Mister Lloyd, fails to return from his very first race. It is about a young boy "determined to conquer his sense of loss" after losing his father years earlier.
Rowland's publisher, Hayley Cox, at Cardiff independent Candy Jar Books, said: “The Search for Mister Lloyd is the second of our titles to be shortlisted for the Tir na n-Og Awards, but the first to win! We are delighted that Mostyn and Mister Lloyd have won over the hearts of the awarding panel, and we’re certain they will win the hearts of many more readers to come.”
She added: “As an independent publishing company, we take a lot of pride not only in producing quality books but, just as importantly, telling engaging stories that people love by talented authors like Griff Rowland. We are all extremely proud of Griff.”
Previous winners include Merlin's Magical Creatures (Gomer Press) by Graham Howells, The Grey King (Red Fox) by Susan Cooper, The Candle Man (Red Fox) by Catherine Fisher, Cowgirl (Nosy Crow) by Giancarlo Gemin, Welsh Cakes and Custard (Gomer Press) by Wendy White, Tree of Leaf and Flame (Gomer Press) by Daniel Morden and Full Moon (Gomer Press) by Jenny Sullivan.
Chief executive of the Books Council Elwyn Jones said: “The Tir na n-Og Awards, for Welsh and English books from Wales, have an obvious role in exhibiting and promoting the best in the field.
“It’s more important than ever that publications for children and young people are exciting, attractive and of the highest quality. This is the way to attract children and to ensure that they become lifetime readers.”