YA author Hayley Long has won the Tir na n-Og Children’s Literature Award for The Nearest Faraway Place (Hot Key Books).
Organised by the Welsh Books Council and sponsored by CILIP Wales, the award celebrates the best English-language title with an “authentic Welsh background”.
The Nearest Faraway Place is set in both Aberystwyth and New York and is about two boys, Dylan and Griff, who attempt to overcome a tragic accident which changed their lives forever. The story "conveys an authentic sense of Aberystwyth, capturing the town convincingly, and presents an external view on what it is to be Welsh in today’s society", said judging chair Gordon Bell, who added: "Griff’s own struggle to come to terms with the Welsh language and culture are realistically portrayed.”
Long studied English at Aberystwyth University and returned to the town to pick up the award, beating off competition from five other shortlisted books, four of which were published by independent Welsh companies Gomer and Firefly. The fifth was released by Walker Books.
Helgard Krause, chief executive of the Welsh Books Council, said: “There was a wealth of books to be considered for this year’s award, reflecting the quality and range of titles available for children and young adults. It is with great pleasure that we warmly congratulate Hayley Long and Hot Key Books on their achievement."
This year’s shortlist in full:
Santa’s Greatest Gift by Tudur Dylan Jones (Gomer)
King of the Sky by Nicola Davies (Walker)
St. David’s Day is Cancelled! by Wendy White (Gomer)
Gaslight by Eloise Williams (Firefly)
The Jewelled Jaguar by Sharon Tregenza (Firefly)