J L George and Peter Goulding have won this year's New Welsh Writing Awards, bagging £1,000 each and feedback from Curtis Brown literary agent Cathryn Summerhayes.
The Aberystwyth University Prize for a Dystopian Novella went to Pontypool-based author J L George with The Word, a "pacey dystopian novella about a teenage duo, Rhydian and Jonno, which balances big concepts such as ethics, language, propaganda and control with a human story of flight and finding love and trust where you can."
Norfolk's Peter Goulding took home the Rheidol Prize for Writing with a Welsh Theme or Setting with On Slate, a "tautly laid down account of how the quick-drying slate quarries of North Wales offered play, purpose and place to an eclectic, visionary group of jobless climbers in Thatcher’s 1980s."
The duo were presented with their prizes at Hay Festival this afternoon (Friday 24th May), winning a cheque for £1,000 as advance against e-publication by New Welsh Review under their New Welsh Rarebyte imprint and a positive critique by Literary Agent of the Year Summerhayes.
Second prize went to Penarth resident Sarah Tanburn in the Rheidol category for Hawks of Dust and Wine and Abergavenny’s Rhiannon Lewis for The Significance of Swans; both authors will receive a £300 voucher towards a week-long residential course at Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre in Gwynedd, north Wales.
Penarth scored again with Richard John Parfitt who came third with Tales from the Riverbank in the Rheidol category while Cardiff’s Rosey Brown was placed third in the dystopian novella category with Adrift – both Welsh writers received a voucher for a two-night stay at Gladstone’s Library in Flintshire, north Wales. The top six shortlisted authors also received a one-year subscription to New Welsh Review and a copy of the summer 2019 issue. In addition, New Welsh Review will publish the highly commended and shortlisted nominees for publication in the autumn and winter 2019 editions of its creative magazine New Welsh Reader with an associated standard fee.
New Welsh Review editor Gwen Davies once again judged the Awards with help from students from Aberystwyth University for the dystopian novella category and co-judged with the prize-winning Ceredigion author Cynan Jones for the Rheidol Prize.
Davies said: “With regard to the Rheidol Prize winner, Peter Goulding’s nonfiction account of Snowdonia’s rock climbing on slate movement was a surprise, yet instant love. It is humorous, well researched, extremely engaging, has great present descriptions, a fantastic sense of place, breadth in terms of bringing alive the 80s zeitgeist with wider cultural and social reflections and conveys the delight of the sport to the non-enthusiast. In the Dystopian Prize, J L George’s The Word manages to place at the heart of her ambitious novella, which explores ideas about propaganda, communication and cohesion, a touching and compelling story of friendship between two teenage boys on the run.”