Conran and Griffiths on Wales Book of the Year shortlist

Conran and Griffiths on Wales Book of the Year shortlist

Alys Conran and Niall Griffiths are among writers shortlisted for the Wales Book of the Year award, which includes a new category for children's books for 2020.

Wales Book of the Year is a national prize that "celebrates outstanding literary talent" across genres in both English and Welsh. A total prize fund of £14,000 will be distributed between the winning writers.

This year's English language shortlist sees Dignity by Alys Conran (Weidenfeld & Nicolson), Broken Ghost by Niall Griffiths (Jonathan Cape) and Stillicide by Cynan Jones (Granta) listed for the Rhys Davies Trust Fiction Award. The Creative Non-Fiction Award sees Brando’s Bride by Sarah Broughton (Parthian), Where There’s a Will by Emily Chappell (Profile Books) and On the Red Hill by Mike Parker (William Heinemann) compete. 

Listed for the Poetry Awards are Fur Coats in Tahiti by Jeremy Over (Carcanet), Erato by Deryn Rees-Jones (Seren) and Footnotes to Water by Zoë Skoulding (Seren).

In the new Children and Young People Award category is The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson (Usborne), Butterflies for Grandpa Joe by Nicola Davies (Barrington Stoke) and Max Kowalski  Didn’t Mean It, by Susie Day (Puffin). 

Judging the English-language books this year are author and illustrator Ken Wilson-Max; author, teacher and translator Sampurna Chattarji; and Fulbright scholar, senior lecturer and Hay Festival Fellow Tiffany Murray.

Chattarji said: "It's been both a joy and a challenge being on the panel for WBOTY 2020. The quality of the poetry was consistently high, with a huge range of voices and concerns, so whittling the list down was quite a task! I'm very happy with the shortlists that we arrived at, across the categories.  The entire process of reading, thinking about and discussing poetry, fiction, non-fiction and children's books with my co-judges has only deepened my long-term relationship with Wales, its literatures, and my appreciation of its commitment to a robust community of writers and readers, in English as well as in Welsh."

The Welsh language shortlist is dominated by publications from Y Lolfa. For the Gwobr Farddoniaeth (Poetry Award) Hwn ydy’r llais, tybad? by Caryl Bryn (Cyhoeddiadau'r Stamp), Ar Ben y Lôn by Idris Reynolds (Gwasg Gomer) and Pentre Du, Pentre Gwyn by Myrddin ap Dafydd (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch) are in the running.

The Gwobr Ffuglen (Fiction Award) sees Iaith y Nefoedd by Llwyd Owen (Y Lolfa), Gwirionedd by Elinor Wyn Reynolds (Gwasg y Bwthyn) and Babel by Ifan Morgan Jones (Y Lolfa) compete. 

Hanes Rhyfeddol Cymry Lerpwl by D Ben Rees (Y Lolfa),  Merched y Chwyldro by Gwenan Gibbard (Cyhoeddiadau Sain), and Byd Gwynn, Cofiant T Gwynn Jones by Alan Llwyd (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas) are listed for  the Gwobr Ffeithiol Greadigol (Creative Non-Fiction) category. 

For the new Gwobr Plant a Phobl Ifanc (Children and Young People Award) Chwedlau’r Copa Coch: Yr Horwth by Elidir Jones (Atebol Cyf), Genod Gwych a Merched Mentrus by Medi Jones-Jackson (Y Lolfa) and Llyfr Adar Mawr y Plant by Onwy Gower (Y Lolfa) are listed. 

On the Welsh-language panel this year are journalist and former editor of BBC Radio Cymru and BBC Cymru Fyw Betsan Powys; cartoonist, author and presenter Siôn Tomos Owen; poet and Head of Law and Criminology at Aberystwyth University Emyr Lewis; and singer and composer Casi Wyn. 

Lleucu Siencyn, c.e.o. of Literature Wales, said: “We’re delighted to be collaborating with BBC Cymru Wales on this year’s announcements. We may not be able to host our usual glittering award ceremony this summer, but through this partnership we can bring the excitement and the prestige of Wales Book of the Year into the nation’s homes. 

"On behalf of Literature Wales, I’d like to extend our sincere congratulations to the immensely talented writers who have reached the 2020 Shortlist. If you haven’t done so already, grab your copies, get reading, and let your mind wander across the world and through time with these great books from Wales.”

The English-language winners will be announced on the BBC Radio Wales Arts Show on 31st July from 6 p.m., where representatives from the judging panel and Literature Wales will join presenter Nicola Heywood Thomas. 

The Welsh-language winners will be announced in a series of programmes on BBC Radio Cymru from 30th July to 1st August as part of the AmGen festival of culture, in partnership with BBC Cymru Wales and the National Eisteddfod of Wales.