The shortlists for this year’s English and Welsh language Wales Book of the Year Awards have been announced reflecting the “incredible breadth” of the country’s literary scene.
Literature Wales presents the awards each year to the best poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction. Each category winner walks away with £1,000 while a main award winner in each language gets an additional £3,000.
In English, Insistence by Ailbhe Darcy (Bloodaxe Books) Salacia by Mari Ellis Dunning (Parthian Books) and Gen by Jonathan Edwards (Seren) compete for the Roland Mathias Poetry Award.
The Aberystwyth University Fiction Award shortlist features Arrest Me, for I Have Run Away by Stevie Davies (Parthian Books), West by Carys Davies (Granta Publications) and Sal by Mick Kitson (Canongate Books).
Moneyland by Oliver Bullough (Profile Books), The Light in the Dark: A Winter Journal by Horatio Clare (Elliott & Thompson) and Having a Go at the Kaiser: A Welsh Family at War, by Gethin Matthews (University of Wales Press) are up for the Creative Non-Fiction Award.
Judge Louise Holmwood Marshall, head of the English and creative writing department of Aberystwyth University, said: “The range and quality of the entries demonstrates, yet again, the incredible talent of Welsh writers and the cultural contribution that authors from and of Wales make to the country’s long-established literary heritage. The 2019 shortlist illustrates not only an incredible breadth and variety of writing but also the significance of the stories of Wales to a global readership.”
In the Welsh language, the Gwobr Farddoniaeth poetry shortlist features Twt Lol by Emyr Lewis (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch), Cyrraedd a cherddi eraill by Alan Llwyd (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas) and Stafell fy Haul by Manon Rhys (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas).
Ynys Fadog by Jerry Hunter (Y Lolfa), Llyfr Glas Nebo by Manon Steffan Ros (Y Lolfa) and Esgyrn by Heiddwen Thomas (Y Lolfa) are all in line for the Gwobr Ffuglen Prifysgol Aberystwyth fiction prize.
In non-fiction, the Gwobr Ffeithiol-Greadigol shortlist has Cymru mewn 100 Gwrthrych by Andrew Green (Gwasg Gomer), Cymru Ddu a'r Ddalen Wen by Lisa Sheppard (Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru) and Rhyddhau'r Cranc by Malan Wilkinson (Y Lolfa).
Lleucu Siencyn, chief executive of Literature Wales, said: “These exceptional titles encourage readers to explore and consider some of life’s biggest questions. Mental health and identity – both personal and national – flow through these selections. This is contemporary Welsh writing at its very finest.”
The winners will be announced at an Award Ceremony held at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on 20th June. At the event, both the People’s Choice Award and Gwobr Barn y Bobl - the Welsh-language people’s prize - will also be presented to the reading public’s favourite title from the shortlists.