Independent publisher Y Lolfa dominates two categories of the Welsh-language Wales Book of the Year shortlists, while last year’s winning publisher of the English-language Wales Book of the Year, fellow indie Parthian, has two books in the running for the English-Language prize.
Administered by Literature Wales, the Wales Book of the Year Awards are presented annually to the best Welsh and English-language works in the fields of creative writing and literary criticism in three categories: Poetry, Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction. The 2018 shortlist is described as taking readers on many voyages of discovery, from the frost-leaden Baltic Sea to a haunted house on the outskirts of fictional Aberdyddgu, to the misleadingly silent forests of northern Ontario.
Shortlisted from Parthian are Hummingbird by Tristan Hughes and Bad Ideas\Chemicals by Lloyd Markham, which are both in the running for the Fiction Award. Battling against them will be Honno title, Light Switches are My Kryptonite by Crystal Jeans.
Up for the Roland Mathias Poetry Award are All fours by Nia Davies (Bloodaxe Books), The Mabinogi by Matthew Francis (Faber & Faber) and Diary of the Last Man by Robert Minhinnick (Carcanet Press).
While the Creative Non-Fiction Award shortlist consists of Icebreaker by Horatio Clare (Chatto & Windus), David Jones: Engraver, Soldier, Painter, Poet by Thomas Dilworth (Jonathan Cape) and All that is Wales: The Collected Essays of M Wynn Thomas by M. Wynn Thomas (University of Wales Press).
On the English-language judging panel are author Cynan Jones; journalist, broadcaster and author Carolyn Hitt; and poet and editor Kathryn Gray.
Hitt said: “For me the judging process has been challenging and inspiring in equal measures. We had to make some brutal decisions to whittle down our choices. But this a shortlist that reflects the diversity and quality of Welsh writing in English – from established names at the peak of their powers to the breakthrough of exciting new voices.”
Meanwhile, the Welsh language shortlist includes titles from Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, Cyhoeddiadau Barddas and Y Lolfa.
Y Lolfa has secured all the shortlisted titles in the Welsh-language Fiction Award and the Welsh language Creative Non-Fiction Award.
Shortlisted from the publisher in the Fiction Award category are Gwales by Catrin Dafydd, Fabula by Llŷr Gwyn Lewis and Hen Bethau Anghofiedig by Mihangel Morgan (Y Lolfa). Up for the Welsh-language Creative Non-Fiction Award are Meddyginiaethau Gwerin Cymru by Anne Elizabeth Williams, Blodau Cymru: Byd y Planhigion by Goronwy Wynne and Ar Drywydd Niclas y Glais by Hefin Wyn.
In the running for the Welsh-language Poetry Award are Llif Coch Awst by Hywel Griffiths (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas), Treiglo by Gwyneth Lewis (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas) and Caeth a Rhydd by Peredur Lynch (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch).
The Welsh-language judging panel is made up of veteran broadcaster Beti George; winner of the Chair at the 2016 National Eisteddfod Aneirin Karadog; and two-time Wales Book of the Year winner Caryl Lewis.
Lleucu Siencyn, chief executive of Literature Wales, said: “The 2018 shortlists prove that the writers of Wales continue to make their mark on the world’s literary map. These eighteen titles represent the complex tapestry of our beautiful, perplexing country. Discover Wales – a feast of literature awaits you.”
The winners of the award will be announced at an Award Ceremony held at Tramshed, Cardiff on the evening of Tuesday 26th June, where a total prize fund of £12,000 is up for grabs. Each category winner will receive a prize of £1,000, and the main award winners in each language will receive an additional £3,000. Each winner will also receive a specially commissioned trophy created by the artist Angharad Pearce Jones.
At the Award Ceremony 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.