Book of the Year 2012

Welsh Books Council

Book of the Year 2012 - 12 May 2012

For a full list of short-listed titles visit the  Literature Wales  website.

This year, categories are introduced for the first time. Three titles have been short-listed in each of the three categories: Poetry, Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction (Welsh Short List below). The three poetry collections to have reached the short list are  Catulla Et Al   (Bloodaxe Books) by Tiffany Atkinson, a collection of poems which summon up the sensual and scandalous spirit of the Latin poet Catullus, with one foot in a recognisable "real world" while still bending it out of shape;  Deep Field  (Bloodaxe Books) by Philip Gross, a collection of deeply felt and deeply thought poems about the poet’s father’s loss of his several languages, first to deafness, then profound aphasia; the third publication in this category is  Sparrow Tree  (Bloodaxe Books) by Gwyneth Lewis, a highly inventive collection that puts nature writing in a spin and launches into flights of avian fancy or fantasy on several levels.

The three titles in the Fiction category this year are  Wild Abandon  (Hamish Hamilton) by Joe Dunthorne, a novel which delves into the lives of brother and sister Albert and Kate on their communal farm in South Wales, which involve preparation for the end of the world and a 10k sound system;   The Keys of Babylon  (Seren) by Robert Minhinnick, a collection of interlinked short stories which look all over the world at people who are on the move, searching for a better life, and comes to a crescendo as the individual narratives are drawn together at the same hour on one momentous day; and  The Last Hundred Days  (Seren) by Patrick McGuinness, the author’s first novel which takes the reader to Bucharest in 1989, a world of danger, repression and corruption, but also of intensity and ravaged beauty.

The three titles in the Creative Non-Fiction category are  Ghost Milk  (Hamish Hamilton) by Iain Sinclair, a work which explores the grandest of Grand Projects – the giant myth that is 2012’s London Olympics as the author deems it, and a statement on the throwaway impermanence of the present;  The Vagabond’s Breakfast  (Alcemi) by Richard Gwyn, a memoir which is an account of his "lost" years; of addiction and reckless travel; love and fatherhood; recovery; living with viral hepatitis, and the life-saving gift of a liver graft. Last, but not least, is Byron Rogers’  Three Journeys  (Gomer), a part reminiscence, part gazetteer, part portrait gallery, and turns on Byron Rogers’s experiences of growing up in, and leaving, Wales. 

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