Which Welsh books are best?

Welsh Books Council

Which Welsh books are best? - 04 July 2014

This year's Wales Book of the Year ceremony will be held at Galeri, Caernarfon and Pethe's Lisa Gwilym will be there to bring us the names of the winners later the same evening. You can see Pethe: Llyfr y Flwyddyn, on Thursday, 10 July, on S4C.

Lowri Cooke from Penylan in Cardiff will be familiar to S4C viewers for her regular film reviews on the Channel's magazine shows Heno and Prynhawn Da. She also reviews plays, films, literature and TV on Radio Cymru. This year Lowri is also one of the three people on the Wales Book of the Year Welsh language judging panel, alongside author Gareth Miles and poet Eurig Salisbury.

"We had over fifty books to read," says Lowri. "We started the work over a year ago, in March 2013. I have travelled a lot over the last year and the books kept me company in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Venice, Turin, Kefalonia and Oslo. I'm glad to say I didn't pay a penny for excess baggage, despite the weight! The pile grew into a tower next to my bed, but I did manage to plough through them – and I enjoyed the task."
After all that reading, nine books came out on top. The 2014 Welsh language shortlist includes, in the Poetry category, Rhwng y Llinellau by Christine James; Trwy Ddyddiau Gwydr by Siân Northey; and Lôn Fain by Dafydd John Pritchard. The Fiction category features Dewis by Ioan Kidd; Paris by Wiliam Owen Roberts and Eneidiau by Aled Jones Williams. The Creative Non-Fiction Category is made up of Bob: Cofiant R. Williams Parry 1884-1956 by Alan Llwyd; Y Brenhinbren: Bywyd a Gwaith Thomas Parry 1904-1985 by Derec Llwyd Morgan; and Ffarwel i Freiburg: Crwydriadau Cynnar T. H. Parry-Williams by Angharad Price.

Each category winner will receive £2,000, and the overall winner will take home a further £6,000.

Lisa Gwilym will be at the ceremony for Pethe to announce the names of the winners and to chat to the authors on their big night. She will then chair a discussion between Lowri as an official judge and Guto Dafydd and Bethan Mair, two avid readers.
"I'm looking forward to the evening – it will be great to travel up to Galeri, Caernarfon for the ceremony, in the company of two gentlemen who look dashing in suits," says Lowri. "It's a competition which promotes both the sales of and discussions about Welsh literature. Not all volumes published are eligible so it's not a perfect competition, but it does offer an overview of the current state of the Welsh publishing world.

"It will be a pleasure to discuss the books with Guto and Bethan – especially since the decision will have already been made!"

The English language judging panel is made up of lecturer Andrew Webb, author and journalist Jasper Rees and comedienne Nadia Kamil. Their nine chosen books are, in the poetry category, Pink Mist by Owen Sheers; The Shape of a Forest by Jemma L. King; and Barkin! by Mike Jenkins. The three fiction books are The Rice Paper Diaries by Francesca Rhydderch; The Drive by Tyler Keevil; and Clever Girl by Tessa Hadley, and in the Creative Non Fiction Category, R. S. Thomas: Serial Obsessive by M. Wynne Thomas; 'And Neither Have I Wings To Fly' by Thelma Wheatley; and Rhys Davies: A Writer’s Life by Meic Stephens.

For more information about the books and to find out how the judges came to their decisions visit walesbookoftheyear.co.uk

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