Aberystwyth at the heart of this year's winner

Welsh Books Council

Aberystwyth at the heart of this year's winner - 10 May 2018
Aberystwyth at the heart of this year's winner

Hayley Long, who studied English at Aberystwyth University, paid a return visit to the town to accept the Tir na n-Og Award for Children's Literature.

In a prestigious event held at Y Drwm, National Library of Wales on 9 May, as part of the CILIP Wales Conference (Chartered Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals), this year's award is presented to Hayley Long for her novel  The Nearest Faraway Place, published by Hot Key Books.

Organised by the Welsh Books Council, the award celebrates the best English-language title with an authentic Welsh background.  The Nearest Faraway Place  is a young adult novel about two boys, Dylan and Griff, and their attempts to overcome a tragic accident that changes their lives forever. The story is set in both New York and Aberystwyth, with flashbacks to a range of exotic locations around the world, and follows the boys as they try to rebuild their lives.

The panel of judges agreed that this well written book deals sensitively with issues of both grief and hope as the two brothers try to recover from the accident that results in them losing everything they hold dear.

Gordon Bell, Chair of the Tir na n-Og English-language Panel, stated that 'the story conveys an authentic sense of Aberystwyth, capturing the town convincingly, and presents an external view on what it is to be Welsh in today's society. Griff's own struggle to come to terms with the Welsh language and culture are realistically portrayed. Throughout the story, the author displays empathy in the way that relationships between the characters develop, and the role that the elderly Mr Powell plays in eventually helping Griff acknowledge what has happened to him is very movingly described.'

He added, 'Hayley Long effectively engages the reader in this poignant story which draws the reader in, and is both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.'

Hayley Long said, 'I'm delighted to win the Tir na n-Og award! I also feel very moved and very honoured.  The Nearest Faraway Place  was essentially my way of telling the world how much I love Aberystwyth! To win this important prize which celebrates Wales and Welsh culture in children's books is a really wonderful thing.'

The Tir na n-Og English-language Award  –  which recognises the exceptional quality of books with a Welsh background for children and young adults  –  is sponsored by CILIP Wales.

The winning titles in the primary and secondary Welsh-language categories will be revealed on 31 May at the 2018 Brecon and Radnorshire Urdd National Eisteddfod at Builth Wells.

According to Helgard Krause, Chief Executive of the Welsh Books Council, 'There was a wealth of books to be considered for this year's award, reflecting the quality and range of titles available for children and young adults. It is with great pleasure that we warmly congratulate Hayley Long and Hot Key Books on their achievement.'

Aberystwyth at the heart of this year's winner

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