Wales Book of the Year winner Rhian Edwards 'shell-shocked'

Rhian Edwards
Image caption Rhian Edwards: 'I didn't expect it to win in a million years'

The winner of three prizes at the Wales Book of the Year Awards says she is flabbergasted to have won the honours with her debut collection of poetry.

Rhian Edwards said she did not expect to win the poetry category let alone the overall English language title.

Ms Edwards said the timing was perfect as she was due to take maternity leave from next week and "pale into maternal obscurity".

Her work Clueless Dogs reflects on her Bridgend childhood and other matters.

Ms Edwards took the overall English language title, the English language People's Choice award and the Roland Mathias Prize for Poetry.

"I'm completely shell shocked," she said.

"I didn't expect it to win in a million years and I didn't expect to win the poetry section let alone the overall English speaking prize.

"Poetry is still an orphaned part of literature and a lot of people find it very inaccessible so to win it up against creative non fiction and fiction as well... I'm absolutely flabbergasted."

In Welsh, Heini Gruffudd's Yr Erlid took the book prize, while poet Llion Jones won the People's Choice award with Trydar Mewn Trawiadau.

The winners were announced at the Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff on Thursday evening.

Nine works were chosen in the three English language categories from more than 100 eligible books.

Judges' chair Ffion Hague said they had faced a real challenge as the standard seemed higher than ever.

Meic Stephens was shortlisted in both English and Welsh language categories - a first for the annual award.

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Media captionRhian Edwards told Peter Johnson on BBC Radio Wales she was a performance poet before committing her writing to a book

His English language contender was a collection of obituaries of 75 prominent Welsh people, and in the Welsh category a story of how a young boy from an English-speaking home grew up to play a prominent part in Welsh culture.

Previous winners John Harrison and Jon Gower - last year's Welsh language winner - were also nominated for their non-fiction books about Antarctic explorers and a journey around the Welsh coast.

Lleucu Siencyn, chief executive of competition organisers Literature Wales, said: "Rhian Edwards is a fantastic example of a writer progressing through the literary ranks."

Patrick McGuinness was the 2012 winner with The Last Hundred Days, a novel set in the Romanian capital Bucharest during the 1989 revolution.

Previous winners of the English award, which was launched in 1992, include Owen Sheers, Robert Minhinnick, Dannie Abse and Deborah Kay Davies.

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