The long list for the Wales Book of the Year has been announced with the chair of the Arts Council of Wales among the finalists.
Cultural historian Prof Dai Smith's book, In the Frame, recaptures life in the south Wales valleys from 1910-2010.
The awards, worth £10,000, are presented to the authors of the best books of the year in English and Welsh.
Judges nominated Prof Smith's book as it is a "powerful alternative history" of 20th Century south Wales.
They say his book "contains the story of a collective biography, piecing together the consciousness of a society which led its inhabitants in search of fame and fortune, as well as the daily struggle for rights and recognition without sympathy or sentimentality".
The panel of judges include the 2009 prize winner Deborah Kay Davies.
She said: "We are more than happy with this year's list: it is a strong, accomplished selection that consists of fascinating books - by turns lyrical, knowledgeable and highly imaginative."
Tyler Keevil and Gladys Mary Coles are nominated for their debut novels Fireball and Clay respectively.
M. Wynn Thomas's In the Shadow of the Pulpit explores the culture of Welsh Nonconformity.
And long listed author for both the Booker Prize and twice for the Orange Prize with earlier novels, Stevie Davies, is on the list with her recent novel Into Suez.
'Exciting and energising'
A novel by science fiction writer Alastair Reynolds, Terminal World, has also been nominated and John Harrison is long listed for his journey through South America in Cloud Road: A Journey through the Inca Heartland.
There are three collections of poetry on the long list: What the Water Gave Me: Poems After Frida Kahlo by Pascale Petit; Jilted City by Patrick McGuinness; and Doctor Placebo by Alan Wall.
Peter Finch, chief executive of Literature Wales, said: "Wales Book of the Year often causes a stir. Its eclectic, exciting and energising selection shows off some of the best writing talent Wales has. This year's choice is no exception."
Authors on the Welsh language long list are: Tony Bianchi, Hywel Gwynfryn, Elin Haf, Jerry Hunter, William Owen, Angharad Price, Dewi Prysor, Gwyn Thomas, Ned Thomas and Gareth F. Williams.
The winners of the 2011 Wales Book of the Year will be announced at a ceremony in July.
Last year, Philip Gross won the English-language Wales Book of the Year prize for his collection of poems about photography, I Spy Pinhole Eye.
The short list for the three English and three Welsh titles will be revealed in May.