Wales Book of the Year: Awards night for Welsh authors

The nine writers on the 2013 Wales Book of the Year shortlist
Image caption The nine writers on the 2013 Wales Book of the Year shortlist

The Wales Book of the Year Award has become the country's most prestigious literary prize and an event that has honoured established authors as well as the occasional newcomer.

Previous winners include poet and author Dannie Abse and novelist Owen Sheers.

While the award does not guarantee a ticket to literary stardom, the kudos and the cash prize can be a welcome career boost.

Overall winners are chosen from the English and Welsh language shortlists, while three sub-categories are also awarded winners: fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry.

Category winners receive a cheque for £2,000, while the overall winners receive a further £6,000 each.

A special People's Prize trophy is also awarded to the winner of a public vote.


This year one author appears on both the English and Welsh language shortlists. Meic Stephens' collection of obituaries, Welsh Lives, and his autobiography, Cofnodion (Records), could allow him to become the first author to win both prizes in one evening.

Another established writer in contention for the prize is Jon Gower, whose journey around the Welsh coast, Wales: At Water's Edge, is nominated in the English language category.

He already has one Book of the Year prize on his mantelpiece, having won the Welsh language title last year for his novel Y Storïwr (The Story-teller).

Gower said: "Creatively it was a big boost (to win last year's prize). Afterwards I decided to write a big book, which starts in Honduras in central America and goes all the way up to Alaska, and contains a mixture of English and Spanish.

"I would not have had the self-confidence to embark on that kind of thing in the past, so creatively it was a very substantial and important boost for me to win Book of the Year."

Gower and Stephens' English language books will compete against John Harrison's Forgotten Footprints in the creative non-fiction category.

The three authors competing for the fiction prize are James Smythe, Matthew Francis and Gee Williams, while the Roland Mathias Poetry prize is between Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch, Deryn Rees-Jones and Rhian Edwards.

The winners of each category, as well as the overall winners, will be announced at an awards ceremony in Cardiff on Thursday evening.

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