New award to recognise Welsh writing in English

A significant new award named in honour of a Swansea University academic has been launched to recognise the best critical work in the field of Welsh writing in English.

The M Wynn Thomas Prize will recognise the best critical essay, published or unpublished, in the calendar year 2011 and is supported by Swansea University, Parthian, the Library of Wales and the Learned Society of Wales.

Prof Wynne Thomas The prize is named in honour of Professor Wynn Thomas, the former Director and founder of CREW (the Centre for Research into the English Literature and Language of Wales) at Swansea University. Professor Thomas is currently Chairman of the Welsh Books Council, and holds the Emyr Humphreys Chair of Welsh Writing in English at Swansea University.

He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1996, received the highest honour of the National Eisteddfod of Wales in 2000, and in 2007 was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to the two literatures of Wales. He is currently serving as Vice-President of the Learned Society of Wales, with particular responsibility for the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

Professor Richard B Davies, Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University said, ‘It is highly unusual for any prize or award to be named after a living academic. This is a remarkable accolade recognising Professor Wynn Thomas’s own scholarly achievements, for which he has a global reputation, and his influence in the field of Welsh writing in English. His University celebrates with him.’ 

Dr Kirsti Bohata, Director of CREW, Swansea University, said, ‘Professor Wynn Thomas’s scholarship has defined the field of Welsh writing in English and his passion and generosity has inspired new generations of scholars. It is very fitting that a prize to recognise excellence should be established in his name.’

The prize will be £250 and a full set of Parthian’s Library of Wales titles, with two specially commended essays receiving additional book prizes from the series. The prize will be announced at the annual Association for Welsh Writing in English conference in March 2012.

The judging panel will be Dr Katie Gramich of Cardiff University, Dr Alyce von Rothkirch of Swansea University and Professor Susan Bassnett of Warwick University.

This news item has been posted on behalf of Parthian by  Delyth Purchase, Swansea University Public Relations Office, Tel: 01792 295050, or email: d.purchase@swansea.ac.uk