University academics in running for Welsh Book of the Year Awards

Three Swansea University academics are among the authors shortlisted for this year’s prestigious Wales Book of the Year Awards.

Senior history lecturer Dr Gethin Matthews is in the running for the Creative Non-Fiction award for Having a go at the Kaiser: A Welsh family at war, Professor Alan Llwyd, Professor of Welsh, is a finalist in the  Welsh- language Poetry category for Cyrraedd a Cherddi Eraill while Emeritus Professor Stevie Davies is shortlisted for the Aberystwyth University Fiction Award for Arrest Me, for I Have Run Away. ‌

300 x 132The Award is presented annually by Literature Wales to the best works in the fields of creative writing and literary criticism in three categories: Poetry, Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction.

This year’s shortlists include some of Wales’ leading writers. Collectively they have won a range of literary prizes including: the Somerset Maugham Award, Sunday Times Business Book of the Year, the Orange Prize, Terry Hetherington Young Writers Award, the Costa Poetry Award, the Branford Boase Award, National Eisteddfod Chairs, Crowns and Medals for poetry, prose and drama, and last but not least, the Wales Book of the Year Award. Going head-to-head with established literary giants are some of Wales’ most exciting debut writers.  

The English-language Shortlist 2019 titles are:

Roland Mathias Poetry Award

Insistence, Ailbhe Darcy (Bloodaxe Books Ltd.)

Salacia, Mari Ellis Dunning (Parthian Books)

‌Gen, Jonathan Edwards (Seren)

book of year StevieAberystwyth University Fiction Award

Arrest Me, for I Have Run Away, Stevie Davies (Parthian Books)

West, Carys Davies (Granta Publications)

Sal, Mick Kitson (Canongate Books)

Creative Non-Fiction Award   

Moneyland, Oliver Bullough (Profile Books)

The light in the dark: A winter journal, Horatio Clare (Elliott & Thompson)

Book of Year EngHaving a go at the Kaiser:  A Welsh family at war, Gethin Matthews (University of Wales Press) 

The English-language judges are Sandeep Parmar, poet and Professor of English Literature at Liverpool University; Louise Holmwood Marshall, Head of the English and Creative Writing Department of Aberystwyth University; and novelist and Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing at Birkbeck College, University of London Russell Celyn Jones.

On behalf of the judging panel, Louise Holmwood-Marshall said: “The range and quality of the entries demonstrates, yet again, the incredible talent of Welsh writers and the cultural contribution that authors from and of Wales make to the country’s long-established literary heritage. The 2019 shortlist illustrates not only an incredible breadth and variety of writing but also the significance of the stories of Wales to a global readership.” 

The Welsh-language judging panel for Wales Book of the Year 2019 are poet and 2017 Wales Book of the Year winner, Idris Reynolds for his memoir of Dic Jones, Darn o Haul Draw yn Rhywle: Cofio Dic (Gwasg Gomer); popular broadcaster and sports author, Dylan Ebenezer and the Aberystwyth University’s Head of Welsh and Celtic Studies Cathryn Charnell-White.

The Welsh-language shortlist titles are:

Book of Year WelshGwobr Farddoniaeth                 

Twt Lol, Emyr Lewis (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch)

Cyrraedd a cherddi eraill, Alan Llwyd (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas)

Stafell fy Haul, Manon Rhys (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas) 

Gwobr Ffuglen Prifysgol Aberystwyth            

Ynys Fadog, Jerry Hunter (Y Lolfa)

Llyfr Glas Nebo, Manon Steffan Ros (Y Lolfa)

Esgyrn, Heiddwen Thomas (Y Lolfa)

Gwobr Ffeithiol- Greadigol                    

Cymru mewn 100 Gwrthrych, Andrew Green (Gwasg Gomer)

Cymru Ddu a'r Ddalen Wen, Lisa Sheppard (Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru)

Rhyddhau'r Cranc, Malan Wilkinson (Y Lolfa)

Lleucu Siencyn, Chief Executive of Literature Wales, said: “These exceptional titles encourage readers to explore and consider some of life’s biggest questions. Mental health and identity – both personal and national  –  flow through these selections. This is contemporary Welsh writing at its very finest.”

The winners of this prestigious award will be announced at an Award Ceremony held at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on Thursday, June 20, where a total prize fund of £12,000 will be distributed to the winning writers. Each category winner will receive a prize of £1,000, and the main award winners in each language will receive an additional £3,000.

At the Award Ceremony both the People’s Choice Award and Gwobr Barn y Bobl (the Welsh-language people’s prize) will also be presented to the reading public’s favorite title from the Short List.

Visit Wales Arts Review to vote for your favourite English-language title and Golwg360 to vote in the Welsh-language poll. 

To read more about the shortlisted titles and their authors visit