Literature Wales Announces the Wales Book of the Year Short List 2017

After many months reading, meeting and debating, the Wales Book of the Year judges have chosen their nine-strong list of favorites from the books published in 2016, and Literature Wales is delighted to announce that the English-language Short List 2017 is as follows:

The Roland Mathias Poetry Award

What Possessed Me, John Freeman (Worple)

The Other City, Rhiannon Hooson (Seren)

Psalmody, Maria Apichella (Eyewear)


The Rhys Davies Trust Fiction Award

Pigeon, Alys Conran (Parthian)

Cove, Cynan Jones (Granta)

Ritual, 1969, Jo Mazelis (Seren)


The Creative Non-Fiction Award

The Tradition, Peter Lord (Parthian)

Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Keiron Pim (Vintage)

The Black Prince of Florence, Catherine Fletcher (The Bodley Head)



On the English-language judging panel this year are: award-winning author Tyler Keevil; Senior Lecturer Dimitra Fimi and the Costa Poetry Prize winner Jonathan Edwards.

Jonathan Edwards said: “This shortlist offers a real celebration of just how exciting, vibrant and diverse literature in Wales currently is. There are books here for everyone: poetry collections which are novelistic in their scope and ambition, novels whose innovations in language might be traditionally expected of poetry. There are biographies which don't so much show you a life as let you amble round in a world, reference books which can put six centuries on your coffee table. To be part of the announcement of this list is to be proud to be Welsh; the country which moved these writers to such astonishing achievement.”

The Welsh language judging panel for Wales Book of the Year 2017 are: critic and reviewer, Catrin Beard; author and poet, Mari George; and Eirian James, owner of the award-winning independent bookshop, Palas Print in Caernarfon. Here is the Welsh-language Short List:


Welsh-language Poetry Award

Bylchau, Aneirin Karadog (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas)

Chwilio am Dân, Elis Dafydd (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas)

Llinynnau, Aled Lewis Evans (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas)


Welsh-language Fiction Award

Y Gwreiddyn, Caryl Lewis (Y Lolfa)

Ymbelydredd, Guto Dafydd (Y Lolfa)

Iddew, Dyfed Edwards (Gwasg y Bwthyn)


Welsh-language Creative Non-Fiction Award

Gwenallt, Alan Llwyd (Y Lolfa)

Optimist Absoliwt, Menna Elfyn (Gwasg Gomer)

Cofio Dic, Idris Reynolds (Gwasg Gomer)



Lleucu Siencyn, Chief Executive of Literature Wales said: “It’s one of the literary highlights of the year, and we at Literature Wales have been filled with excitement for the release of this years’ Short List. With the announcement taking place during Libraries Week, we hope that readers will head to their local library to seek out these wonderful titles to enjoy the wealth and variety of modern Welsh literature. Readers will travel from the shadow of slate mountains to 60’s London; they’ll be lost at sea; they’ll experience the pain of radiation therapy; will learn about the history of Welsh art, and journey through themes of loss, myth and memory.”

The winners of this prestigious award will be announced at an Award Ceremony held in The Tramshed, Cardiff on the evening of Monday 13 November, where a total prize fund of £12,000 is up for grabs. Each category winner will receive a prize of £1,000, and the main award winners in each language will receive an additional £3,000. Each winner will also receive a specially commissioned trophy created by the artist Angharad Pearce Jones. Tickets for the Award Ceremony are £6 and can be purchased online from http://tramshedcardiff.com.


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 the Wales Arts Review website to vote for your favorite English-language title: www.walesartsreview.org. The Welsh-language poll is hosted by Golwg360: www.golwg360.com


For further information on the
Wales Book of the Year Award visit:

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