Wales Book of the Year Short List 2018:

“from established names at the peak of their powers
to the breakthrough of exciting new voices.”

After many months reading through Wales’ literary offerings from 2017, two independent judging panels have chosen their 9-strong Short Lists for both the English and Welsh-language Wales Book of the Year Awards 2018.

Administered by Literature Wales, the Wales Book of the Year Awards are presented annually to the best Welsh and English-language works in the fields of creative writing and literary criticism in three categories: Poetry, Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction.

This year’s Short List includes some of Wales’ biggest literary names, amongst whom are multi-award winning Horatio Clare; the National Poet of Wales from 2005 – 2006, Gwyneth Lewis; renowned novelist, Mihangel Morgan; and the foremost expert on the two literatures of modern Wales, Professor M. Wynn Thomas. Going head-to-head with established literary giants are those enjoying success early in their writing careers, including some of Wales’ most exciting debut writers.  

From the frost-leaden Baltic Sea to a haunted house on the outskirts of fictional Aberdyddgu, to the misleadingly silent forests of northern Ontario, the 2018 Short List takes readers on many voyages of discovery. Here are titles which explore the many experiences of Wales and Welshness – its languages, communities and characters, its influences, landscapes and its stories; past, present and future. We see Wales as a “micro-cosmopolitan country” which houses eccentrics, revolutionaries, drug-dealers, wizards, introverts, and communists. Readers will learn about the world of flowers, of folk medicine, of the “last great modernist”, and spend time in the space between what is uttered and what is meant; between history, story and nullity.

Literature Wales is delighted to announce that the English-language Short List 2018 is as follows:

The Roland Mathias Poetry Award

All fours, Nia Davies (Bloodaxe Books)
The Mabinogi, Matthew Francis (Faber & Faber)
Diary of the Last Man, Robert Minhinnick (Carcanet Press)

Fiction Award

Hummingbird, Tristan Hughes (Parthian)
Light Switches Are My Kryptonite, Crystal Jeans (Honno)
Bad Ideas \ Chemicals, Lloyd Markham (Parthian)

The Creative Non-Fiction Award

Icebreaker, Horatio Clare (Chatto & Windus)
David Jones: Engraver, Soldier, Painter, Poet, Thomas Dilworth (Jonathan Cape)
All that is Wales: The Collected Essays of M. Wynn Thomas, M. Wynn Thomas (University of Wales Press)


On the English-language judging panel this year are: award-winning author Cynan Jones; journalist, broadcaster and author, Carolyn Hitt; and distinguished poet and editor, Kathryn Gray.

On behalf of the judging panel, Carolyn Hitt said: “For me the judging process has been challenging and inspiring in equal measures. We had to make some brutal decisions to whittle down our choices. But this a shortlist that reflects the diversity and quality of Welsh writing in English – from established names at the peak of their powers to the breakthrough of exciting new voices.”


The Welsh-language judging panel for Wales Book of the Year 2018 is: veteran broadcaster Beti George; winner of the Chair at the 2016 National Eisteddfod, Aneirin Karadog; and two-time Wales Book of the Year winner Caryl Lewis. Here is the Welsh-language Short List:

Welsh-language Poetry Award

Llif Coch Awst, Hywel Griffiths (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas)
Treiglo, Gwyneth Lewis (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas)
Caeth a Rhydd, Peredur Lynch (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch)

Welsh-language Fiction Award

Gwales, Catrin Dafydd (Y Lolfa)
Fabula, Llŷr Gwyn Lewis (Y Lolfa)
Hen Bethau Anghofiedig, Mihangel Morgan (Y Lolfa)

Welsh-language Creative Non-Fiction Award

Meddyginiaethau Gwerin Cymru, Anne Elizabeth Williams (Y Lolfa)
Blodau Cymru: Byd y Planhigion, Goronwy Wynne (Y Lolfa)
Ar Drywydd Niclas y Glais, Hefin Wyn (Y Lolfa)

To read more about the shortlisted titles and their authors, visit www.literaturewales.org.


Lleucu Siencyn, Chief Executive of Literature Wales said: “The 2018 Short List proves that the writers of Wales continue to make their mark on the world’s literary map. These eighteen titles represent the complex tapestry of our beautiful, perplexing country. Discover Wales – a feast of literature awaits you.”

The winners of this prestigious award will be announced at a glittering Award Ceremony held at Tramshed, Cardiff on the evening of Tuesday 26 June, 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 £5 (plus booking fee) 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:


·       Literature Wales is the national company for the development of literature in Wales. It believes that literature belongs to everybody and can be found everywhere. The company’s various projects and activities includes Wales Book of the Year, National Poet of Wales, Bardd Plant Cymru and Young People’s Laureate Wales, Literary Tourism activities, Writers on Tour funding scheme, creative writing courses at Tŷ Newydd, Services for Authors (including Writers’ Bursaries and Mentoring), and Young People’s Writing Squads.

·       Literature Wales is a registered charity, (number 1146560) and works with the support of Arts Council of Wales and Welsh Government. Lleucu Siencyn is the Chief Executive.

·       Website: www.llenyddiaethcymru.org / www.literaturewales.org   

·       Twitter: @LlenCymru / @LitWales

·       Facebook: www.facebook.com/LlenCymruLitWales

·       Literature Wales, Glyn Jones Centre, Wales Millennium Centre, Bute Place, Cardiff, CF10 5AL





Wales Book of the Year Award


  • Important date for your diary:

Tuesday 26th June 6.30 pm – The Wales Book of the Year Award Ceremony at The Tramshed, Cardiff.


•       The Wales Book of the Year prizes are awarded annually to the best Welsh and English-language works in the fields of creative writing and literary criticism. The Award is administered by Literature Wales.


•       Prizes are awarded for the best books published in the previous calendar year, with £1,000 each awarded to the six category winners. The two main winners in each language receive an additional £3,000 each.


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