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WALES BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD | BOOK FEATURE

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Book Feature

photo: Camera Sioned

In setting this year’s Wales Book of the Year Award in Cardiff’s Tramshed, Literature Wales have picked the perfect venue to remind us of the great tradition and continued relevance of writing in Wales. There are plenty of awards up for grabs for the best of today’s modern Welsh writers in English and in Welsh.

So, let’s have a look at just some of the categories and shortlisted authors. Psalmody by Maria Apichella is up for The Roland Mathias Poetry Award against collections from John Freeman and Rhiannon Hooson. Apichella places an atheist and a believer as central characters in Psalmody, a collection of poems which updates the archaic psalm for today’s modern Wales. One to watch after winning the Melita Hume Poetry Prize, 2015.

In the Creative Non-Fiction category is Keiron Pim’s Jumpin’ Jack Flash. It has received rave reviews in its uncovering of David Litvinoff, the enigmatic, mercurial figure of Swinging ‘60s London. Featuring an interview with Eric Clapton and a Rolling Stones-referencing title, you would expect the usual rock ‘n’ roll journeys through Carnaby Street and Camden Town. The difference here is that Litvinoff deliberately left no road map and Pim has had to piece his subject’s past together. A standout subject in a strong category.

Daniel Owen’s entry into the Welsh-language Fiction Award, Ymbelydredd is another work showing how healthily diverse the Awards continue to be. Ymbelydredd tells the story of patient no. 24609-3740 on a course of radiotherapy over the border in Manchester. A unique perspective told through a strong Welsh voice.

There are a lot more entries for the judges to sift through and a full list of all awards and authors can be found on the Literature Wales website. There you can also find a link to vote on Wales Arts Review’s People’s Choice Award. This gives you the chance to have your own say on what’s great in modern Welsh writing and help award £1,000 to a deserving author. So if any of these have taken your fancy then get reading, get voting and get involved.

Tramshed, Cardiff, Mon 13 Nov. Info: 029 2047 2266 / http://www.literaturewales.org/our-projects/wales-book-year/

words JOHN-PAUL DAVIES

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