Wales Book of the Year: Owen Sheers wins top prize

Owen Sheers Owen Sheers took the book of the year title for Pink Mist

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Poet Owen Sheers has won Wales Book of the Year at a ceremony in Caernarfon for his work about three young soldiers.

Pink Mist also took the Roland Mathias poetry award.

Francesca Rhydderch won the fiction prize with The Rice Paper Diaries and Meic Stephens took the creative factual award for Rhys Davies: A Writer's Life.

In Welsh, Ioan Kidd won the book prize and people's choice award with his work, Dewis.

Literature Wales chief executive Lleucu Siencyn said: "This is a book-loving town and local support has ensured the success of this evening.

"From Japan to New Quay, Afghanistan to Bristol, Fitzrovia to Blaenclydach the 2014 winners have guided readers to near and distant lands.

"Many congratulations to Meic Stephens, Francesca Rhydderch and, of course, to second time winner Owen Sheers."

Ioan Kidd There was success for Ioan Kidd with his novel Dewis
Francesca Rhydderch Francesca Rhydderch's novel is set in wartime Hong Kong and west Wales

Sheers won the book of the year title in 2005 for his work The Dust Diaries.

This year's winning book Pink Mist is about three young soldiers from Bristol who are deployed to Afghanistan.

The poem looks at the effect of war on the men and those closest to them when they return from service.

It is the second time Owen Sheers has won the prize

Sheers told BBC Radio Wales it was a "fantastic surprise" to win.

"It's a book that started with around 30 interviews I did with recently wounded service personnel and their families," he said.

"I actually did those interviews for a stage project called The Two Worlds of Charlie F, but when that finished I found that I still had so much more that I wanted to say and there were so many stories I hadn't been able to tell on stage, so that's when Pink Mist was born.

"It was Radio 4 that approached me about writing a verse drama - sort of, I suppose, a play for voices if you like - and I asked them if I could go back to this same territory."

The theme of war continued in the fiction category where Rhydderch's winning novel is set both in wartime Hong Kong and in west Wales.

Stephens won the creative non-fiction category with the first full biography of one of Wales' most prolific writers, Rhys Davies.

In Welsh, Kidd enjoyed a successful night with his novel Dewis, which looks at the trials and tribulations of contemporary family life.

Each category winner was awarded £2,000, and the main award winner in each language received an additional £6,000.

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