Wales Book of the Year 2009

Deborah Kay Davies at the award ceremony © Academi / Euron Jones

Last updated: 23 April 2009

Deborah Kay Davies won the Wales Book of the Year 2009 award with her debut collection of short stories Grace, Tamar and Laszlo the Beautiful, beating poet Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch and writer Gee Williams to the £10,000 prize.

Browse a collection of photos from this year's awards

Wiliam Owen Roberts won the Welsh language prize for his novel Petrograd, beating Geraint V. Jones and Hefin Wyn.

The winners were announced at a ceremony at St David's Hotel and Spa in Cardiff Bay on Monday 15 June.

The shortlists for the Wales Book of the Year 2009 were revealed on Monday 25 May at the Hay Festival, with an all-female line-up announced for the English language prize.

Deborah Kay Davies, with her first collection of short stories Grace, Tamar And Laszlo The Beautiful, and Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch with her poetry collection Not In These Shoes made the cut alongside award-winning fiction writer Gee Williams, shortlisted for her work Blood Etc.

The shortlist for the Welsh language prize consists of Wiliam Owen Roberts' Petrograd, Geraint V. Jones' Teulu Lòrd Bach and Hefin Wyn's Pentigily.

Wales Book of the Year 2009 Shortlist

  • Deborah Kay Davies - Grace, Tamar And Laszlo The Beautiful
  • Gee Williams - Blood Etc
  • Samantha Wynne Rhydderch - Not In These Shoes

Rhestr Fer Llyfr y Flwyddyn 2009

  • Geraint V. Jones, Teulu Lòrd Bach
  • Wiliam Owen Roberts, Petrograd
  • Hefin Wyn, Pentigily

From left to right: Gwyn Thomas, Derec Llwyd Morgan, Luned Emyr (the three Welsh- language judges), Tiffany Atkinson, Mike Parker, John Barnie (the three English-language judges) © Academi / Euron Jones

From left to right: Gwyn Thomas, Derec Llwyd Morgan, Luned Emyr (the three Welsh- language judges), Tiffany Atkinson, Mike Parker, John Barnie (the three English-language judges).
© Academi / Euron Jones.

The longlist for the Wales Book of the Year 2009 award was announced on the evening of 22 April, with an eclectic mix of poetry, prose and non-fiction, debutants and well-established authors alike making the cut.

Former winner Robert Minhinnick, in 1993 with Watching The Fire Eater and 2006 with To Babel And Back, was shortlisted for his poetry collection King Driftwood. Another stalwart of the Welsh literary scene, Sheenah Pugh, made the longlist with her poetry collection Long-Haul Travellers.

Further poetical entries on the longlist were Mandeville by Matthew Francis, a collection that gives a new voice to the life of 14th century explorer John Mandeville; Remains Of A Future City by Poetry Wales editor Zoe Skoulding and Not In These Shoes by Samantha Wynne Rhydderch, her second collection of poetry.

There was one piece of non-fiction on the longlist, by critic and historian Dai Smith. Raymond Williams: A Warrior's Tale is a biography of the Welsh author, in which Smith concentrates exclusively on the first 40 years of his subject's life.

Rhiannon Wyn Hughes, Vice Chairperson of Arts Council Wales, and Welsh language judge Luned Emyr at the Wales Book of the Year 2009 longlist announcement

Rhiannon Wyn Hughes, Vice Chairperson of Arts Council Wales, and Welsh language judge Luned Emyr at the Wales Book of the Year 2009 longlist announcement.
© Academi / Euron Jones.

Debut novelists Joe Dunthorne and Stephen May made the longlist with their respective novels Submarine and TAG, which both centre around a fifteen year old subject and deal with adolescent angst. Gee Williams' collection of short stories Blood Etc, which are mainly north east Wales-centric, joined Deborah Kay Davies' collection of short fiction Grace, Tamar And Lazlo The Beautiful, described as 'part novel, part fantasy, part social history', on the longlist.

The English language judges are poet, critic and lecturer Tiffany Atkinson; poet, essayist and former editor of Planet, John Barnie, and broadcaster and travel writer Mike Parker (Chair).

Parker commented: "We are ... absolutely united in our excitement about the longlist, especially its variety. That half of the ten are books of verse is unusual for a major award, we realise, but we all felt very strongly that this reflects the buoyant state of poetry in Wales right now."

Wales Book of the Year 2009 Longlist

  • Deborah Kay Davies - Grace, Tamar And Laszlo The Beautiful
  • Joe Dunthorne - Submarine
  • Matthew Francis - Mandeville
  • Stephen May - TAG
  • Robert Minhinnick - King Driftwood
  • Sheenah Pugh - Long-Haul Travellers
  • Zoe Skoulding - Remains Of A Future City
  • Dai Smith - Raymond Williams: A Warrior's Tale
  • Gee Williams - Blood Etc
  • Samantha Wynne Rhydderch - Not In These Shoes

Welsh language authors Mared Evans and Robyn Léwis

Welsh language authors Mared Evans and Robyn Léwis. © Academi / Euron Jones.

The longlist for the Welsh language Wales Book of the Year 2009 was also unveiled on the night. Just one woman made it onto the longlist, Mared Evans with novel Y Maison Du Soleil, whilst a separate set of judges are responsible for choosing the winner; Gwyn Thomas, Derec Llwyd Morgan and Luned Emyr.

Rhestr Hir Llyfr y Flwyddyn 2009

  • Mared Lewis, Y Maison Du Soleil
  • Aled Jones Williams, Yn Hon Bu Afon Unwaith
  • Geraint V. Jones, Teulu Lòrd Bach
  • J. Towyn Jones, Rhag Ofn Ysbrydion
  • Wiliam Owen Roberts, Petrograd
  • Gwilym Prys Davies, Cynhaeaf Hanner Canrif
  • Robyn Léwis, Bwystfilod Rheibus
  • Hefin Wyn, Pentigily
  • Myrddin ap Dafydd, Bore Newydd
  • Harri Parri, Iaith Y Brain Ac Awen Brudd

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