Wales Book of the Year 2015 announced
On Thursday 4 June 2015, Literature Wales announced that Other People’s Countries by Patrick McGuinness is the English-language Wales Book of the Year 2015. Other People’s Countries, published by Jonathan Cape, topped the Creative Non-Fiction category, and judges Alex Clark, Tessa Hadley and Paul Henry concluded that Patrick McGuinness’s illuminating memoir is the volume deserving of the title Wales Book of the Year 2015.
Other People’s Countries (Jonathan Cape) is centred on the town of Bouillon on the Belgian border, where the author’s mother came from and where he has been going three times a year since he was a child. This is the second time Patrick has won the Wales Book of the Year Award, having been awarded the main prize in 2012 with his novel The Last Hundred Days (Seren).
Paul Henry said on behalf of the English-language judging panel: "The stylistic quality of this brilliant, lyrical memoir is best described through a simile from the book where a bracelet of water "doesn’t run over the stones but flexes like clear muscle over its riverbed." It’s a poet’s prose at its best – perfectly paced, effortless in its devices. Tender, humorous, moving and, in places, profound, Other People’s Countries reminds us how great writing approaches the essence of Memory."
The winner of the Roland Mathias Poetry Award 2015 is So Many Moving Parts (Bloodaxe Books) by Tiffany Atkinson, an eccentric meditation on the awkwardness of body and spirit and their unexpected, often unwanted intrusions into everyday life. The winner of the 2015 Fiction Category is The Dig (Granta) by Cynan Jones, a searing novel built on the interlocking fates of a badger-baiter and a disconsolate farmer.
The winner of the Wales Arts Review People’s Choice Prize 2015 is Jonathan Edwards with his poetry collection My Family and Other Superheroes (Seren). Jonathan’s debut collection has gained critical acclaim having won the Costa Poetry Prize 2014 and was shortlisted for the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize 2014.
The winner of the main Welsh-language Wales Book of the Year Award is Awst yn Anogia(Gwasg Gwynedd) by Gareth F. Williams which topped the Fiction Category. This powerful novel is set on the island of Crete during the Second World War, where extreme events change the village of Anogia for ever. The winner of the Poetry category is Un Stribedyn Bach (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch) by the Chaired poet Rhys Iorwerth, and Llŷr Gwyn Lewis took home the Creative Non-Fiction Award for his volume Rhyw Flodau Rhyfel (Y Lolfa). The Welsh-language award was judged by Annes Glynn, Hywel Griffiths and Gareth Potter. The winner of Gwobr Barn y Bobl, the Welsh-language public vote, is Saith Oes Efa (Y Lolfa) by Lleucu Roberts.
The winners were announced at an Awards Ceremony held at Galeri Caernarfon in the company of the judging panel, shortlisted authors and their guests, publishers of the successful books and members of the reading public. During the ceremony each category winner was awarded £2,000, and the main award winner in each language received an additional £6,000. Each award winner was also presented with a beautiful stainless steel trophy designed and created by Angharad Pierce Jones.
Lleucu Siencyn, Chief Executive of Literature Wales said: "Congratulations to all of this year’s winners on their achievement. I would also like to congratulate all of the shortlisted authors; reaching the Wales Book of the Year Short List is no mean feat. It’s also wonderful to see Welsh writers set their sights firmly on the horizon, taking the readers of Wales to distant lands and embracing different cultures and histories whilst succeeding to stay true to our own."
The Wales Book of the Year Award is administered by Literature Wales in partnership with Arts Council of Wales, The Brecknock Society, Pethe, Golwg360, Wales Arts Review and the Welsh Books Council.