The winners of the Welsh-language 2022 Tir na n-Og Awards were announced today as Gwag y Nos by Sioned Wyn Roberts and Y Pump, edited by Elgan Rhys.
The annual Tir na n-Og Awards celebrate the best books for children and young adults in Wales. They are organised by the Books Council of Wales and sponsored by CILIP Cymru Wales, the library and information association. During a special celebration at the Urdd Eisteddfod in Denbighshire, the winners of the 2022 Tir na n-Og Welsh-language categories were announced today. Although very different in setting and theme, memorable characters who readers will care about are at the centre of the winning novels – Gwag y Nos by Sioned Wyn Roberts and Y Pump, edited by Elgan Rhys.
Wyn Roberts’ Gwag y Nos, winner of the primary school age category, brings to life the Victorian era and the cruel world of the workhouse through the adventures of likeable and mischievous rebel Magi.
‘This book grabs the reader’s attention from the first paragraphs and gets straight to the middle of an exciting story,’ said Alun Horan, Chair of the 2022 Tir na n-Og Awards Judging Panel. ‘The striking artwork must be praised; the cover conveys the chilling atmosphere of the workhouse and the illustrations inside the book prompt the readers to paint the world in their own imaginations. We admired the originality and imagination of the author, and the depth of the research that makes the Victorian Age so real for the reader.’
After expressing her gratitude for the award, Wyn Roberts said: ‘I would also like to thank Rachel Lloyd for editing, Almon for designing, Atebol for publishing the novel and all the friends and children who have read the early drafts and made some perceptive comments. I never would have started writing if I hadn’t attended a course at Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre about three years ago. I was inspired by talented writers to give it a go, and I haven’t stopped writing since.’
Winner of the secondary school age category, Y Pump, edited by Elgan Rhys, follows a group of pupils at Llwyd Secondary School as they discover the power their otherness gives them when they come together as a community. Five young writers have worked in collaboration with more experienced authors to create this ambitious, experimental, powerful series of stories.
‘What makes these stories different and especially relevant is the collaboration between the co-authors, and all of the characters; their situations and their interrelations feel very, very real,’ said Horan. ‘Having several authors creates individual voices for each of the characters, something that is extremely effective. The undoubted achievement of the editor is the way he has brought all of these stories together effectively. It would take many pages to do justice to these volumes – they were so rich in terms of content. Many congratulations to the team behind this ambitious venture… I’m sure we will be discussing and considering the content of these volumes for years to come.’
The titles and authors of the five individual volumes are: Tim (by Elgan Rhys and Tomos Jones), Tami (by Mared Roberts and Ceri-Ann Gatehouse), Aniq (by Marged Elin Wiliam and Mahum Umer), Robyn (by Iestyn Tyne and Leo Drayton) and Cat (by Megan Angharad Hunter and Maisie Awen).
Rhys said: ‘This award is a recognition of the passion and hard work of all the members of the team, who came together from all over Wales during the dark days of lockdown with the ambition to create a truly new and authentic picture of young people’s lives in Wales today. We would all like to thank the judges, the Lolfa and the Books Council and everyone else who has contributed to the creation of Y Pump, and most of all, everyone who has picked up and immersed themselves in one of the books.’
The winners of the 2022 Tir na n-Og Awards will receive a cash prize of £1,000 sponsored by CILIP Cymru Wales, as well as a specially commissioned award created by Cardiff-based designers The Patternistas.
Other titles shortlisted for the Welsh-language primary school age category were Gwil Garw a’r Carchar Crisial by Huw Aaron and Sara Mai a Lleidr y Neidr by Casia Wiliam. Fi ac Aaron Ramsey by Manon Steffan Ros and Hanes yn y Tir by Elin Jones were shortlisted for the Welsh-language secondary school age category.
Announced on the Radio Wales Arts Show on the 20th of May, the winner of the English-language category was The Valley of Lost Secrets by Lesley Parr.
Find out more about the 2022 Tir na n-Og Awards on the Books Council of Wales website.