Author Claire Fayers has won the 2020 Tir na n-Og English-language award for her fantasy adventure story, steeped in Norse legend and Welsh mythology. Storm Hound was one of four books with an authentic Welsh background shortlisted for the prestigious award for children’s and young people’s literature, which is organised annually by the Books Council of Wales.
The announcement of the winning title was made live on the Radio Wales Arts Show on Friday 3 July 2020.
Speaking about her win, Cardiff-based Claire Fayers said: “I am thrilled to have won this year’s Tir na n-Og English-language award. I have been reading books from the Tir na n-Og shortlists for as long as I can remember. They represent the best of Welsh literature for children and young people, so to actually win is an immense honour.”
Storm Hound (Macmillan Children’s Books) tells the story of Storm of Odin, the youngest stormhound of the Wild Hunt that haunts lightning-filled skies. He has longed for the time when he will be able to join his brothers and sisters but on his very first hunt he finds he can’t keep up and falls to earth, landing on the A40 just outside Abergavenny.
Enter twelve-year-old Jessica Price, who finds and adopts a cute puppy from an animal rescue centre. In an electrifying adventure, she soon starts to see that there’s something different about her beloved dog.
The Chair of the 2020 Tir na n-Og English-language judging panel, Eleri Twynog Davies, said: “Congratulations to Storm Hound – a magical story, with strong themes of friendship and belonging. The characters were wonderfully developed and presented us with moments of humour and poignancy.
“All four books on the shortlist had their stories set against a Welsh background, where a sense of place contributed to the their overall appeal. This is one of the central criteria for this award, and one which we as judges felt was lacking in many of the other entries. It is so important that the children of Wales can see themselves reflected in Welsh literature, and that children outside Wales have a window on another culture.”
The three other titles shortlisted for the 2020 Tir na n-Og English-language award were The Secret Dragon by Ed Clarke (Puffin), Max Kowalski Didn’t Mean It by Susie Day (Puffin) and Where Magic Hides by Cat Weatherill (Gomer).