The Books Council of Wales have announced the Welsh-language and English-language shortlists for the 2021 Tir na n-Og Awards.
Organised by the Books Council of Wales and sponsored by CILIP Cymru Wales, the Tir na n-Og Awards celebrate the best Welsh-language and English-language books for children and young adults. The awards are separated into three categories – Welsh-language books for primary school age, Welsh-language books for secondary school age, and English-language books with an authentic Welsh background for children and young people – and the winner of each category will receive a prize of £1,000. The Welsh-language shortlists for Tir na n-Og were revealed on S4C’s Heno programme on Thursday the 11th of March and the English-language shortlist was announced during the Radio Wales Arts Show on Friday the 12th of March.
This year, the judging panel for the Welsh-language awards includes Hywel James (Chair of the panel and former Chief Librarian of Gwynedd Council), Morgan Dafydd (founder of the Sôn am Lyfra website), Alun Horan (television producer, Tinopolis) and Nia Morais (author and teaching assistant).
The shortlist for the Welsh-language primary age category of the Tir na n-Og awards includes Ble Mae Boc – Ar Goll yn y Chwedlau by Huw Aaron (Y Lolfa), Mae’r Cyfan i Ti by Luned Aaron (Atebol) and Sw Sara Mai by Casia Wiliam (Y Lolfa).
The books reaching the shortlist in the secondary age category are Y Castell Siwgr by Angharad Tomos (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch), Llechi by Manon Steffan Ros (Y Lolfa) and #helynt by Rebecca Roberts (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch).
“This year’s titles included some very attractive picture story books by new authors and illustrators, a development that deserves special praise for creating high quality original publications,” said James. “There were very impressive titles in the young adults’ category too, with some quite shocking content as they strived to convey the challenges of coming of age either in contemporary Wales or at key stages in our history.”
The 2021 Tir na n-Og English-language panel is made up of Jo Bowers (Chair of Judges and Associate Dean for Partnerships in the School of Education at Cardiff Metropolitan University), Jannat Ahmed (Subscriptions and Marketing Officer for Poetry Wales), Pooja Antony (primary school teacher) and Alex Ball (Senior Library Assistant with Caerphilly County Borough Council).
Three stories exploring Wales at different times through history feature in the English-language books shortlisted for the Tir na n-Og Awards 2021. The periods of history range from the early Middle Ages when Welsh national identity was gathering strength in The Short Knife by Elen Caldecott (Andersen Press, for ages 12+), to a family emigrating from Wales to the USA at the turn of the twentieth century in The Quilt by Valériane Leblond (Y Lolfa, for ages 5+), and a contemporary story set in the Celtic rainforest of north Wales in Where the Wilderness Lives by Jess Butterworth (Orion, for ages 9+).
“All three books had their stories set against a rich authentic Welsh background, which is a central criterion for this award, and each one did this in a very different way to the others,” said Bowers. “Each book stood out for many reasons: the sense of place and time in Wales and Welsh history; the overall design as each book had very attractive front covers and either illustrations or design features in the body of the text, and each surprised and engaged in both the style and content of the story. We felt that each one brought new aspects about Wales in children’s literature.”
The winners of the Tir na n-Og 2021 Welsh-language categories will be announced on S4C’s Heno at 19:00 on Thursday 20th of May, while the winning English-language title will be revealed on the Radio Wales Arts Show on Friday 21st of May at 18:30.
Read about last year’s winner of the English-Language Tir na n-Og Award here.