The winners of this year’s Wales Book of the Year 2021 Award have been announced, with Catrin Kean taking the title prize for her novel, Salt.
Literature Wales has announced that Catrin Kean is the winner of the 2021 Wales Book of the Year Award with her debut novel, Salt (Gwasg Gomer). It was first declared that Salt had been awarded the Rhys Davies Trust Fiction Award, then the Wales Arts Review People’s Choice Award, before going on to win the overall award and the crowning title of Wales Book of the Year 2021. Kean receives a total prize of £4,000 and a specially commissioned trophy, designed and created by the artist Angharad Pearce Jones.
Kean was previously awarded a place on the Hay Festival Writers at Work scheme for emerging writers from 2016-18. Her short stories have been published in Riptide Journal, Bridge House Anthologies and The Ghastling. She was awarded a Literature Wales Writer’s Bursary in 2020 to work on her short story collection Fogtime.
“The vastly impressive quality of all the shortlists across the categories of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and especially children’s books, encapsulates the diverse and incredible talent of Welsh writers we have on offer to readers in homes, schools, libraries and communities within Wales and across the world,” said Scott Evans on behalf of the Wales Book of the Year English-language judging panel. “They showcase the true breadth and depth of our long-established landscape, legacy and lifeblood of literature; and, ultimately, make me so proud to be Welsh.”
Also awarded Wales Book of the Year prizes tonight were Fiona Sampson (Come Down, Corsair Poetry), winner of the Poetry Award, Victoria Owens (Lady Charlotte Guest: The Exceptional Life of a Female Industrialist, Pen & Sword), winner of the Creative Non-Fiction Award and Patience Aghabi (The Infinite, Canongate Books), who won the Children & Young People Award.
“These books, as a collection, take us on a journey from the streets of Cardiff in the late 1800s to the centre point of the industrial revolution in Wales; then poignant reflections on humanity and point of view before leaping into tales about future worlds and adventures. Here we have new voices, publishing for the first time, as well as popular voices venturing into new genres,” said Chief Executive of Literature Wales, Lleucu Siencyn. “On behalf of Literature Wales, I wish to congratulate all the winning writers and thank them for providing us with such delight and inspiration during a year where the power of literature has never been more important. I encourage everyone to visit your local bookshop or library and immerse yourself in the worlds of these exceptional titles.”
The Welsh-language Wales Book of the Year winners will be announced over a series of broadcasts on BBC Radio Cymru’s Stiwdio programme between the 2nd and 4th of August, from 9pm each night. The Fiction and Poetry category winners will be announced on Monday the 2nd, the Children & Young People and Creative Non-Fiction winners on Tuesday the 3rd and the Golwg360 Gwobr Barn y Bobl Winner and Overall Welsh-language Award Winner will be revealed on Wednesday the 4th.
For more information on the Wales Book of the Year Award, visit the Literature Wales website.