wish books

Welsh Books – The Best of 2019

It’s been an exciting year for Welsh books, and our writers have been nominating their favourites of 2019. We managed, after much debate, to get the list down to our top 12 – and here they are…


Wales: England’s Colony? by Martin Johnes (non-fiction, Parthian)

Dignity by Alys Conran (novel, W&N)

Throw Me to the Wolves by Patrick McGuinness (novel, Jonathan Cape)

Stowaway by Richard Gwyn (poetry, Seren)

The Blue Tent by Richard Gwyn (novel, Parthian)

The ‘d’ Monologues by Kate O’Reilly (theatre, Oberon Books)

The Levels by Helen Pendry (novel, Parthian)

Broken Ghost by Niall Griffiths (novel, Jonathan Cape)

Stillicide by Cynan Jones (novel, Granta)

Erato by Deryn Rees-Jones (poetry, Seren)

The Book of Taliesin: Poems of Warfare and Praise in an Enchanted Britain Translated by Gwyneth Lewis and Rowan Williams (poetry, Penguin)

The Cambridge History of Welsh Literature – edited by Geraint Evans and Helen Fulton (non-fiction, CUP)



Wales Arts Review is a home for high quality critical writing and arts coverage – a place where passionate and informed arts critics, from Wales and beyond, can find expression. Our writers are neither drum-beaters nor axe-grinders but simply knowledgeable and dedicated people who care deeply about culture and society.

Founded in March 2012, Wales Arts Review is a media platform where a new generation of critics and arts lovers can meet to engage in a robust and inclusive discussion about books, theatre, film, music, the visual arts, politics, and the media.

Wales Arts Review commissions and publishes content in the English language, yet it proudly acknowledges that Wales is a bilingual nation with a richly diverse bilingual culture. We therefore do not restrict our focus to arts and literature delivered only in the medium of English. We have published reviews and articles examining works by Welsh language artists and companies; from the work of Theatre Genedlaethol Cymru to TV hit crime-thriller Y Gwyll. We have also covered the National Eisteddfod and were proud to announce that the winner of our 2014 ‘Greatest Welsh Novel’ prize was Caradog Prichard’s Un Nos Ola Leaud. Wales Arts Review looks forward to working with partner organisations on future projects that critically evaluate and celebrate all the languages of Wales.

We believe that a vibrant arts scene is the expression of a confident, healthy and creative society. We further assert that a flourishing and vigorous critical culture is vital to its sustenance and development. As such, we regard Wales Arts Review as an important building-block in the new outward-looking, forward-thinking Wales.