New Welsh Review is delighted to announce the longlists for the New Welsh Writing Awards 2019 which this year sought entries across two categories: the Aberystwyth University Prize for a Dystopian Novella, run in association with Aberystwyth University, and the Rheidol Prize for Writing with a Welsh Theme or Setting, which was made possible thanks to the generous support of long-term subscriber Richard Powell.
Now in its fifth year, the Awards were set up in 2015 to champion the best short-form writing in English. Last year, the winner of the Aberystwyth University Prize for an Essay Collection was won by Ed Garland for Fiction as a Hearing Aid which New Welsh Review will publish on 19 September 2019. This year, in the dystopian category, the settings range from Britain in the 1800s to the twenty-second century, from an archipelago-bound London to a military research base in rural Wales. Characters in these dystopian novellas face conflicts from identity theft or being abandoned by their parents, to being the last human left alive on the planet – or so they thought….
In the Rheidol category for writing with a Welsh theme or setting, the Awards attracted a strong field of both fiction and non-fiction, varying from an epistolary account from the 1700s, to a memoir of growing up in Zimbabwe and on a Ceredigion smallholding, to a story set in interwar Cardiff. We ascend slate-quarry faces with 80s oddball postal dole-claiming rock climbers in Snowdonia, while elsewhere in the longlisted entries we learn about the gaps between generations and the current state of identity politics in contemporary Wales.
Seven writers in each category, both new and established, and based in Wales, England and China are in the running for the top prizes of £1,000. They are as follows.
Aberystwyth University Prize for a Dystopian Novella – Longlist (in alphabetical order)
Rosey Brown (Cardiff, Wales) Adrift
Kate Cleaver (Swansea, Wales) Piss and Wind
JL George (Pontypool, Wales) The Word
Dewi Heald (Llantwit Major, Wales) Me, I’m Like Legend, I Am
Rhiannon Lewis (Abergavenny, Wales) The Significance of Swans
Thomas Pitts (Newbury, England) The Chosen
Heledd Williams (China) Water, Water, Nowhere…
Rheidol Prize for Writing with a Welsh Theme or Setting – Longlist (in alphabetical order)
Marilyn Barlow (New Quay, Wales) The Smallholding I Knew (Non-fiction)
Mark Blayney (Cardiff, Wales) The Devil Next Door (Fiction)
Carol Fenlon (Skelmersdale, England) Letters from Dr Fowler (Fiction)
Peter Goulding (Thetford, England) On Slate (Non-fiction)
Elizabeth Griffiths (Lincolnshire, England) Closing the Gap (Non-fiction)
Richard John Parfitt (Penarth, Wales) Tales from the Riverbank (Non-fiction)
Sarah Tanburn (Penarth, Wales) Hawks of Dust and Wine (Fiction)
New Welsh Review editor Gwen Davies once again judged the Awards with help from students from Aberystwyth University for the dystopian novella category and co-judged with the prize-winning Ceredigion author Cynan Jones for the Rheidol Prize.
Gwen says: ‘In our fifth year, we continue to support writing of that particular, shortish length that traditional publishers neglect. In our innovative fashion, we award rotating writing disciplines in order to discover and promote cutting-edge categories, which to date comprise nature and travel writing, memoir, essay collections and novellas, both traditional and, this year, dystopian works which seek to belie the myth that reality is stranger than fiction. We are particularly delighted that the financial support of subscriber RS Powell has enabled us to go back to our roots: to support exciting and authentic fiction and nonfiction that is of Wales in terms of setting, theme and hinterland.’
The shortlists will be announced at an event at the Bookshop in Aberystwyth Arts Centre on Wednesday 1 May 2019 from 6.00-8.00 pm and the winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Summer House in Hay Festival on Friday 24 May from 3.00-5.00 pm.
Both winners will receive £1,000 cash each as advance against e-publication by New Welsh Review under their New Welsh Rarebyte imprint and a positive critique each by leading literary agent Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown. Second prizes are a £300 voucher towards a week-long residential course at Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre in Gwynedd, north Wales, and third prizes are a two-night stay at Gladstone’s Library in Flintshire, north Wales. The top six shortlisted authors will also receive a one-year subscription to New Welsh Review. In addition, New Welsh Review will publish the highly commended and shortlisted nominees for publication in the autumn 2019 edition of its creative magazine New Welsh Reader with an associated standard fee.
The Awards are open to all writers based in the UK and Ireland plus those who live overseas who have been educated in Wales.
The 2019 Awards are sponsored by Aberystwyth University, the core sponsor and host of New Welsh Review, and the longstanding subscriber Richard Powell. The Awards are run in partnership with Curtis Brown, Gladstone’s Library and Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre. New Welsh Review is supported through core funding by the Welsh Books Council.