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Aberaeron Book Awards - Welsh Shortlist Announced

By Caitlin Evans and Thomas Caldow

In the Welsh town of Aberaeron, an independent bookshop named Giwsgo Bookworm bustles with sales, activities and all things bookish. One such activity is hosting the annual Aberaeron Book Festival, to which organisers Niki and Karen Brewer dedicate much thought and time. Due to the effects of the global pandemic, the Aberaeron Book Festival was unfortunately cancelled, however, for 2022 it plans to return bigger and better than ever before. The event, held on 21–23 October, plans to feature a book fair, new book launches, workshops, and readings for all ages.

An important part of the festival is the reveal of the Aberaeron Book Awards results, for which anticipation has already begun to brew as the shortlist was recently announced. Whilst discussing the importance of the festival and the selection process of the award, Karen Brewer said; “We have seen a resurgence of interest in books over the last twelve months with many people rediscovering the joy and well-being of reading for pleasure. The ethos of the bilingual festival is to promote current writing and writers of Ceredigion and Wales, in every genre. We have an unrivalled wealth of talent on our doorstep that is making an important and increasing contribution to the literary world and the Aberaeron Award pitches that talent against the best and most popular books in the UK.”

The shortlisted titles for the award are as follows:

Cofiwch Dryweryn – Cymru’n Deffro’ by Mari Emlyn

This book compiles thoughts and testimonies that explore the recent phenomenon of painting ‘Cofiwch (Remember) Dryweryn’ on walls throughout Wales. The trend was inspired by the original landmark graffiti that commemorated a valley that was flooded in the 1960s to build a reservoir, and sparked a movement of Welsh nationalism.

Dinosaur Farm by Penny Dale

This is one book of an increasingly popular children’s series that combines two favourite topics – dinosaurs and vehicles. In this instalment, the chaotic team of dinosaurs are hard at work on a farm, and even travel to a farm show hoping to win the grand prize.

La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman

As one of the best-selling fantasy authors of the century, this book features as number one in Pullman’s Book of Dust series. The novel follows an eleven-year-old boy and his daemon, who live opposite a nunnery that has welcomed an interesting guest.

Lancaster: The Forging of a Very British Legend by John Nichol

This book illuminates the story of the Avro Lancaster, a heavy bomber aircraft that was pivotal to winning WWII. Told through the voices of Royal Air Force veterans, we discover the heroes and heroines who worked hard to keep the Lancaster airborne when it was needed most.

Llyfr Adar Mawr y Plant by Onwy Gower

This informative work introduces children to the birds of Wales through a series of in depth and imaginative explorations of each bird in turn. Featuring a wealth of facts, photographs, and poems alongside Ffion Gwyn’s beautiful illustrations and a handy glossary, this is the perfect introduction to any child hoping to learn more about the natural world around them.

Never Greener by Ruth Jones

Ruth Jones brings the spark and joy we have all come to expect from her screenwriting to the page in her debut novel. Jones’ investigations of relationships, friendship and the ways we navigate between them throughout our life are as warm and heartfelt as ever.

Open Side by Sam Warburton

Warburton’s career as Welsh rugby hero was marked by his work ethic, skill and most importantly his intelligence on and off the pitch. This intelligence is on full display in this in turns inspiring, insightful, and frequently moving autobiography. A must-read for any fans of the game.

Pride and Passion by Warren Gatland

Following his final season in charge of the Welsh national team in 2019, Gatland takes the time to look back on the trials and successes of his tenure as well as the rest of his career in the world of rugby.

Stillicide by Cynan Jones

The latest offering from award-winning author Cynan Owens, Stillicide offers up a not-too-distant future society on the brink of collapse due to the impact of climate change. Described as a “close to perfect” novel, Owen’s work acts as a reminder of the perilous times we live in, as well as a striking call to action.

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy

Mackesy’s The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, is no stranger to the awards circuit, having already picked up the Waterstone’s Book of the Year Award in 2019. The heart-warming narrative, brought beautifully to life by Mackesy’s own illustrations, will stay with you long after the final page.

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

When Raynor and Moth Winn are confronted by a shock diagnosis of terminal illness and the loss of their business they decide to walk the 630 mile South West Coast Path. In turns heart-breaking and inspiring, Winn’s story highlights the resilience of the human spirit and the healing power of nature.

The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton by Anstey Harris

This striking debut novel follows our titular heroine Grace Atherton, as she struggles to cope with heartbreak and loss. Accompanying her in her journey is the music she loves and uses to soundtrack her life, all of which draws the reader into a warm, moving and beautiful story.


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