Skip to content

Wales Book of the Year Shortlist

On July the first Literary Wales announced the shortlist for Wales Book of the Year 2020. It is a good list. If your looking for inspiation

Poetry Award

Cover of Fur Coats in Tahiti by Jeremy Over

Fur Coats in Tahiti
Jeremy Over

Fur Coats in Tahiti is a cocktail of borrowed forms and modes from Dada, Surrealism, Fluxus, the OuLiPo, the Vienna Group and the New York school. There are scissor snips and slips of the tongue and eye in a sequence of word and image compositions derived from an Edwardian illustrated dictionary. Elsewhere there are childlike, and plain childish, oral and aural pleasures to be had with bananas, cherries and Slobodan Živojinovic; tahini and Petroc Trelawny. The book begins with 'O', an openmouthed astonishment at nativity, and ends, not with Z but, in the hope of further connection, with the twenty-seventh letter of the alphabet: '&'.

JEREMY OVER was born in Leeds in 1961. His poetry was first published in New Poetries II. There followed two Carcanet collections, A Little Bit of Bread and No Cheese and Deceiving Wild Creatures. He currently lives on a hill near Llanidloes in the middle of Wales.

e mail

Deryn Rees-Jones

Erato takes its title from the muse of lyric poetry. Drawing on brief, documentary-style narratives of her life, combined with lyric reinventions, Deryn Rees-Jones asks questions about past, present and future, about the slippages of memory, all our errors and erasures, and the places we inhabit when processing trauma.

DERYN REES-JONES is the author of four previous collections of poetry, shortlisted variously for the Forward (first collection), TS Eliot and Roland Mathias prizes. What It’s Like to Be Alive: Selected Poems was published by Seren in 2016 and was a PBS Special Commendation. Her study of the artist Paula Rego will be published by Thames & Hudson this year. She is the editor of Pavilion Poetry, and teaches at the University of Liverpool where she is Professor of Poetry.

Footnotes to Water
Zoe Skoulding

In "Footnotes to Water", poet Zoë Skoulding follows two forgotten rivers, the Adda in Bangor and the Bièvre in Paris, and tracks the literary hoofprints of sheep through Welsh mountains. In these journeys she reveals urban and rural locales as sites of lively interconnection, exploring the ways in which place shapes and is shaped by language.

ZOË SKOULDING is primarily a poet, although her work encompasses sound-based vocal performance, collaboration, translation, literary criticism, editing, and teaching creative writing. She is a Reader in the School of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics at Bangor University. She is the author of a number of poetry collections, including The Museum of Disappearing Sounds (Seren) which was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award, and Remains of a Future City (Seren), which was long-listed for Wales Book of the Year.

Rhys Davies Trust Fiction Award

Alys Conran

A powerful novel about belonging, race, British India and contemporary Britain, by the Dylan Thomas Prize-shortlisted author of Pigeon.

Broken Ghost
Niall Griffiths

The people who live here in these mountains already have their own demons - drink, drugs, domestic violence, psychoses - but each character has a different experience of this strange apparition, a different reaction, and for some it will change everything.

Cynan Jones

First heard on BBC Radio 4. From one of the most celebrated writers of his generation, Stillicide is a moving story of love and loss and the will to survive, and a powerful glimpse of the tangible future.

Creative Non-Fiction Award

Brando's Bride
Sarah Broughton

In October 1957 Marlon Brando married an Indian actress called Anna Kashfi. He was thirty-three and at the pinnacle of his beautiful fame having recently won an Oscar for On the Waterfront.

Where there's a Will
Emily Chappell

The author looks back on her participation and victory in the Transcontinental - a race across Europe. Explores the paradoxes of comradeship, competition, vulnerability and grief.

On the Red Hill
Mike Parker

'A moving story of love, tradition and landscape.' Evening Standard, 'Books of the Year' 'A moving, multilayered memoir… extraordinary, ambitious…

Children & Young People Award

The Girl who Speaks Bear
Sophie Anderson

Found abandoned in a bear cave as a baby, Yanka has always wondered where she is from. When she has to flee her house, looking for answers about who she really is, a journey far beyond one that she ever imagined begins: from icy rivers to smouldering mountains meeting an ever-growing herd of extraordinary friends along the way.

Butterflies for Grandpa Joe

Grandpa Joe is butterfly bonkers. There's nothing he loves more than photographing the fluttering, colourful creatures in his garden. But since Ben's granny passed away, Grandpa Joe has changed. He doesn't want to go outside or talk or smile.

Dwylo Coch a Menyg Gwynion
Alan Llwyd

Llyfr hanes am 14 o lofruddiaethau go iawn o Gymru. Mae'r awdur yn pwyso a mesur pob achos yn fanwl ac yn trïo dod o hyd i'r straeon gwir y tu ôl i'r achosion hyn.