JL George and Peter Goulding Named Winners of the New Welsh Writing Awards 2019 (24-05-2019)

Pontypool's JL George ambitious novella with big themes and a teenage male friendship at its heart takes top prize alongside Peter Goulding's nonfiction account of the 80s Snowdonia oddball slate clim
We’re delighted to announce the results of the New Welsh Writing Awards 2019 which this year sought entries across two categories: the Aberystwyth University Prize for a Dystopian Novella which was won by Pontypool-based author JL George with her pacey dystopian novella about a teenage duo, Rhydian and Jonno, which balances big concepts such as ethics, language, propaganda and control with a human story of flight and finding love and trust where you can with The Word.

JL George & Peter Goulding Photo Keith Morris

Meanwhile the Rheidol Prize for Writing with a Welsh Theme or Setting was won by Norfolk’s Peter Goulding with On Slate, a tautly laid down account of how the quick-drying slate quarries of North Wales offered play, purpose and place to an eclectic, visionary group of jobless climbers in Thatcher’s 1980s.

The Awards were run in association with Aberystwyth University who sponsored the Dystopian novella category, and the Rheidol Prize for Writing with a Welsh Theme or Setting was made possible thanks to the generous support of long-term subscriber Richard Powell.
Both JL George and Peter Goulding were presented at a buzzing ceremony at Hay Festival on Friday 24 May with a cheque for £1,000 as advance against e-publication by New Welsh Review under their New Welsh Rarebyte imprint and they will also receive a positive critique by leading literary agent Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown.

Second prize went to Penarth resident Sarah Tanburn in the Rheidol category for Hawks of Dust and Wine and Abergavenny’s Rhiannon Lewis for The Significance of Swans; both authors will receive ¬a £300 voucher towards a week-long residential course at Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre in Gwynedd, north Wales.

Penarth scored again with Richard John Parfitt who came third with Tales from the Riverbank in the Rheidol category while Cardiff’s Rosey Brown was placed third in the dystopian novella category with Adrift – both Welsh writers received a voucher for a two-night stay at Gladstone’s Library in Flintshire, north Wales.

The top six shortlisted authors also received a one-year subscription to New Welsh Review and a copy of the summer 2019 issue, hot off the press at Hay. In addition, New Welsh Review will publish the highly commended and shortlisted nominees for publication in the autumn and winter 2019 editions of its creative magazine New Welsh Reader with an associated standard fee.

The Awards were set up in 2015 to champion the best short-form writing. Last year, the winner of the Aberystwyth University Prize for an Essay Collection was Ed Garland for Fiction as a Hearing Aid which New Welsh Review will publish as Earwitness on 31 October 2019.
Aberystwyth University Prize for a Dystopian Novella – Winners
1st Place -JL George (Pontypool, Wales) The Word
2nd Place - Rhiannon Lewis (Abergavenny, Wales) The Significance of Swans
3rd Place -Rosey Brown (Cardiff, Wales) Adrift
Rheidol Prize for Writing with a Welsh Theme or Setting - Winners
1st Place - Peter Goulding (Thetford, England) On Slate (Non-fiction)
2nd Place -Sarah Tanburn (Penarth, Wales) Hawks of Dust and Wine (Fiction)
3rd Place - Richard John Parfitt (Penarth, Wales) Tales from the Riverbank (Non-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’s adjudications in the two categories were as follows: “With regard to the Rheidol Prize winner, Peter Goulding’s nonfiction account of Snowdonia’s rock climbing on slate movement was a surprise, yet instant love. It is humorous, well researched, extremely engaging, has great present descriptions, a fantastic sense of place, breadth in terms of bringing alive the 80s zeitgeist with wider cultural and social reflections and conveys the delight of the sport to the non-enthusiast. In the Dystopian Prize, JL George’s The Word manages to place at the heart of her ambitious novella, which explores ideas about propaganda, communication and cohesion, a touching and compelling story of friendship between two teenage boys on the run.”

Dr Louise Marshall, Head of the Department of English and Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University said: “As sponsors of the New Welsh Writing awards 2019 we would like to extend our sincere congratulations to all of the winners on their success. These awards demonstrate the incredible breadth and variety of new writing emerging from and connected to Wales. This year the Aberystwyth University Prize celebrates writing in a perennially popular genre that is often overlooked by prestigious literary awards and J L George's The Word is an excellent example of dystopian fiction at its very best - topical, compelling, provocative writing. The Rheidol Prize delivered a fascinating and eclectic range of writing that plumbed the depths of Welsh cultures and landscapes. Peter Goulding's evocative account On Slate demonstrates just how literary non-fiction story telling can be. We wish all of the winners the very best for their future and we look forward to reading more from these exceptional writers in the years to come.”

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/Literature Wales. New Welsh Review is supported through core funding by the Welsh Books Council.

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