New Welsh Writing Awards 2020: Rheidol Prize for Prose with a Welsh Theme or Setting is now open for entry (27-11-2019)

£1,000 Prize For Winning Writer… New Welsh Writing Awards 2020: Rheidol Prize for Prose with a Welsh Theme or Setting is now open for entry
Calling all writers! New Welsh Review editor Gwen Davies is seeking the very best new prose with a Welsh theme or setting in the New Welsh Writing Awards 2020, a writing competition now entering its sixth successful year with a top prize of £1,000 cash.

This year the Awards champion works of 5,000 – 30,000 words in one category, the Rheidol Prize for Prose with a Welsh Theme or Setting, which was made possible thanks to both the generous support of long-term subscriber Richard Powell and to Aberystwyth University. The prize is open until 17 March 2020 and is for writers from the UK and Ireland as well as those who have been educated in Wales for over six months. Terms, conditions and the entry form can be found online at here

As well as a cash prize of £1,000 as an advance against an e-publishing deal, the winning writer will also receive a positive critique from stellar literary agent Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown Literary Agency in London. Second prize is a residential course of the writer’s choice at Literature Wales’ Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre in Gwynedd, and third prize is a two-night stay at Gladstone’s Library in Flintshire, north Wales. The three shortlisted and three highly commended authors will also receive a one-year subscription to New Welsh Review. In addition, New Welsh Review will publish extracts of the highly commended and shortlisted nominees for publication in the autumn and winter 2020 editions of its creative magazine New Welsh Reader with an associated fee.

The Awards were set up in 2015 to champion the best short-form writing. At Hay Festival in May, cheques for £1,000 were presented to the winners Jessica George from Pontypool for her dystopian novella The Word and to Peter Goulding from Norfolk, for his creative non-fiction book On Slate; New Welsh Review will publish both titles under their imprint in 2020.

Gwen says: “Entries this year may vary across the categories, from short form Welsh-themed or set-nonfiction e.g. essay collections or books in nonfiction form from history, politics, satire, memoir through travel, nature or comedy writing to a novella set in Wales or with a Welsh theme. For both fiction and nonfiction entries, I would particularly welcome responses to history, for example (in fiction) imaginative responses to or indeed re-imaginings of historical events, including protest, or (in nonfiction), analysis of how such pivotal moments of resistance and change relate to Wales today. I would also be delighted to receive manuscripts inspired by the inanimate world, for example objects, artefacts or place.

The brief for this category nurtures a closer focus on homegrown subjects and settings, while of course these may wander into the ‘foreign country’ of the past as well as setting the past into dialogue with the present and future. We are once again promoting both nonfiction and, for the first time in these Awards’ history, the short story (as well as our everlasting favourite, the novella). The shorter length, just shy of book-length and perfect for the Kindle single format, will be once again embraced, as we continue to celebrate concision but throw our doors open to a vast range of writing forms and experiences.”

Dr Louise Marshall, Head of the Department of English and Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University said: “We are delighted to be involved in the New Welsh Review Writing Awards again this year and are proud to sponsor the Rheidol Prize for Prose. The team at New Welsh Review have shown incredible enthusiasm and dedication over the years for nurturing up-and-coming writers. Our students have benefited from a wide array of opportunities to work with New Welsh Review and this invaluable enhancement of their student experience has provided countless AU graduates with the confidence and skills to test out and grow their talents. We encourage writers to make the most of this opportunity to showcase their work and we look forward to what is sure to be a superlative display of new writing in the 2020 competition.”

This year’s competition follows successful prizes in previous years, which resulted in the publication of books including Eluned Gramich’s Woman Who Brings the Rain which was on the Wales Book of the Year shortlist in 2016; Bush Meat by Mandy Sutter (‘Stitches together the threads of memory to create a moving tapestry of lost life, building bridges of understanding across time and place,’ Rory MacLean), Cath Barton’s The Plankton Collector, a magical haunting tale of family healing that Mavis Cheek found she ‘couldn’t put… down’, the poignant and rigorous memoir on anorexia, My Oxford, by Catherine Haines and, just published on Halloween, Ed Garland’s genre-busting nonfiction title, Earwitness: A Search for Sonic Understanding in Stories.

The shortlist will be announced online on Wednesday 6 May 2020 and winners will be announced at an event at a ceremony in Aberystwyth on Friday 22 May 2020.

The New Welsh Writing Awards 2020 are sponsored by the longstanding subscriber Richard Powell and Aberystwyth University, host of New Welsh Review. The Awards are run in partnership with Curtis Brown Literary Agency, Gladstone’s Library and Literature Wales. New Welsh Review is supported through core funding by the Books Council of Wales. #NewWelshAwards


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