The Books Council of Wales and influencer, presenter and book lover Ellis Lloyd Jones revealed the English-language shortlist for this year’s Tir na n-Og Awards on Friday 15 March at 12pm, on their Instagram and TikTok channels. The awards celebrate the very best of stories from Wales and about Wales that were published in 2023.

The Tir na n-Og Awards are the oldest awards for children’s literature in Wales and are held every year by the Books Council of Wales, supported by CILIP Cymru Wales. They celebrate the talents of authors and illustrators who either create original works in Welsh, or who write about authentically Welsh themes or backgrounds through the medium of English.

Ellis will reveal the books on the shortlist from a special bookshop location. This year the stories celebrate all things beastly, ghostly and mysterious, and will take young readers on three awesome adventures rooted in Welsh history and myth.

 The shortlist for the best English-language book with an authentic Welsh dimension is:

The Ghosts of Craig Glas Castle by Michelle Briscombe (Candy Jar Books)
Follow Flora and Archie as they delve into the spooky secrets of the past in Craig Glas Castle. While Dad values the antiques, will the castle’s ghosts provide enough clues for Flora and Archie to discover the secrets of the mysterious garden and right the wrongs of the past? A fast paced and exciting story filled with phantoms, friendship, and family.

Vivi Conway and the Sword of Legend by Lizzie Huxley-Jones (Knights of)
The lake has been calling to twelve-year-old Vivi Conway. On the day she and her Mams will move from Wales to London, she sneaks out to investigate what is calling her there. Instead of a quiet swim, she finds Excalibur (much smaller than she expected), a ferocious monster (much scarier in real life than in her mythology books), a new friend (which she doesn’t want at all) called Dara, and a ghostly dog named Gelert (who can talk). A fantastic, inclusive story full of Welsh myths and legends which sweeps you away on a gripping adventure.

Where the River Takes Us by Lesley Parr (Bloomsbury Publishing Ltd)
February 1974. Whispers echo through the valley – tales of a wild beast roaming the mountains. When a reward is offered for proof of its existence, Jason and his friends are determined to find the creature first. But for Jason it’s more than a quest – the money is a way for him and his brother to stay together. So the four friends set off, following the river north, not realising that this journey will push them to their limits. An extraordinary adventure awaits …

 Highly recommended
The panel also wanted to give special recognition to the four titles submitted from the Welsh Wonders series (Broga); a series of books celebrating the lives and achievements of notable Welsh people, and their lasting influence in Wales and beyond:

Ann (by Menna Machreth, illustrated by Emily Kimbell), Laura (by Mari Lovgreen, illustrated by Sara Rhys), Betty (by Nia Morais, illustrated by Anastasia Magloire), and Wallace (by Aneirin Karadog, illustrated by Alyn Smith).

Independent panels of judges select the shortlists and decide on the winners for the Welsh and English awards each year. This year, the judges on the English-language panel were Simon Fisher (Chair), Elizabeth Kennedy, Karen Gemma Brewer and Katie Rees.

Simon Fisher, Chair of the English-language judging panel says: “The judges are extremely happy with this year’s shortlist. The Tir na n-Og Award is all about authentic Welsh subject matter which these three stories have in abundance. The judges believe that the shortlist is relevant and relatable to children across Wales and that the assured writing delivers a captivating and enjoyable experience. The three titles each have a unique and lasting identity that allows readers to explore and understand emotive topics whilst also adding to a shared cultural identity.”

Helgard Krause, Chief Executive of the Books Council of Wales said: “Congratulations to the authors and illustrators on this year’s shortlists. The entries were excellent once again this year and I’d like to thank the judging panels for all their work to select the shortlists from amongst so many wonderful titles. I’m looking forward to finding out which books win the awards in the summer and wish all the finalists the very best of luck.”

Ellis Lloyd Jones says: “I’ve always enjoyed reading and nothing beats a good book that makes you smile, that takes you on adventures and transports you to different worlds. And the best thing about the Tir na n-Og Awards is that they celebrate all books from Wales! This year’s shortlist does not disappoint – every book is full of mystery, adventure and magic.”

You can see the announcement at:

Instagram: xellislloydjonesx and

TikTok: @ellislloydjones

The shortlisted titles for the Welsh-language Tir na n-Og Awards 2024 were announced on the Heno programme on S4C on Wednesday 13 March.

This year, young readers can once again choose the winners in a special category: the Readers’ Choice Award. This award is chosen by children and young people who take part in the Tir na n-Og shadowing scheme. Schools, libraries and other children’s reading groups can register to take part and be unofficial judges to choose winners from the shortlisted books, with the guidance of the shadowing pack. You can find out how to register on the Books Council’s website, 

The winner of the English-language category will be announced on Friday 17 May at the CILIP Cymru Wales conference in Cardiff. The winners of the Welsh-language categories will be announced at 1pm on Wednesday 29 May at the Urdd Eisteddfod in Meifod.

Bookshops and libraries will be holding Tir na n-Og Treasure Hunts over the Easter holidays with the chance for children aged 4–11 to take part. Ask your local bookshop or library for details.

Further information about the awards and the shortlisted titles can be found on the Books Council’s website.