Mary Vaughan Jones Award

This award was established in memory of the significant and unique contribution made by Mary Vaughan Jones to the field of children’s literature in Wales. It is presented once every three years by the Books Council of Wales to a person who has made a valuable contribution to the field of children’s literature in Wales over many years.

The award was presented in 2021 to Menna Lloyd Williams, the first head of the Children’s Books Department at the Books Council for a contribution which has been key to the development of children’s and young people’s books in Wales.

We are delighted to share this special digital event to celebrate Menna Lloyd Williams’ remarkable contribution. The event includes guest contributions from Gwerfyl Pierce Jones, Geraint Lewis, Philip Pullman, Daniel Evans, Casia Wiliam and Adran Bro Alaw.

The event is held through the medium of Welsh.


Mary Vaughan Jones, who died in 1983, was one of the main benefactors of children’s literature in Wales for a period of over thirty years. She was an infants teacher for eighteen years, five of which were spent at the first official Welsh-language school, and then a lecturer in infant method in a Teachers’ Training College. In her later years she was crippled with arthritis and mainly confined to her home, but she continued to write for younger children right up to her death in early 1983. She wrote nearly forty books for children, one of the most popular being Sali Mali, her first book in a learning-to-read series for younger children. Thousands of children whose native language or second language is Welsh will have learned to read with Sali Mali.

She also created the reading series Cyfres Dau Dau, a series of eight grades with a large and smaller book in each grade with the odd supplementary book of rhymes or simple plays based on the same characters. She also undertook translation work, her best perhaps being the Welsh version of Tamasin Cole’s Fourteen Rats and a Rat Catcher and Pat Hutchins’s Rosie’s Walk.

Those eligible to be considered for the award

Anyone who has contributed extensively to the field of children’s books in Welsh over a period of years, whether as an author, artist, bookseller, librarian, officer etc, can be considered.

For someone who has made a contribution mainly as part of their job, it would be necessary to demonstrate that the contribution is truly exceptional and goes beyond the general requirements of a salaried post.

The Mary Vaughan Jones Trophy is the highest honour in the field of children’s books in Wales and should be considered the crowning glory of the winner’s career. Individual award winners, such as the Tir na n-Og prize, should not be excluded when considering merit for this honour.


1985 – Ifor Owen

1988 – Emily Huws

1991 – T. Llew Jones

1994 – W. J. Jones

1997 – Roger Boore

2000 – J. Selwyn Lloyd

2003 – Elfyn Pritchard

2006 – Mair Wynn Hughes

2009 – Angharad Tomos

2012 – Jac Jones

2015 – Siân Lewis

2018 – Gareth F. Williams

2021 – Menna Lloyd Williams