Y Gragen launched at the Urdd Eisteddfod, Carmarthenshire

Y Gragen launched at the Urdd Eisteddfod, Carmarthenshire

Y GRAGEN LAUNCHED AT THE URDD EISTEDDFOD, CARMARTHENSHIRE

Y Gragen, an original picture story book by Casia Wiliam, was launched at the Urdd Eisteddfod, Carmarthenshire.

The volume was illustrated by Naomi Bennet, winner of a special competition, organised by the Books Council of Wales and Urdd Gobaith Cymru, to discover new talent in the field of children’s book illustration.

Naomi Bennet was awarded the prize in 2022.  The task for entrants aged 18 to 25 was to create original artwork illustrating Y Gragen, a short children’s story by Casia Wiliam – one of Wales’s leading children’s authors.

Bethan Jones, Head of the Department of Children’s Books and Reading Promotion at the Books Council of Wales, said: “We are delighted that Y Gragen has now been published, and that everyone can see Naomi Bennet’s work in print.  Thank you once again to the Urdd for supporting this special competition. It’s vital that we continue to nurture and promote new talent and standards in this field in Wales.”

The Books Council will continue to work with the Urdd on the competition for young illustrators at the 2024 Urdd National Eisteddfod. Further details will be published in September 2023.

The title is published by Barddas and is available now in bookshops and libraries across Wales.

Announcing the Winner of the English-language Tir na n-Og Award 2023

Announcing the Winner of the English-language Tir na n-Og Award 2023

The Drowned Woods by Emily Lloyd-Jones (published by Hodder & Stoughton) is the 2023 winner of the Tir na n-Og English-language Award for children and young people’s literature.

The winning book was announced on The Review Show on Radio Wales at 18:30 on Friday 2 June 2023.

Established in 1976, the annual Tir na n-Og Awards celebrate the best books for children and young people in Wales. They are organised by the Books Council of Wales and sponsored by CILIP Cymru Wales, the library and information association. The winning authors each receive a cash prize of £1,000 sponsored by CILIP Cymru Wales, as well as a specially commissioned trophy created by Aberystwyth and Tregaron-based designers Dawn’s Welsh Gifts.

The Drowned Woods is both fantasy and thriller, set in a time in which the kingdoms of Wales are rife with magic and conflict. The main character, eighteen-year-old Mererid – or ‘Mer’ as she is known to the reader – is well-acquainted with both the good and the bad aspects of these kingdoms. As the last living water diviner, she can manipulate water with magic, a unique elemental power many would kill to possess. For years, Mer has been running from the prince who bound her into his service and forced her to kill thousands with her magic. Now, all Mer truly wants is a safe, quiet life, far from power and politics. But then Mer’s old handler, the king’s spymaster, returns with a proposition: she is to use her powers to bring down the very prince that abused them both.

This winning title is the second book to be won by an author living in America. Emily Lloyd-Jones joins author Nancy Bond, who won the 1977 Tir na n-Og English-language Award with her novel A String in the Harp.

Emily Lloyd-Jones said: “I’m thrilled that The Drowned Woods has won the Tir na n-Og English Award! I can’t imagine having to choose between the shortlisted books — all the authors are so talented. I would like to extend my gratitude to the panel of judges, to the Books Council of Wales, and to my publishing team at Hodder. My love of reading was kindled by books based on Welsh folklore, and I’m excited to share those myths with a new generation of readers.”

Simon Fisher, from the judging panel, said: “Game of Thrones comes to Cardigan Bay! The Drowned Woods is a vividly imagined medieval heist full of danger, threat and magic. Drawing on Welsh mythology, including the legend of Cantre’r Gwaelod, this YA fantasy thriller is hugely enjoyable and will have wide appeal.”

The books on the 2023 shortlist introduce young readers to a whole cast of memorable characters that star in an array of exciting and enjoyable stories. The shortlisted titles exemplify the power of a good book to spark the imagination.

The other shortlisted titles for the English-language category are:

  • The Mab by various authors edited by Eloise Williams and Matt Brown, illustrated by Max Low (Unbound)
  • The Blackthorn Branch by Elen Caldecott (Andersen Press)
  • The Blue Book of Nebo by Manon Steffan Ros (Firefly Press)

This year, the Books Council of Wales introduced a new element with the introduction of the Readers’ Choice Award. This is a special award chosen by children and young people who took part in the Tir na n-Og Shadowing Scheme. The winner of the Readers’ Choice Award was also announced today with The Mab, by various authors and edited by Eloise Williams and Matt Brown, illustrated by Max Low, named the 2023 winner.

Amy Staniforth from CILIP Cymru Wales said: “Many congratulations to the winners on their terrific achievement. We are proud to sponsor the Tir na n-Og Awards again this year, and to continue helping children and young people to discover the very best of books from Wales and about Wales.”

Helgard Krause, Chief Executive of the Books Council of Wales, said: “Thank you to everyone involved in this year’s competition, and many congratulations to the winning authors, whose stories have stood out among the many fantastic titles on the shortlists. And a special thank you this year goes to the children and young people who have taken part in the Shadowing Scheme and contributed with such enthusiasm to the Readers’ Choice awards.”

The winners of the two Welsh-language category Tir na n-Og Awards 2023 were revealed at the Urdd Eisteddfod in Carmarthenshire on Thursday 1 June 2023. The winning titles are Dwi Eisiau bod yn Ddeinosor by Luned Aaron and Huw Aaron, and Manawydan Jones: Y Pair Dadeni by Alun Davies. Manon Steffan Ros was awarded the Readers’ Choice Award in both the primary and secondary age categories with Enwogion o Fri: Nye – Bywyd Angerddol Aneurin Bevan and Powell.  

The other shortlisted Welsh-language titles are:

Primary age category

  • Enwogion o Fri: Nye – Bywyd Angerddol Aneurin Bevan by Manon Steffan Ros, illustrated by Valériane Leblond (Llyfrau Broga)
  • Dros y Môr a’r Mynyddoedd by various authors, illustrated by Elin Manon (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch)

 Secondary age category

  • Gwlad yr Asyn by Wyn Mason, illustrated by Efa Blosse Mason (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch)
  • Powell by Manon Steffan Ros (Y Lolfa)

 

Announcing the Winners of the Welsh-language Tir na n-Og Awards 2023

Announcing the Winners of the Welsh-language Tir na n-Og Awards 2023

Books full of fun and excitement, together with strong messages, win the Welsh-language Tir na n-Og Awards 2023

The winners in the Welsh-language categories of the Tir na n-Og Awards were announced in a special ceremony held at the Carmarthenshire Urdd Eisteddfod today, Thursday 1 June 2023. The prize-winning books – Dwi Eisiau bod yn Ddeinosor by Luned Aaron and Huw Aaron, and Manawydan Jones: Y Pair Dadeni by Alun Davies – celebrate each child’s uniqueness, and the importance of accepting what makes you amazing. And, in addition, both books show how powerful a good story and strong characters are in firing the imagination.

The annual Tir na n-Og Awards, established in 1976, celebrate the best books for children and young in Wales. They are arranged by the Books Council Wales with sponsorship by CILIP Cymru Wales, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Wales.

The winners receive a financial prize of £1,000, sponsored by CILIP Cymru Wales, together with a trophy specially commissioned and created by designers from Dawn’s Welsh Gifts, a company located at Aberystwyth and Tregaron.

Winner of the primary age category:

Dwi Eisiau bod yn Ddeinosor by Luned Aaron and Huw Aaron (published by Atebol) This is a picture story book bursting with mischief and imagination. The main character wants to be a dinosaur, or a “robot, rocket, crocodile or dragon” – to name only a few things on his list! Rather than seeing the differences between himself and the other creatures in the book, he comes to realise that he is unique in his own way – and that there is no-one like him. And that, of course, is what makes him special. This is a modern, humorous and very colourful book that discusses an important message – you’re good enough just as you are.

Morgan Dafydd, Chair of the Judging Panel, said: “After the dark years of the pandemic, enjoying a book containing an element of humour was a tonic and a breath of fresh air. The rhyming text flows smoothly and naturally, and the story itself is so playful. This book would be suitable for a child to read independently, or to share with a parent. The panel could imagine an adult smiling whilst reading with a child.

“Even though the book is fairly short, the illustrations are colourful, clear, modern and striking. The judges liked the message in the book, namely ‘being comfortable in your own skin’ – it was clear without being preachy, or feeling forced in any way. We were all agreed that light books, full of humour, are important in order to attract (and retain) readers.”

Luned Aaron said: “It means a great deal to us both to have won a Tir na n-Og Award with our picture story book Dwi Eisiau Bod yn Ddeinosor, and we consider it to be a great honour. It’s a great feeling to be joint winners! Many thanks to Rachel Lloyd from Atebol, the publisher, for her help as creative editor of the book. The sterling promotion work in connection with the competition this year has been wonderful, with numerous activities such as the Shadowing Scheme, the Treasure Hunt and a competition for the best exhibition in bookshop windows adding to the excitement.”

On behalf of Atebol, Rachel Lloyd said: “The Tir na n-Og Awards provide a special opportunity to draw attention to books for children and young people, and to celebrate the wealth of new and exciting publications that we have here in Wales. We are delighted that the book appealed to the judging panel, and that it succeeded in coming to the fore this year. Winning the Primary age category is a great honour for us.”

Winner of the secondary age category:

Manawydan Jones: Y Pair Dadeni by Alun Davies (published by Y Lolfa) The story opens with the discovery of a dead body, and readers soon realise that this book will be full of mystery and suspense. We then meet a young boy called Manawydan Jones, who is different from the other children he knows in school – but that’s not a bad thing. That’s what makes him special – together with the fact that he is related to Manawydan fab Llŷr, a character from the Mabinogi. And this realisation is just the start of the exciting adventure.

But Manawydan Jones is not simply a fantasy adventure book – it is also a sensitive story about family, friendship, identity and belonging. It introduces brave, strong and memorable characters who emphasize the important message of ‘following your own path’. This is an exciting novel that crosses the boundary between the real world and the world of myth and magic: a modern, fresh interpretation of the old tales of the Mabinogi being presented to a new generation of readers.

Morgan Dafydd, Chair of the Judging Panel, said: “The author, in his first attempt at writing for young adults, gives a modern twist on the traditional tales of the Mabinogi. The story moves between the main narrative, namely a young boy’s journey on a magical adventure, and the Police’s attempt to solve a mystery about a suspicious murderer. These sections added to the story and connected the real word with the magical world of the island of Fosgad. This novel would appeal to any reader who is fond of adventure, history and fantasy.”

Alun Davies said: “I’m delighted and very proud to have won a Tir na n-Og Award this year. The shortlist was very competitive, and I warmly congratulate Manon Steffan Ros and Wyn and Efa Blosse Mason for creating such wonderful books. This title is just the start of Manawydan Jones’s adventure, and I’m glad that so many have enjoyed it; I hope the readers are looking forward to seeing more of the character in the near future.”

Lefi Gruffudd, Head of Publishing at Y Lolfa, said: “We’re very excited that Alun Davies has won his category this year. He is one of our most talented authors and has worked hard over recent years. His trilogy of novels for adults about the detective Taliesin MacLeavy are masterpieces; the novel Manawydan Jones: Y Pair Dadeni is also a joy to read and showcases the author’s craft in introducing Welsh myths to teenage readers.”

The Tir na n-Og 2023 shortlist introduces young readers to a cast of strong characters, both mythical and creative, who take pride of place in remarkable and imaginative stories. The other titles on the shortlist in the Welsh-language categories were as follows:

Primary age category

  • Enwogion o Fri: Nye – Bywyd Angerddol Aneurin Bevan by Manon Steffan Ros, illustrated by Valériane Leblond (Llyfrau Broga)
  • Dros y Môr a’r Mynyddoedd by several authors, illustrated by Elin Manon (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch)

 Secondary age category

  • Gwlad yr Asyn by Wyn Mason, illustrated by Efa Blosse Mason (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch)
  • Powell by Manon Steffan Ros (Y Lolfa)

Amy Staniforth from CILIP Cymru Wales said: “Many congratulations to the winners on their terrific achievement. We are proud to sponsor the Tir na n-Og Awards again this year, and to continue helping children and young people to discover the very best of books from Wales and about Wales.”

This year, the Books Council of Wales has introduced a new element to the awards, namely the Readers’ Choice – a special award for which the winner is chosen by the children and young people who have taken part in the Tir na n-Og Shadowing Scheme. The winners of the Readers’ Choice award were also announced during today’s ceremony, where Manon Steffan Ros was the winner in both Welsh-language categories with her books Enwogion o Fri: Nye – Bywyd Angerddol Aneurin Bevan and Powell.

 

    

Helgard Krause, Chief Executive of the Books Council of Wales said: “Thank you to everyone involved in this year’s competition, and many congratulations to the winning authors, whose stories have stood out among the many fantastic titles on the shortlists. And a special thank you this year goes to the children and young people who have taken part in the Shadowing Scheme and contributed with such enthusiasm to the Readers’ Choice awards.”

The winner of the award in the English-language category, and the Readers’ Choice award, will be announced on Radio Wales during The Review Show on Friday evening, 2 June 2023.

 

£400,000 to create new opportunities and develop new audiences in the publishing sector in Wales

£400,000 to create new opportunities and develop new audiences in the publishing sector in Wales

£400,000 to create new opportunities and develop new audiences in the publishing sector in Wales

Today the Books Council of Wales, with Creative Wales, have announced the details of a £400,000 fund to offer the New Audiences Grant for a second year; to strengthen and diversify the publishing industry in Wales.

Grants of up to £40,000 are available for organisations and new ventures in Wales to:

  • develop new authors, illustrators or contributors from culturally diverse backgrounds or under-represented groups from Wales, and provide them with the support and opportunities they may need to be published in Wales;
  • target new audiences in Wales by developing original material and/or using media channels or formats currently not funded;
  • set up a publishing business or publication that will strengthen and diversify the current offer in Wales.

Helgard Krause, Chief Executive of the Books Council said: “Last year’s fund enabled us to support more ventures and a wider range of projects than we could have imagined. The funded projects, of which there were more than 40 last year, show what can happen when people take the initiative and come together to collaborate, share experiences and create something new.

Thanks to Welsh Government through Creative Wales, we are able to offer the fund again for a second year and continue to build on this vital area of work.”

Dawn Bowden, Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport said: “I am delighted that the Welsh Government through Creative Wales has been able to provide funding to support the New Audiences Grant again this year. The many different projects which received the funding in 2022 have enriched the world of publishing and writing, providing platforms and opportunities to tell more stories that reflect the whole breadth of Wales and Welsh life. I’m looking forward to seeing even more excellent work in the coming year.”

Details of how to apply are on the Books Council’s website books.wales. The closing date for applications is 31 May 2023.

£400,000 to create new opportunities and develop new audiences in the publishing sector in Wales

Additional funding to expand its Welsh-language digital news service

golwg360 receives £330,000 additional funding to expand its Welsh-language digital news service

The Welsh-language news website golwg360 has secured £330,000 of additional funding to expand its provision of digital news content. The grant, which is administered by the Books Council of Wales on behalf of Welsh Government, is available to ensure the availability of a range of digital news services through the medium of Welsh.

£100,000 a year for three years was still available under the terms of the grant, in addition to £30,000 remaining from 2022–23, after the Corgi Cymru news service was discontinued at the end of 2022. The additional funding was allocated following an open tender process over the winter.

Arwel Jones, Head of Publishing Development at the Books Council of Wales, said: “It’s good to see that golwg360’s news service is going from strength to strength, and we look forward to seeing this additional funding helping to develop ways of reaching new audiences.”

Owain Schiavone, Chief Executive of Golwg Cyf, said: “We are of course very pleased with the additional investment towards golwg360, and are looking forward to developing a number of exciting projects over the next three years. This investment will help to strengthen the current service, which does a great job considering the resources, but will also provide an opportunity for us to complement the core service by experimenting and developing new elements.”

The new developments will start from 1 April 2023.

Announcing the Winner of the English-language Tir na n-Og Award 2023

English-language Shortlist revealed for Tir na n-Og Awards 2023

Tir na n-Og 2023

English-language shortlist revealed for Wales’ oldest children’s book award

Fantasy, other worlds and alternative realities, myths and legends… The Books Council of Wales will reveal the English-language shortlist for this year’s Tir na n-Og Awards on the Radio Wales Arts Show on Friday, 24 March at 6:30pm. This year’s titles celebrate the power of storytelling – a theme that is at the heart of the four books shortlisted for this year’s English-language prize.

The Tir na n-Og Awards are the oldest and most popular awards for children’s literature in Wales and are held every year by the Books Council of Wales, sponsored 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. 

Some of Wales’ leading authors and illustrators have won the award in previous years, including Manon Steffan Ros, Jac Jones and Catherine Fisher. The aim is to celebrate reading for pleasure and to inspire reading choices for young readers. Through the awards, children and young people can enjoy and be inspired by stories and writing from or about Wales.

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

 The Blackthorn Branch, Elen Caldecott (Andersen Press)
A relatable modern Welsh setting with characters you feel instantly at home with. And yet these joyous working-class kids are drawn into a parallel fantasy realm and have to battle magical creatures as well as deal with their own struggles – not least a missing brother and grieving family.

Blue Book of Nebo, Manon Steffan Ros (Firefly)
Translated by the author from a multi-award winning Welsh novel. The book explores the relationship between a mother and son and their survival after The End (a nuclear event). For such demanding and distressing subject matter, there are moments of great tenderness, hope and optimism.

 The Drowned Woods, Emily Lloyd-Jones (Hodder)
Game of Thrones comes to Cardigan Bay! The Drowned Woods is a vividly imagined medieval heist full of danger, threat and magic. Drawing on Welsh mythology including the legend of Cantre’r Gwaelod, this YA fantasy thriller is hugely enjoyable and will have wide appeal.

The Mab, by various authors, illustrated by Max Low, Ed. Matt Brown and Eloise Williams, (Unbound)
The Mab brings together the very best of contemporary Welsh authors to retell the stories of the Mabinogion. New life is given to these classic tales – the humour, eccentricity, threat and sheer brilliance of these ancient stories are evident through the joy of the writing.

 

Independent panels of judges select the shortlists and decide on the winners for the Welsh and English awards each year. This year’s judges on the English Panel Jannat Ahmed (Chair), Simon Fisher and Elizabeth Kennedy – bring with them a wealth of experience and passion for children’s books.

Helgard Krause, Chief Executive of the Books Council of Wales, said: “Congratulations to everyone who has contributed to the books on this year’s shortlist. The English-language prize showcases books with an authentic Welsh dimension – and this year’s shortlist is a wonderful celebration of Wales’ storytelling traditions. I’m sure every one of these titles will capture the imaginations of young readers, and I’m looking forward to finding out the winner of the awards in June.”

The shortlisted titles for the Welsh-language Tir na n-Og Awards 2023 were announced on the Heno programme on S4C on Thursday, 23 March.

The shortlisted titles in the Welsh-language primary age category are Dros y Môr a’r Mynyddoedd, various authors, illustrated by Elin Manon (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch), Dwi Eisiau Bod yn Ddeinosor, Huw Aaron and Luned Aaron (Atebol), and Enwogion o Fri: Nye – Bywyd Angerddol Aneurin Bevan, Manon Steffan Ros, illustrated by Valériane Leblond (Llyfrau Broga).

The books shortlisted in the Welsh-language secondary age category are Gwlad yr Asyn, Wyn Mason, illustrated by Efa Blosse Mason (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch), Manawydan Jones: Y Pair Dadeni, Alun Davies (Y Lolfa), and Powell, by Manon Steffan Ros (Y Lolfa).

This year there will be 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 a winner 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 winners of the Welsh-language categories will be announced at the Urdd Eisteddfod in Carmarthenshire on Thursday, 1 June, while the winning English-language title will be revealed on the Radio Wales Arts Show on Friday, 2 June.

Bookshops will be holding Tir na n-Og Treasure Hunts over the Easter holidays with the chance for children aged 4-11 to win a £15 book token. Ask your local bookshop for details.

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

Announcing the Winner of the English-language Tir na n-Og Award 2023

Welsh-language shorlist for the Tir na n-Og Award 2023 revealed

Welsh-language shortlist revealed for Wales’ oldest children’s book awards – the Tir na n-Og Awards 2023

The Books Council of Wales revealed the Welsh-language shortlists for this year’s Tir na n-Og Awards on S4C’s progamme, Heno, on Thursday, 23 March. The awards celebrate the very best of stories from Wales and stories of Wales published in 2022.

This year’s shortlist celebrates the wide range of different formats published over the last year to inspire young readers. Including story and picture books, humorous rhymes for small children, a graphic novel, short stories and novels – there’s something for everyone.

The Tir na n-Og Awards are the oldest and most popular awards for children’s literature in Wales and are held every year by the Books Council of Wales, sponsored 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.

Some of Wales’ leading authors and illustrators have won the award in previous years, including Manon Steffan Ros, Jac Jones, Caryl Lewis and Gareth F. Williams. The aim is to celebrate reading for pleasure and to inspire reading choices for young readers. Through the awards, children and young people can enjoy and be inspired by stories and writing from or about Wales.

The Welsh-language prize has two categories: Primary (age 4–11) and Secondary (age 11–18).

Primary Age Shortlist

Dros y Môr a’r Mynyddoedd, various authors, illustrated by Elin Manon (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch)
A beautiful collection of international Celtic stories. While each story is unique and different they all have one thing in common – the strong and determined female characters that lead each one.

Dwi Eisiau Bod yn Ddeinosor, Huw Aaron and Luned Aaron (Atebol)
A modern, funny and colourful book that’s full of fun, with an important message – you’re enough just as you are.

Enwogion o Fri: Nye – Bywyd Angerddol Aneurin Bevan, Manon Steffan Ros, illustrated by Valériane Leblond (Llyfrau Broga)
The perfect combination of words and pictures come together to tell the story of a shy young boy from South Wales, who succeeded in helping millions of people through his work to establish one of our national treasures.

Secondary Age Shortlist

Gwlad yr Asyn, Wyn Mason, illustrated by Efa Blosse Mason (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch)
A witty and unusual graphic novel, based on a stage play. It tells the story of a donkey that is used to spending all its time around people, but by the end she comes to question her own identity!

Manawydan Jones: Y Pair Dadeni, Alun Davies (Y Lolfa)
A fantasy adventure full of mystery that crosses the boundary between the real and magical worlds. A modern and fresh twist on the old tales of the Mabinogi, presented for a new generation.

Powell, Manon Steffan Ros (Y Lolfa)
A poignant, important and timely novel that shines a light on a difficult subject – Wales’ role in the slave industry. As we have come to expect from the author, it is the characters who are at the heart of the story throughout.

 


Independent panels of judges select the shortlists and decide on the winners for the Welsh and English awards each year. This year’s judges on the Welsh-language panel were Morgan Dafydd
(Chair), Sara Yassine, Francesca Sciarrillo, Sioned Dafydd (secondary) and Siôn Edwards (primary), who bring with them a wealth of experience and passion for children’s books.

The Chair of the Welsh-language Panel, Morgan Dafydd, said: Despite the cost of living crisis, from looking at this year’s provision we can see that the book industry continues to hold its ground and that creativity is flourishing. This year we saw a mixture of new names in the world of children’s books alongside more familiar ones. In my third year on the panel I can say with certainty that the standard is very high this year – and in truth it continues to rise every year.”

Helgard Krause, Chief Executive of the Books Council of Wales, said:Congratulations to everyone involved in creating the wonderful books on this year’s shortlist. It’s heartening to see original Welsh-language books in such a range of different formats that will appeal to young readers. I’m really looking forward to discovering which books will take the awards this year.

The English-language shortlist will be announced at 18:30 on Friday, 24 March on the Radio Wales Arts Show.

This year there will be 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 a winner 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 winning titles in each category will be announced on Thursday, 1 June at the Urdd Eisteddfod in Llandovery, Carmarthenshire (Welsh-language), and on Friday, 2 June on the Radio Wales Arts Show (English-language).

Bookshops will be holding Tir na n-Og Treasure Hunts over the Easter holidays with the chance for children aged 4–11 to win a £15 book token. Ask your local bookshop for details.

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

£400,000 to create new opportunities and develop new audiences in the publishing sector in Wales

Make it YOUR World Book Day in 2023

Make it YOUR World Book Day in 2023

Working in partnership to help more children than ever discover a love of books and reading

The charity World Book Day® is holding its annual celebration on Thursday, 2 March 2023, a day dedicated to ensuring all children can develop a love of reading.

World Book Day will give families and children a huge number of opportunities to mark the day in fun and affordable ways that are meaningful to them – in 2023, it’s YOUR World Book Day!

With reading for pleasure being the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success – more than their family circumstances, their parents’ educational background or their income – it has never been more important to ensure all children can develop a love of reading. World Book Day exists to encourage more children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to benefit from a lifelong habit of reading for pleasure.

Supported by long-term sponsor National Book Tokens and working alongside publishers and booksellers, World Book Day distributes over 15 million £1/€1.50 book tokens across the UK and Ireland every year through schools, nurseries, libraries, prisons and other charities. There is no cost involved at all in claiming a £1 World Book Day book.

Cassie Chadderton, CEO of World Book Day commented: Our charity’s mission is to change lives through a love of books and reading. In 2023, as the cost of living crisis puts increasing pressure on families across the UK and Ireland, we are doing everything we can to ensure every child has access to a book at home. With reading for pleasure in decline and at its lowest levels since 2005, this is more important than ever.

“Last year over two million books were given to children by booksellers and publishers, and this year we can’t wait to celebrate with families, communities and schools and see how children make World Book Day their very own this year.”

Helgard Krause, Chief Executive of the Books Council of Wales, said: “Celebrating reading for pleasure and making books accessible to all is at the heart of our work at the Books Council of Wales. I’m so pleased that we’ll be working with our friends at World Book Day and the National Literacy Trust to make books available through their networks this year and I hope that children, young people and their families will find books to entertain and inspire them.”

Jonathan Douglas, CEO at the National Literacy Trust, said: “At the National Literacy Trust, we are committed to making sure every child has access to books, so they can discover the joys of reading. Our research found that having books at home is linked to higher reading frequency and reading enjoyment among children, and yet 1 in 10 children aged 8–18 from disadvantaged backgrounds said that they don’t own a single book of their own at home. We are proud to be working with our friends at World Book Day and the Books Council of Wales to help address this situation and get free books into the hands of children who need them the most.”

Partnerships
The Books Council of Wales will be working in partnership with World Book Day and the National Literacy Trust to distribute over ten thousand free books, in both Welsh and English, to food banks and community projects across Wales. The selection will include £1 World Book Day titles as well as other books for children and young adults to enjoy. Books will be delivered to food banks throughout 2023.

World Book Day activity packs
There is a wide range of educational materials, downloadable activity packs and online assets and tools available for teachers, parents, carers and beyond, to bring reading for pleasure to life for children in exciting and relevant ways www.worldbookday.com/celebrate-world-book-day/

In Wales the Books Council of Wales supports World Book Day, providing bilingual resources for schools, public libraries, bookshops, nursery settings and other organisations; they also commission a new Welsh-language £1 book each year.

Welsh-language or bilingual resources are available at llyfrau.cymru

Bookshops and Retailers
Booksellers across Wales will be taking part in World Book Day 2023, welcoming children, families, schools and local communities to choose a book and discover more about the exciting world of reading. A selection of Welsh-language titles is available to buy with the £1 token. This year’s new Welsh-language title is Gwisg Ffansi Cyw, by Anni Llŷn, which joins Lledrith yn y Llyfrgell, by the same author; Ha Ha Cnec! by author, illustrator and cartoonist Huw Aaron, and Stori Cymru – Iaith a Gwaith by Myrddin ap Dafydd.

The £1 World Book Day tokens can be redeemed for any £1 World Book Day book from Thursday, 16 February to Sunday, 26 March 2023 in bookshops, bookshop chains and participating retailers. Alternatively, they can also be used as a £1 contribution to any other book. The single-use digital token can also be downloaded from the World Book Day website.

Be sure to keep an eye on your local bookshop’s website and social media channels to stay up to date with what’s happening in your area. You can find your local independent bookshop on the Books Council of Wales’ website at Bookshops of Wales | Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru

Visit www.worldbookday.com for more information and come and join the celebration!

 

 

£400,000 to create new opportunities and develop new audiences in the publishing sector in Wales

Celebrating five years of learning Welsh with Amdani

The National Centre for Learning Welsh and the Books Council of Wales are marking a milestone this year as they celebrate five years of the popular Amdani series of Welsh books for learners. During 2023 every title in the series will be made available as an audiobook for the first time.

There are 40 books in the series, from a variety of Welsh publishers, commissioned through Books Council of Wales grant funding.

The books are graded at four levels for learners – Entry, Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced, and the aim is to provide learners with opportunities to enjoy reading about a range of subjects. The series is the result of a successful partnership between the National Centre for Learning Welsh and the Books Council of Wales.

The series is celebrated through the Amdani Festival, which will be held virtually this year between 27 February and 3 March, providing learners with opportunities to enjoy activities and events that are linked to reading in Welsh.

Amdani titles include:

            

Entry Level: Wynne Evans – O Gaerfyrddin i Go Compare by Elin Meek (Atebol)
A biography of the singer and presenter Wynne Evans. A very personal and honest history of Wynne and his family, his experiences as a famous tenor, and his journey to learn Welsh as an adult.


Foundation Level: Yn ei Gwsg
by Bethan Gwanas (Atebol)
A lively novel about a mystery hit-and-run car crash. Dafydd, who walks in his sleep, wakes up covered in blood … but who’s to blame?

Intermediate Level: 20 o Arwyr Cymru by J. Richard Williams (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch)
A book celebrating 20 Welsh heroes and their notable contribution. Discover the stories of Betsi Cadwaladr, Ray Gravell, Kate Roberts and others.

Advanced Level: Cawl a Straeon Eraill (Y Lolfa)
A series of short stories by well-known authors, including Sarah Reynolds, Mihangel Morgan and Lleucu Roberts.


Arwel Jones, Head of Publishing Development at the Books Council
, said: “Five years ago there were no books for learners that were designed to match the national learning standards. In collaboration with the National Centre, the Books Council decided to commission a range of 20 books for that purpose, and the Amdani series was launched. By now, publishers in Wales are regularly producing books for the series, and there are 40 titles available. Thanks to the New Audiences Grant funding from Creative Wales, we have been able to support the production of an audiobook for every title in the series, so that you can soon enjoy these stories through your headphones as well as on paper.”

Helen Prosser, Director of Teaching and Learning at the National Centre for Learning Welsh, said: “Creating opportunities for our learners to enjoy using their Welsh outside the classroom is a crucial part of our work at the Centre, and the Amdani series is extremely popular.

“The wide selection of entertaining books means that there will be a book for you to enjoy, whether you are just starting to learn, or are a confident speaker.

“The audiobooks will enable our learners to gain confidence by hearing the language, and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with the Books Council to introduce even more titles to the series.”

Titles in the Amdani series are available from bookshops or to borrow from your local library. Digital formats, such as e-books and audiobooks, are available to buy from Ffolio.cymru with new audiobook titles to be added throughout the year. Shoppers are able to choose a bookshop to benefit from their purchase from Ffolio.

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£400,000 to create new opportunities and develop new audiences in the publishing sector in Wales

Publishing success for families’ storybook

Stories of Wales and Africa: Publishing success for families’ storybook

Families and children from the North Wales Africa Society will see their own story in print this year as Y Lolfa prepares to publish The Fish Princess – a story created by the families through workshops with author Casia Wiliam and illustrator Jac Jones.

The project was coordinated by the BLAS programme at Bangor’s Pontio Arts Centre, which has a long-standing relationship with the North Wales Africa Society. It was one of a number of activities which received funding from the Books Council of Wales’ New Audiences Grant in spring 2022.

The Fish Princess was created during a series of workshops with Welsh and African artists, exploring traditional African and Welsh ideas and stories, and different storytelling formats. Children’s author Casia Wiliam then worked with the families to create a brand-new story, taking inspiration from the workshops and weaving African and Welsh traditions and ideas into the narrative. Once the story was complete, illustrator Jac Jones worked with the children and families to explore the characters and how they would look in the finished story.

Welsh publishing house Y Lolfa, with the support of a publishing grant from the Books Council of Wales, will publish the book in both Welsh and English, and it will be available to buy in the spring.

Dr Salamatu J Fada, Director of the North Wales Africa Society, said: “This is one project that brought both the Welsh culture, and some parts of the African cultures of Ghana and Nigeria specifically, together. The families all enjoyed developing the ideas with the guidance of the diverse facilitators who were involved in the project. We are immensely pleased with the process and can’t wait to see the published book. Diolch yn fawr.”

The project also created opportunities for Trainee Tutors to take part and develop their own facilitation skills for community and collaborative projects in the future. Olaitan Olawande and Marie-Pascale were Trainee Tutors as part of the scheme, working with the families to develop their story.

Olaitan said: “It was an amazing experience to see how families worked together to create a story. The input from different generations meant there were some new ideas and concepts that could be created. I think working with families and this process of storytelling allows for open conversations between families; it can provide a space for children and parents to share novel and pre-existing stories whilst also applying them to some real-life challenges. Imagination is limitless and the importance of family can be shown in the story-making process. The published book is one that will go down in history; as the saying goes, ‘it takes a village’ to make something truly amazing.”

Marie-Pascale said: “I’m happy to have been a part of this MARRIAGE OF CULTURES that led to so many smiles and to the cognitive involvement of our children: being tomorrow’s ADULTS that will understand the unifying BEAUTY OF DIVERSITY and uphold it.”

Author Casia Wiliam said: “Together, these families have created a brand-new tale that is full of old magic and fantasy. It weaves together Wales and Ghana, intertwining Welsh and African traditional ideas and narratives. It’s a special story, and I must admit that this has been one of the most fun and exciting projects I have been part of as an author. I can’t wait to hear how the families respond to the book when it is published in Welsh and English in the spring.”

Arwel Jones, Head of Publishing Development at the Books Council of Wales, said: “It’s been wonderful to see this project develop as one of the recipients of the New Audiences Grant. It started as a group of families and children exploring ideas and their imaginations to celebrate and bring together Welsh and African cultures through stories. By the spring there will be a finished book that will be published by Y Lolfa and available in bookshops for families across Wales to enjoy.”

The Books Council of Wales’ New Audiences Grant has awarded funding to 43 different projects to create new opportunities and develop new audiences within the publishing sector in Wales, thanks to support from Creative Wales.

The purpose of the grant is to strengthen and diversify the parts of the publishing industry the Books Council currently supports, and the grants specifically prioritise new publishing ventures, authors and audiences.