English-language shortlist revealed for Wales’ oldest children’s book award – Tir na n-Og 2022

Gripping wartime drama… a retelling of ancient legends… a reflective tale of the healing power of nature, and a colourful cast of characters from Welsh history. 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, 11 March at 18:30pm. This year’s awards are an eclectic mix of the very best of stories from Wales and stories of Wales published in 2021.

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:

Welsh Fairy Tales, Myths and Legends by Claire Fayers (Scholastic, 2021)
‘A beautiful book packed full of wonderful, intriguing and exciting stories of Welsh fairy tales, myths and legends, retold with great warmth and full of humour.’

10 Stories from Welsh History that everyone should know by Ifan Morgan Jones (Illustrations by Telor Gwyn) (Dragon Press, 2021)
‘A wonderful introduction to 10 key figures and events in the history of our country, with information presented in a very accessible and readable style, with eye-catching illustrations.’

Swan Song by Gill Lewis (Barrington Stoke Ltd, 2021)
‘A beautiful and emotive book about the healing power of nature that, despite its lyrical and elegant gentleness, has a powerful message of hope and recovery.’

The Valley of Lost Secrets by Lesley Parr (Bloomsbury Publishing Ltd, 2021)
‘A gripping wartime drama set in the south Wales valleys, full of mystery and intrigue, but also kindness and friendship.’

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 Alex Ball (Chair), Jannat Ahmed, Simon Fisher and Lydia Bundy – bring with them a wealth of experience and passion for children’s books.

The Chair of the English-language judging panel, Alexandra Ball, said: “It has been a pleasure to be part of the Tir na n-Og judging process again this year. As a librarian, it has been wonderful to discover authors and titles with such a variety of content with authentic Welsh dimensions, many in beautiful settings. I have recommended so many of these books to friends, family and young readers I meet in the library. It is always joyful to share wonderful titles with a new audience and share the opportunity to see our culture, history and country reflected between the covers of a good read.”

Helgard Krause, Chief Executive of the Books Council of Wales, said: “Again this year, we have a shortlist of such a high standard – and I am very glad that I do not have to choose a winner from this wonderful selection! Many congratulations to everyone involved in creating these shortlisted titles. It is telling that this year four books were shortlisted instead of the usual three – a testament to the number of fantastic books in this year’s prize.”

The shortlisted titles for the Welsh-language Tir na n-Og Awards 2022 were announced on the Heno programme on S4C on Thursday, 10 March.

The shortlisted titles in the Welsh-langauge primary age category are Gwil Garw a’r Carchar Crisial (Gwil Garw and the Crystal Prison) by Huw Aaron (Llyfrau Broga), Sara Mai a Lleidr y Neidr (Sara Mai and the Snake Thief) by Casia Wiliam (Y Lolfa), and Gwag y Nos (Empty at Night) by Sioned Wyn Roberts (Atebol).

The books shortlisted in the Welsh-language secondary age category are Hanes yn y Tir (History Grounded) by Elin Jones (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch), Y Pump (The Five), ed. Elgan Rhys (Y Lolfa), and Fi ac Aaron Ramsey (Me and Aaron Ramsey) by Manon Steffan Ros (Y Lolfa).

The winners of the Welsh-language categories will be announced at the Urdd Eisteddfod in Denbighshire on Thursday, 2 June, while the winning English-language title will be revealed on the Radio Wales Arts Show on Friday, 20 May.

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