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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 May 2007, 07:47 GMT 08:47 UK
Climber's writing on award list
Christine Evans, Jim Perrin and Lloyd Jones
The English language prize winner will pick up 10,000
The shortlist of books for the Wales Book of the Year award has been announced at the Hay Festival in Powys.

A collection of poetry by Christine Evans, essays by rock climber and travel writer Jim Perrin and a novel by Lloyd Jones were selected in English.

Katie Gramich of the judging panel said they were "about Wales but with nothing parochial about them".

In Welsh, Robin Chapman's biography of Saunders Lewis and novels by Llwyd Owen and Gwen Pritchard Jones were picked.

The eventual English and Welsh winners will each receive 10,000 in July, with two runners up receiving 1,000 each.

'At your fingertips'

Lloyd Jones' Mr Cassini was described as making a "brilliantly surreal use of humour, highly expressive and readable."

Jones said it gave a "nod" towards the Mabinogion legend but was an "anti-novel".

"When you start writing as a hobby at 50, you can afford to experiment," he told the audience.

Wales Book of the Year logo
Christine Evans Growth Rings
Lloyd Jones' Mr Cassini
Jim Perrin The Climbing Essays
T Robin Chapman Un Bywyd o Blith Nifer
Gwen Pritchard Jones Dygwyl Eneidiau
Llwyd Owen Ffydd Gobaith Cariad

Perrin's writing on climbing spanning 40 years was "quirky and rule-breaking", while Evans' poetry offered a "distinctive vision of Wales and beyond."

Evans, who has lived on the Llyn peninsula for 40 years, said: "Wales has given me more context and confidence. For a writer it's a very welcoming environment."

Of her Growth Rings collection she added: "Almost every poem deals with a moment of discovery or resolution - it marks a moment of growth."

Perrin admitted climbing gave him a chance to study the characters of fellow climbers - and also offered a different perspective on the Welsh landscape.

"It's at your fingertips and if you let go you might die," he said.

"You see every tiny detail; you study it because it's necessary for your descent."

He described how he held his 60th birthday party, 450ft up on the Old Man of Hoy stack in the Orkney islands.

"I invited lots of people and only three turned up!

"We saw the sunset and had to get down by moonlight, with the seals singing, it was a kind of ecstasy - you missed a good party."

The longlists had been announced by Welsh literary body Academi on 2 March and included veteran poet Dannie Abse and Man Booker-nominated writer Sarah Waters.

The prize is administered by Academi, with funding from the Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government.

The two winners in 2006 were Robert Minhinnick for To Babel and Back and Rhys Evans for his biography Gwynfor: Rhag Pob Brad.

20,000 prize for book winners
21 Jun 05 |  Wales


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