Page last updated at 08:04 GMT, Tuesday, 27 May 2008 09:04 UK

Mother's debut book on prize list

Nia Wyn and her son Joe
Nia Wyn wrote her book after she had her son Joe, who has cerebral palsy

A first-time author's memoir which charts her journey after the birth of her disabled son is in the running for the Wales Book of the Year.

Nia Wyn's Blue Sky July is joined on the shortlist by Dannie Abse, whose book helped him overcome his grief after his wife died in a road crash.

The third contender Tom Bullough's novel contrasts the life of two boys growing up in very different worlds.

The shortlist was announced at the Hay Literary Festival in Powys on Monday.

Welsh Culture Minister Rhodri Glyn Thomas, announcing the shortlist for the 10,000 prize, whose overall winner will be announced in July, said the event showed Wales had "arrived" and succeeded in nurturing authors.

The final three for the annual award, which is administered by the Welsh national literature body Academi, were whittled down from about 200 English-language books considered.

Nia Wyn's work deals with her coming to terms with her son Joe's cerebral palsy.

Dannie Abse
Dannie Abse's wife Joan, who was also a writer, died in a car crash in 2005

The writer, who grew up in Prestatyn and now lives in Cardiff, said: "It's an emotional journey from a place of absolute despair and darkness, through acceptance to a place of joy and light.

"Passages in the book are events along that journey."

She has described her book as her "therapy" while she and Joe's father Alex worked to overcome their son's condition and challenge doctors' predictions about the quality of life they could expect for him.

Having been told that Joe would never recognise them and never speak, he is now able to see and talk and attends a mainstream school.

Meanwhile, Cardiff-born poet and writer Dannie Abse's The Presence deals with the immediate aftermath of his wife Joan's death in a car crash in 2005, and coping with his loss.

He said he had "days of sloth" but "just raised moments to write something".

He said: "I hope (without confidence) to articulate unhappiness is to diminish it."

He said originally the writing had not been intended for publication but since people had been kind and responsive, he had been persuaded to make it public.

Bullough's The Claude Glass, which tells the story of two contrasting families living in the Welsh borders through the eyes of their two very different children.

Bullough said both the children who are at the heart of the book were "quite extreme as a perspective".

One was "excessively imaginative" and the other a "feral child" who was also "almost a blank page", he said.

Judge Trevor Fishlock said all the books shortlisted spoke "of the vigour of writing in Wales".

The overall winner and the Welsh-language Book of the Year will be announced in a ceremony in Cardiff in July.

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