Page last updated at 09:54 GMT, Thursday, 23 April 2009 10:54 UK

Five poets listed for book prize

Robert Minhinnick
Robert Minhinnick has won the literary award twice before

Former winner Robert Minhinnick is one of five poets on the longlist for the £10,000 Wales Book of the Year.

Minhinnick scooped Wales' premier writing award in 1993 and 2006 and is listed this time for his collection of poems, King Driftwood.

Fellow established poets Sheenagh Pugh and Matthew Francis and newcomers Zoe Skoulding and Samantha Wynne Rhydderch also make the longlist of 10.

The shortlist will be announced next month at the Hay Literary Festival.

Novelists Joe Dunthorne and Stephen May are also on the longlist, competing with their debut novels about adolescence, while Deborah Kay Davies and Gee Williams are featured for their short story collections.

Critic and historian Dai Smith is nominated for his biography on Welsh cultural thinker and author, Raymond Williams.

Welsh Book of the Year 2009 Longlist

Deborah Kay Davies - Grace, Tamar and Lazlo the Beautiful
Joe Dunthorne - Submarine
Matthew Francis - Mandeville
Stephen May - TAG
Robert Minhinnick - King Driftwood
Sheenagh Pugh - Long-haul Travellers
Zoe Skoulding - Remains of a Future City
Dai Smith - Raymond Williams: A Warrior's Tale
Gee Williams - Blood etc
Samantha Wynne Rhydderch - Not in these shoes

The judges for the English-language award are poet, critic and lecturer at the University of Wales, Tiffany Atkinson, poet and essayist John Barnie and broadcaster and travel writer Mike Parker.

Mr Parker, who is the chair of the judges, said they were "absolutely united in our excitement about the longlist, especially its variety".

"That half of the 10 are books of verse is usual for a major award, we realise, but we all felt very strongly that this reflects the buoyant state of poetry in Wales right now.

"Times are hard, and, more than ever, we need the clear vision and pure truths of poetry, and here we have some of the best."


The eventual winner of the annual award which is administered by Academi, and funded by the Arts Council of Wales will be announced at a ceremony at St David's Hotel in Cardiff on 15 June.

Academi chief executive Peter Finch said the award highlights "the fighting shape the literature of Wales is in."

Last year's winner was Cardiff-born Dannie Abse for his work The Presence which focussed on the immediate aftermath and coping with his grief after his wife Joan was killed in a car crash.

Former Culture Minister Rhodri Glyn Thomas had to apologise after mistakenly naming the wrong winner at the prize ceremony.

The 10 authors being considered for the Welsh Language Book of Year 2009 are Mared Lewis, Myrddin ap Dafydd, Geraint Vaughan Jones, William Owen Roberts, Robyn Léwis, Aled Jones Williams, Harri Parri, Towyn Jones, Gwilym Prys Davies and Hefin Wyn.

The adjudicators are Gwyn Thomas, Derec Llwyd Morgan and Luned Emyr.

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