The three writers shortlisted were revealed at the Hay Festival
Three women writers have been chosen for the shortlist of the £10,000 Wales Book of the Year.
Deborah Kay Davies with her first collection of short stories and poet Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch make the list, along with fiction writer Gee Williams.
The three, who were selected from a longlist of 10, were confirmed at the Hay Literary Festival in Powys on Monday.
The eventual winner will be announced at a ceremony in Cardiff next month.
Two times previous winner Robert Minhinnick and critic and historian Dai Smith were among those who failed to make the move from longlist to shortlist.
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.
He said: "If there's one thing that these three short-listed works have in common, it is their precise, almost forensic, use of language to create whole worlds into which the reader is utterly seduced.
"They are all dazzling demonstrations of how to convey huge truths with cool, clear language and uncluttered ideas: nothing is superfluous.
"Picking a winner is going to be terrible, for they all deserve it."
Deborah Kay Davies lives in Pontypool and debut collection of short stories Grace, Tamar and Lazlo the Beautiful is set in the eastern valleys of south Wales from 1970 until the present day.
Part fantasy, part social history, it tells the story of two sisters, Grace and Tamar, their volatile childhood and lifelong sibling rivalry
Welsh Book of the Year 2009 Shortlist
Deborah Kay Davies - Grace, Tamar and Lazlo the Beautiful
Gee Williams - Blood etc
Samantha Wynne Rhydderch - Not in these shoes
Gee Williams lives in Cheshire and her work Blood Etc is a collection of short stories set mainly in the north east corner of Wales, as well as parts of England and America. Its main themes include issues of power and balance, class conflict, fatherhood and nature.
Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch, from New Quay in Ceredigion, makes the prize shortlist with her debut collection Not in These Shoes introduces a young poet with a remarkable range of imaginative tactics at her disposal.
The 2009 winner of the award funded by the Arts Council of Wales will be unveiled at a ceremony at St David's Hotel in Cardiff on 15 June.
The three authors to make the shortlist for the Welsh Language Book of Year 2009 are Wiliam Owen Roberts, Geraint V Jones and Hefin Wyn.
The Welsh-language judges are Luned Emyr, Derec Llwyd Morgan and Gwyn Thomas.