From Dylan Thomas to Caryl Lewis, Patience Agbabi to Jan Morris, Wales has long been a home to great tales and talented storytellers. 2022 continues the tradition with a flurry of new titles, publishing houses and editors emerging onto the thriving Welsh publishing scene.
In this round-up, we delve into the world of Welsh literature to bring you updates from across the industry. Read on to discover what’s happening at the heart of Welsh publishing, whether that’s work published in Welsh, or work from or about Wales in English.
Welsh Wonders from Llyfrau Broga Books
The Cardiff-based company, Llyfrau Broga Books wants to make fresh and original Welsh and English-language books that help expand our children’s horizons and celebrate our unique Welsh heritage.
As part of their commitment to championing Wales and its culture, they launched Welsh Wonders – a series that celebrates the lives of great, Welsh legends. The first three books are dedicated to singer Shirley Bassey, artist Gwen John and teacher, poet, mariner and campaigner Sarah Jane Rees.
Tir na n-Og Awards
Established in 1976, the Tir na n-Og Awards are the oldest and most popular awards for children's literature in Wales – with past winners including some of Wales' leading authors, from Manon Steffan Ros and Myrddin ap Dafydd, to Jackie Morris, Gareth F. Williams and Catherine Fisher.
Organised by the Department of Children's Books and Reading Promotion, along with the Books Council of Wales, they aim to recognise and celebrate the talent and excellence in the children's publishing industry in Wales.
Every year, the CILIP Cymru (Chartered Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals in Wales) sponsored event chooses three winners from three categories – each winning £1000. The three categories are: Welsh-language primary (aged 4-11); Welsh-language secondary (aged 11-18); and Best English-language book with an authentic Welsh background for primary or secondary children (aged 4-18).
Discover the authors and books who made the 2022 shortlist.
One recent title by Wales-based independent publisher, Aderyn Press, is The Empty Greatcoat, by Rebecca F. John. The tale follows Francis House who enlists as a soldier in the British Army in 1907, aged just 15. Founded by Costa-shortlisted writer and editor, Rebecca F. John, Aderyn Press publishes spooky, historical tales – and aims to create a community of writers and readers who are a force for good in the world. As part of this pledge, Aderyn has partnered with The Penllergare Trust in Swansea and is committed to helping the historical site.
Joint poetry editors at Seren
Bridgend-based company, Seren – who specialise in English-language writing in Wales – have this year welcomed two new editors to their team. Award-winning Welsh poets Zoë Brigley and Rhian Edwards have taken over from Amy Wack as joint poetry editors.
Both Zoë and Rhian’s work has brought them acclaim. Among Zoë’s celebrated works include three Poetry Book Society recommended poetry collections: The Secret, Conquest and Hand & Skull. Rhian, on the other hand, is the winner of the John Tripp Award for Spoken Poetry. As well as being shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2012, her debut collection Clueless Dogs also won Wales Book of the Year in 2013.
The duo will continue the publisher’s long-standing work to celebrate Wales’ talented storytellers, including taking care of Seren’s 2022 list.