NEW WELSH WRITING AWARDS 2021: Shortlist Announced

The Seventh Year of the Prize

The shortlisted and highly commended entries in the New Welsh Writing Awards 2021: Rheidol Prize for Prose with a Welsh Theme or Setting were revealed earlier today.

This year, the shortlist and highly commended list, which contain an equal balance of non-fiction and fiction, are again dominated by women. Furthermore, 2021 has also broken all previous records with the sheer volume of entries received.

For the seventh consecutive year, New Welsh Review editor Gwen Davies has judged the awards. She commented earlier:

“I am particularly delighted to welcome two young female writers to the fold of New Welsh Review and congratulate them on their nominations. Their work was easily good enough to be highly commended in the main prize and they are deserving joint winners of our new 18 to 25-year category. Return to Water by Kathryn Tann is a clear, calm and positive nonfiction blended memoir about a young woman’s struggle with acne and the recovery of her physical confidence and body image through swimming. It is particularly exciting that Penny Lewis, at just eighteen, took the opportunity of lockdown’s educational disruption to write an engaging and quirky novella set on the main road bisecting her own village of Llanarth, near Aberaeron.”

This is the third occasion on which the award has been sponsored by long-term subscriber Richard Powell, who says he is “impressed by the quality, range and immediacy of the entries.” He strongly feels that “Wales has a great deal to offer,” and believes the Prize “exists to… bring it to a wider public.” He hopes “the writers will reach the readers they deserve.”

The shortlisted and highly commended writers are listed below in alphabetical order by the author’s last name:


Jasmine Donahaye (Lledrod, Wales) Reading the Signs 
Jack Harris (London/Builth Wells) The Rebeccas 
João Morais (Cardiff, Wales) Festival of the Ghost


Elizabeth Griffiths (Lincolnshire, England) Landmark 
Sybilla Harvey (Brooklyn, US) The Kaiser and the River
Rhiannon Hooson (Presteigne, Wales) Archipelago
Penny Lewis* (Aberarth, Wales) The Lovespoons 
Kathryn Tann(Huddersfield/Bridgend, Wales) Return to Water  

*Kathryn Tann and Penny Lewis are also joint winners of the 18–25-year-old category, a new category for this year’s awards.

The over-all winner of the competition will receive £1,000 cash as an advance against e-publication by New Welsh Review under their New Welsh Rarebyte imprint and a positive critique by leading literary agent Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown. The second prize is a four-night stay at Literature Wales’ Nant Writers’ Retreat Cottage, located within the grounds of Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre in Llanystumdwy, North Wales, plus the first option on a publishing deal with New Welsh Rarebyte. The third prize is a residential two-night stay at Gladstone’s Library in Flintshire, North Wales, and first option on a publishing deal with New Welsh Rarebyte.

The winners will be announced at a free online ceremony at 6pm on Friday 28th May 2021, an event to be hosted by New Welsh Review chair Andrew Green. Everyone is welcome to attend.

The Awards are open to all writers based in the UK and Ireland plus those who live overseas who have been educated in Wales. 

Image (above) © 2021 New Welsh Review

Categories: Literary Awards

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7 replies

  1. I can honestly say I’ve not heard of any of these authors. Have you?

  2. Love the name of the imprint – so clever!

  3. That’s a nice prize…though I’m sure the notoriety is even more helpful!


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