WALES BOOK OF THE YEAR 2021: The Shortlist

Hosted once again by Literature Wales

The twelve English-language titles shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year Awards 2021 were revealed on the BBC Radio Wales Arts Show earlier in the month.

The prize, which has four categories in each language – Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-fiction and Children & Young People – with a collective prize fund of £14,000, celebrates outstanding literary talent from Wales across various genres in both English and Welsh.

The books nominated for this year’s English-language awards are:


Tiger Girl, Pascale Petit (Bloodaxe Books)

Come Down, Fiona Sampson (Corsair Poetry)

Road Trip, Marvin Thompson (Peepal Tree Press)



The Memory, Judith Barrow (Honno Press)

Salt, Catrin Kean (Gwasg Gomer)

Wild Spinning Girls, Carol Lovekin (Honno Press)



The Amazingly Astonishing Story, Lucy Gannon (Seren Books)

Slatehead: The ascent of Britain’s Slate climbing scene, Peter Goulding (New Welsh Review)

Lady Charlotte Guest: The Exceptional Life of a Female Industrialist, Victoria Owens (Pen & Sword)



The Infinite, Patience Agbabi (Canongate Books)

Blood Moon, Lucy Cuthew (Walker Books)

Wilde, Eloise Williams (Firefly Press)

These titles are available online from a number of stockists, including: Book Depository, Blackwell’s and Foyles for Books.

The English-language judges for this prestigious award are poet, writer and dancer Tishani Doshi; teacher, reviewer and influencer Scott Evans; Paralympian, Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords, motivational speaker and broadcaster, Tanni Grey-Thompson; and academic, writer, activist and former winner of Wales Book of the Year (2003), Charlotte Williams.

The winners will be revealed on the BBC Radio Wales Arts Show on Friday 31st July from 6.00 pm, where representatives from the judging panel, Literature Wales and literary pundits will join presenter Nicola Heywood-Thomas for this highlight in the Welsh literary calendar. The Welsh-language winners will be announced in a series of programmes on BBC Radio Cymru’s Stiwdio programme between 2nd – 4th August.

The awards ceremony for the competition includes a people’s choice. 


Image © Literature Wales 2021

Categories: Literary Awards

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14 replies

  1. I really enjoy Pascale Petit’s poetry, but I’ve not read this collection yet. It’s great to see her recognised!

  2. I’ve read one! Slatehead was an unusual topic and one that wouldn’t hold much appeal for me given I have no head for heights but I did end up enjoying it

    • It isn’t a book I would have chosen to read as, like you, I have no head for scaling mountains – but perhaps I should give it a go! 🤔

      • You’re closer geographically to the terrain in which he climbs so it would have that resonance. He thinks the quarries of North Wales are beautiful but to a 14 year on holiday in that area, in the rain, they were just so depressing

      • The quarries are absolutely fascinating and well worth a visit but personally I don’t find the surrounding slatey old villages particularly attractive. Places like Blaenau Ffestiniog always seem so gloomy when it rains (which is often). Give me the North Wales coast any day of the week, which I love even more than the majestic hills of Snowdonia. Stunningly beautiful in all weather conditions!

  3. What interesting books! I’ve added Lady Charlotte to my TBR and wish I could read Slatehead out of curiosity.

  4. I like how they’ve arranged all the covers: such complementary colours and designs. Which is a nice way of saying that I hardly recognize a thing. Hee hee

  5. Nice to see something here from Firefly – set up and run by my former editor at Seren, Penny Thomas. Much missed but doing great for children and YA.


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