Book of the Year 2011
Novels written by two lecturers in the School of Welsh have been selected for the long list of the Book of the Year 2011 competition.
The ten Welsh language books on the long list this year include Caersaint, the popular humorous novel by Angharad Price, and Gwenddydd, which won the Prose Medal at last year’s National Eisteddfod for Jerry Hunter.
They are both on the staff of the School of Welsh in Bangor and they both work together, but the themes of their novels are very different.
Her love for the town of Caernarfon was the inspiration behind Angharad’s latest novel. In the novel Caersaint – which is the old name of the town – she follows the ups and downs of the main character, Jaman Jones, when he returns to the area after inheriting a house in the town.
Caersaint is described as a ‘searing commentary on life in a Welsh town at the beginning of the 21st century’, whereas the novel Gwenddydd deals with the effects of war on individuals, families, and society. The novel tells the harrowing story of a soldier’s relationship with his sister, who is a nurse, and the horror of their experiences during the Second World War.
“With war still plaguing our world, we often hear about the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder on the lives of soldiers and former soldiers,” says Dr Hunter, who is originally from Ohio in the United States. “Of course, this is nothing new; indeed medieval Welsh language poets and story-tellers had ways of discussing the same issue.
“I wanted to highlight the perennial aspect of that story by setting it in a recent – or more recent – time.”
“When students come to Bangor to study Welsh they have the opportunity to be taught by some of Wales' leading writer,” says Professor Peredur Lynch, head of the School of Welsh. “These latest novels by Angharad Price and Jerry Hunter are indicative of the extraordinary creative energy that we currently have in the School of Welsh. Their success also demonstrates that Bangor is at the forefront of contemporary literature.”
The winning author will receive £10,000. The shortlist will be announced in May and the winner will be announced in an awards ceremony in Cardiff in July.
Publication date: 13 August 2012