Announcing the 2023 Wales Book of the Year Award Shortlist

Published Sun 21 May 2023 - By Literature Wales
Announcing the 2023 Wales Book of the Year Award Shortlist
Following another exceptional year of writing and publishing in Wales, Literature Wales is thrilled to reveal which books have impressed the judges and reached the Wales Book of the Year 2023 shortlist.

The Wales Book of the Year Award is an annual prize celebrating outstanding literary talent from Wales across many genres and in both English and Welsh. There are four categories in each language – PoetryFictionCreative Non-fiction, and Children & Young People, with one of the four category winners announced as the Overall Winner, and claiming the title Wales Book of the Year 2023.

Today, Sunday 21 May, on BBC Radio Wales with Lynn Bowles, Judge Mike Parker revealed the names of the 12 books that have been selected for the shortlist by the panel. Earlier in the day, the Welsh-language shortlist was announced on Ffion Dafis’ new arts programme on BBC Radio Cymru.

Literature Wales’ Executive Director, Claire Furlong, said:

 “It is a huge honour to announce the Wales Book of the Year shortlist. The Award is one of the highlights of the literary calendar in Wales, and it is most certainly one of our highlights as an organisation. It is a pleasure to co-celebrate Welsh Literature with writers, publishers, readers, and the wholelLiterary sector. There is still time to read the Books before we find out this year’s winners, and I encourage you all to go ahead and read the shortlist, and wherever you are – at the library, the office, or at the school gate – discuss, celebrate, and encourage others to do the same.”

The Shortlist

The Poetry Award

As If To Sing, Paul Henry (Seren Poetry Wales Press Ltd)

The language of bees, Rae Howells (Parthian Books)

A Marginal Sea, Zoë Skoulding (Carcanet Press)


The Creative Non-fiction Award

And… a memoir of my mother, Isabel Adonis (Black Bee Books)

The Sound of Being Human: How Music Shapes Our Lives, Jude Rogers (White Rabbit)

Original Sins, Matt Rowland-Hill (Chatto & Windus)


The Rhys Davies’ Trust Fiction Award

This Is Not Who We Are, Sophie Buchaillard (Seren Poetry Wales Press Ltd)

Fannie, Rebecca F. John (Honno Ltd.)

Drift, Caryl Lewis (Doubleday – Transworld, Penguin Random House)


The Children & Young People Award

The Mab, Various Authors (Unbound)

The Last Firefox, Lee Newbery (Penguin Random House Children’s)

When The War Came Home, Lesley Parr (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)


The Judges

An independent panel of judges is appointed to read, discuss, and select a shortlist every year. This year’s English-language judging panel includes BAFTA-winning actress and writer Emily Burnett; author and teacher Emma Smith-Barton; poet and editor Kristian Evans and former Wales Book of the Year category winner, writer Mike Parker. 

Judge Mike Parker said:

“From fact to fiction, poetry to prose, the standard of this year’s Wales Book of the Year shortlist is extraordinarily high.  To arrive at it, we had to lose wonderful books in every single category – it was a very hard-fought battle, and a supremely intense discussion.  Picking the winners will be an even tougher challenge!”

The Welsh-language Shortlist

The Poetry Award

Tosturi, Menna Elfyn (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas)

Y Lôn Hir Iawn, Osian Wyn Owen (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas)

Anwyddoldeb, Elinor Wyn Reynolds (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas)


The Creative Non-fiction Award

Sgen I’m Syniad – Snogs, Secs, Sens, Gwenllian Ellis (Y Lolfa)

Cylchu Cymru, Gareth Evans-Jones (Y Lolfa)

Cerdded y Caeau, Rhian Parry (Y Lolfa)


The Fiction Award

Pumed Gainc y Mabinogi, Peredur Glyn (Y Lolfa)

Rhyngom, Sioned Erin Hughes (Y Lolfa)

Pridd, Llŷr Titus (Gwasg y Bwthyn)


The Children & Young People Award

Dwi Eisiau Bod yn Ddeinosor, Luned Aaron a Huw Aaron (Atebol)

Byd Bach Dy Hun, Sioned Medi Evans (Y Lolfa)

Powell, Manon Steffan Ros (Y Lolfa)


The Welsh-language judges are award-winning poet, author, and editor Ceri Wyn Joneswriter and winner of Wales Book of the Year 2021 Megan Angharad Hunter; former comedy commissioner, author and producer Sioned Wiliam and Mudiad Meithrin trustee and diversity and inclusion promoter Savanna Jones.  


The Next Steps

For the first time in four years, Literature Wales is hosting a live ceremony to celebrate the Writers’ talents this year at The Tramshed in Cardiff on Thursday evening 13 July. A total of £14,000 will be shared between the winners. The winner, or winners, of each category will be receiving an Award of £1,000 and the main winners will receive an additional £3,000. Each winner will also receive an iconic Wales Book of the Year trophy, designed by artist and blacksmith Angharad Pearce JonesAs well as announcing the winner in each category and the main winner, we will hear which books are the public’s favourites as the names of the winners of the Wales Arts Review and Golwg360’s People’s Choice Awards are announced. Visit your local book shop or library now to grab your copies before voting for your favourites.

Literature Wales is grateful for the support of the award’s sponsors and partners: Arts Council of Wales, Welsh Government, The Rhys Davies Trust, Books Council of Wales, Wales Arts Review, Golwg360 and BBC Cymru Wales. To find out more about the award and those books which have reached the shortlist, visit the Wales Book of the Year website.