Literature Wales has announced the shortlisted books for the 2016 Wales Book of the Year, with poetry, fiction and non-fiction in both English and Welsh nominated. Poets Philip Gross, Paul Henry, and Stephen Payne are competing for the Roland Mathias Poetry Award, while Owen Sheers, Thomas Morris, and Kate Hamer are up for the Rhys Davies Trust Fiction Award. Welsh-language writers include Mererid Hopwood, Gruffudd Owen, and Cen Williams (shortlisted for the Aberystwyth University Welsh-language Poetry Award, or as it’s known in iaith gymraeg, Gwobr Farddoniaeth Prifysgol Aberystwyth,) while novelists Jon Gower, Caryl Lewis, and Dewi Prysor are shortlisted for Gwo
Wales has a rich literary heritage that extends far beyond the achievements of its most famous son, Dylan Thomas, but it is often overshadowed by writers from England, Scotland, and particularly Ireland (which is currently experiencing something of a literary boom.) Of all the nominated writers, novelist, poet and academic Owen Sheers is probably the best-known, as he is a familiar face on British television. Dewi Prysor, meanwhile, is the most notorious, having served time in prison for his part in a firebombing campaign as part of the movement for Welsh independence.