Honouring an Author of Children's Books: The Mary Vaughan Jones Award 2015
Siân Lewis, author of over 250 books for children and young people, is the winner of the Mary Vaughan Jones Award 2015.
The Award – presented once every three years by the Welsh Books Council in memory of the author Mary Vaughan Jones, who died in 1983 – is presented to a person who has made a special contribution to the field of children’s literature in Wales over many years.
Siân Lewis said: ‘It is an honour to receive an award bearing the name of Mary Vaughan Jones. I have a clear recollection of meeting the author in Aberystwyth when I was a young child, and having a lively chat with her about books. Since that day, her work has given immense pleasure to us as a family.’
Siân Lewis was born and bred in the Aberystwyth area. After studying French at Cardiff she returned to her roots, and after a period as a librarian she worked on the Urdd magazines for children before embarking on a career as a freelance author. Over a period of some 20 years, Siân has published approximately 250 titles for children and young people – both original books and adaptations – including novels, factual books and various puzzle books in both Welsh and English.
Siân won the Tir na n-Og Award in 2003 with Cities in the Sea, a book based on the enchanting but disastrous legend of Cantre’r Gwaelod; she also won the 1994 Earthworm Children’s Book Award for Project Kite, a novel for young people following the trials and tribulations of a young boy who tries to protect a red kite’s nest from egg thieves.
Ken Skates, the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: ‘Congratulations to Siân Lewis on winning this significant award. Siân has already enjoyed an outstanding career, and her wide range of books are familiar to households across Wales. I am pleased that the Welsh Books Council are recognising the breadth and influence of her work and its impact on generations of young people, who will continue to pass these elements to their children.’
‘The Books Council is delighted to congratulate Siân Lewis on this honour,’ said Elwyn Jones, the Chief Executive. ‘She is a prolific author who has published over 250 books in both Welsh and English. Her unique contribution to the field of children’s literature in Wales over the past 20 years has inspired generations of children and young people to enjoy books and reading. Siân’s work – both fiction and factual, in Welsh and English – is of a consistently high standard. And being selected to receive the Mary Vaughan Jones Award – the highest accolade in the field of children’s books in Wales – is a reflection of the standard of her work and her sterling contribution to the field.’
The 2015 Mary Vaughan Jones Award will be presented to Siân Lewis at a special ceremony to be held at Ysgol Gynradd Llanilar on Wednesday evening, 29 April. The silver award – portraying some favourite characters from the late Mary Vaughan Jones’s books, such as Sali Mali and Tomos Caradog – has been uniquely designed by Rhiannon of the Welsh Gold Centre, Tregaron.
Since its inception in 1985, the winners of the Mary Vaughan Jones Award have been Ifor Owen, Emily Huws, T. Llew Jones, W. J. Jones, Roger Boore, J. Selwyn Lloyd, Elfyn Pritchard, Mair Wynn Hughes, Angharad Tomos and Jac Jones.
2012 Jac Jones
2009 Angharad Tomos
2006 Mair Wynn Hughes
2003 Elfyn Pritchard
2000 J Selwyn Lloyd
1997 Roger Boore
1994 W J Jones
1991 T Llew Jones
1988 Emily Huws
1985 Ifor Owen
Mary Vaughan Jones (1918-1983)
This award was established as a tribute to Mary Vaughan Jones, one of the main benefactors of children’s literature in Wales.
Mary Vaughan Jones was a gifted infants’ teacher, and her contribution to Welsh education as a teacher and lecturer was considerable. Her main contribution, however, was to children’s literature – for over a period of thirty years. Although she was crippled with arthritis and mainly confined to her home, she continued to write for the younger age-group right up until her death. She published over 40 books and was a regular contributor to the Urdd magazines.
A silver trophy depicting characters from Mary Vaughan Jones’s books, and made by Canolfan Aur Tregaron (The Tregaron Gold Centre).