Unique take on the Tales of The Mabinogi Wins Major Award
Elwyn Jones (Chief Executive Welsh Books Council), Cllr Julia Magill (Cardiff City Council), Daniel Morden, David Barker (Chair WBC Children's Books Panel).
Photo: Dan Staveley.
The Welsh Books Council has announced the name of the winner of the 2013 Tir na n-Og English Award. In a prestigious event at Cardiff Central Library on 16 May, the award was presented to Daniel Morden for his collection of stories, Tree of Leaf and Flame (Pont Books).
Daniel Morden was born in Cwmbrân and studied English and Drama at the University of London. For many years Daniel has travelled the world as a professional storyteller visiting art centres, theatres, libraries, museums and festivals. He has told Welsh tales in St Donat’s and at St David’s, from the Arctic to the Pacific and the Caribbean. His stories, ranging from nursery tales to Welsh myths, ghost stories to the Odyssey, are broadcast regularly on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Choice TV. Daniel is also a Writer on Tour with Literature Wales.
A gifted and popular storyteller, Daniel’s first book, Weird Tales from the Storyteller , was shortlisted for the Tir na n-Og English-language award in 2004. He then went on to win the award in 2007 for Dark Tales from the Woods .
Daniel Morden said: ‘I am overjoyed that Tree of Leaf and Flame has won. Credit is due to my editor, Viv Sayer, and my wonderful illustrator, Brett Breckon. I am very proud of the book. Behind my storytelling and my writing is a passion for story. I want everyone to know and enjoy these ancient, gripping tales. Anything that helps spread the word is welcome!’
Tracey Paddon, Chair of the English-language Judging Panel, said of the winning title:
‘ Tree of Leaf and Flame by Daniel Morden is a quality production with beautiful and gory illustrations . . . The stories are a fresh and exciting retelling of the Mabinogi, with modern dialogue . . . What was particularly appealing throughout the book was that Daniel the storyteller can be heard in it, especially where you can hear him pause with "I wish I could say . . . but I cannot." Just magic!’
The Tir na n-Og English-language Award – which recognises the exceptional quality of books with a Welsh background for children and young people – is sponsored by CILIP Wales (The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals), and the award ceremony formed part of their annual conference.
Elwyn Jones, Chief Executive of the Welsh Books Council, said: ‘There was a wealth of books to be considered for this year’s Tir na n-Og Award, reflecting the quality and range of books available for children. It is with great pleasure that we warmly congratulate Daniel Morden and Pont Books on their achievement.’
Popular and Well-known Broadcasters Win Top Awards
The Welsh Books Council has announced the winners of the 2013 Tir na n-Og Welsh awards. In a special ceremony at the Pembrokeshire National Urdd Eisteddfod on Thursday afternoon, 30 May, awards were presented to Iolo Williams and Bethan Wyn Jones for Cynefin yr Ardd (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch), and to Alun Wyn Bevan for his book Y Gêmau Olympaidd a Champau’r Cymry (Gomer Press).
The Tir na n-Og awards are presented annually by the Welsh Books Council to the authors of the best books for children and young people published during the previous year. The awards were established in 1976 and, over the years, they have been presented to some of Wales’s leading authors of children’s books.
The primary school category was won by Iolo Williams and Bethan Wyn Jones for Cynefin yr Ardd – a delightful book for children and adults alike to learn to enjoy all the wildlife in the garden habitat: the animals, birds, insects, reptiles, trees, shrubs, flowers and herbs that inhabit the rich areas on our doorstep.
Bethan was brought up in Talwrn, Anglesey. She’s a botanist, a broadcaster, a weekly columnist in the Daily Post and an experienced author of many nature books.
Bethan said: ‘I’m delighted to win this prestigious award. I hadn’t even realised that we were eligible for the prize, so it was a very nice surprise to reach the short list, let alone to win! We had a lot of fun preparing the book. I hope it will spark an interest in children not only to read about nature but to venture to the outside world and discover the wonders of nature for themselves. Thank you very much for this award – I truly appreciate the honour, and a special thank you to Gwasg Carreg Gwalch for publishing the work.’
Born in Builth Wells, Iolo spent most of his childhood in Llanwddyn. After gaining an ecology degree, he worked for a short time in farming and forestry before joining the staff of the RSPB in mid-Wales. Frequently asked to contribute to radio and television, he left the RSPB to work in the broadcasting industry. Since then he has become well known as a TV presenter and regularly presents a number of wildlife and open-air programmes in both English and Welsh on BBC and S4C.
Iolo said: ‘Winning the award came as a complete surprise to begin with, but it’s an honour to have won it. Although Bethan and I are named on the cover of the book, it was a team effort, and thanks go to Elgan, Gordon and all at Carreg Gwalch. It was a pleasure working with them.’
Alun Wyn Bevan won the secondary school category for his wonderful book to celebrate the London 2012 Olympics, Y Gêmau Olympaidd a Champau’r Cymry . The book is full of intriguing facts and includes some of the Games's most interesting and remarkable stories over the years, with an emphasis on the Welsh connection.
Alun Wyn Bevan is an experienced broadcaster, rugby commentator and retired rugby referee. He is originally from Brynaman, but now lives in Neath. He is also highly regarded as a sports author, with his books Stradey Stories , St Helen's Stories and Grav in his Own Words proving to be bestsellers.
Alun said: ‘It is an honour and a pleasure to win this prestigious award. While it’s the author who gets recognised for his achievement, I would like to sincerely thank my editor, illustrator, photographer and Gomer Press for their contribution.’
Cynefin yr Ardd is published by Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, Llanrwst, and Y Gêmau Olympaidd a Champau’r Cymry is published by Gomer Press, Llandysul.
Elwyn Jones, Chief Executive of the Welsh Books Council, said: ‘Our warm congratulations go to the authors and publishers on their success in winning the Welsh-language Tir na n-Og awards 2013. The standard of the books on the short list were particularly high this year, reflecting the wide variety of titles published. We warmly congratulate the three authors, and publishers Carreg Gwalch and Gomer, on their success.’
The Tir na n-Og awards are sponsored by CILIP Cymru/Wales (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals), together with Cymdeithas Lyfrau Ceredigion. With the support of the Urdd, the awards were presented at their National Eisteddfod.
TIR NA N-OG AWARDS
The Tir na n-Og Awards were established in 1976 with the intention of raising the standard of children's and young people's books and to encourage the buying and reading of good books. Three awards are presented annually by the Welsh Books Council and are sponsored by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals Cymru/Wales and Cymdeithas Lyfrau Ceredigion.
(i) English-language books
The best English-language book of the year with an authentic Welsh background. Fiction and factual books originally in English are eligible. Translations from Welsh or any other language are not eligible.
(ii) Welsh-language books - Primary Sector
Original Welsh-language books, aimed at the primary sector.
(iii) Welsh-language books - Secondary Sector
Original Welsh-language books, aimed at the secondary sector.
The 2013 shortlisted titles for the Best English-language Book are:
Best English-language Book Category
Friends at War – Alan Lambert (Pont)
The Gardening Pirates – Ruth Morgan and Chris Glynn (Pont)
Tree of Leaf and Flame – Daniel Morden with illustrations by Brett Breckon (Pont)
Tracey Paddon, Chair of the English-language Selection Panel, said of the shortlisted titles, 'The Gardening Pirates by Ruth Morgan and Chris Glynn is an enchanting picture book. A simple story with deceptively simple illustrations, including the 17 types of rain! ... Definitely a book to share again and again, as the reader will discover something new every time. Friends at War by Alan Lambert was the "unputdownable" sequel to Roberto’s War, a previously shortlisted title. Tree of Leaf and Flame by Daniel Morden is a quality production with beautiful and gory illustrations ... The stories are a fresh and exciting retelling of the Mabinogi, with modern dialogue ... What was particularly appealing throughout the book was that Daniel the storyteller can be heard throughout, especially where you can hear him pause with "I wish I could say ... but I cannot." Just magic!'
Elwyn Jones, Chief Executive of the Books Council, said, ‘We were very pleased with the standard and variety of books published for children and young people during the last year and were delighted to have such strong contenders on the shortlist for the 2013 awards. Our warm congratulations go to the authors, illustrators and publishers involved and we hope that children, young people and adults from all across Wales enjoy reading these wonderful books.’
The Tir na n-Og Awards were established in 1976 with the intention of raising the standards of children’s and young people’s books in Wales, and to encourage the buying and reading of good books. Three awards are presented annually by the Books Council and are sponsored by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals Cymru/Wales and Cymdeithas Lyfrau Ceredigion.
There are three awards: the best English-language book of the year with an authentic Welsh background, the best Welsh-language book for the primary sector and the best Welsh-language book for the secondary sector.
The shortlists for the two 2013 Welsh-language categories are:
Best Welsh-language Primary Category
Coed Du (Cyfres Strach) – Gwenno Hughes (Gomer)
Cynefin yr Ardd – Bethan Wyn Jones and Iolo Williams (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch)
Gelert yn Galw (Cyfres Swigod) – Helen Emanuel Davies (Gomer)
Best Welsh-language Secondary Category
Dim (Cyfres y Dderwen) – Dafydd Chilton (Y Lolfa)
Y Gêmau Olympaidd a Champau’r Cymry – Alun Wyn Bevan (Gomer)
Pentre Saith (Cyfres y Dderwen) – Ceri Elen (Y Lolfa)
Full details and reviews of the books can be viewed on www.gwales.com.
The 2012 Tir na n-Og Awards
The 2011 Tir na n-Og Awards
The 2010 Tir na n-Og Awards
The 2009 Tir na n-Og Awards
The 2008 Tir na n-Og Awards
The 2007 Tir na n-Og Awards
Tir na n-Og Awards - Past Winners
Tir na n-Og Winner 2013