The Tir na n-Og and books in Wales

Want to know more about the Tir Na n-Og award? Of course you do!

The award was set up by the Welsh Books Council in 1976, for an English-language book with a Welsh setting.

Why is this important? Well, I read voraciously growing up, and I can’t remember reading a single book set in Wales. Unless you count the single Famous Five story where the gang are sent to Wales and stay on a farm with people who say ‘Look you’ at the end of each sentence (which, at the time, I was convinced must be a misprint because I’d never heard of the phrase.)

People like me didn’t have stories: that’s the lesson I learned. And that is why it’s so exciting to be on this shortlist. Not to mention that there have been some fantastic winners over the years. (The first person to win the award was Susan Cooper for The Grey King – part of The Dark is Rising series, which is one of my favourite fantasy series ever.)

Here’s this year’s shortlist. It is fearsomely good, full of dragons, rumours of dragons, and magic. If you haven’t read all these books yet, I recommend them.

The winner will be announced on the Radio Wales Arts Show, 6.30pm 3rd July.

In the meantime, here are some videos made by the lovely people at the Welsh Books Council, in which you can see all the shortlisted authors talking about their books and their inspiration.

I’ll be talking more about growing up in Wales on the Pontypridd online book festival this Saturday, 30th May. It’s free to watch so do drop in if you can.