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Lleucu Roberts wins the Daniel Owen Memorial Prize for best unpublished Welsh-language novel

Lleucu Roberts (Image: Eisteddfod Genedlaethol)

Lleucu Roberts is the winner of this year’s Daniel Owen Memorial Prize.

Ms Roberts was honoured this evening in a ceremony at the BBC’s Central Square in Caerdydd, as part of this year’s Eisteddfod AmGen.

Lleucu’s name will be well-known to Eisteddfod supporters, as she won the magical ‘double’ back in 2014, winning both the Daniel Owen Memorial Prize and the Prose Medal at the Sir Gâr National Eisteddfod. She was the first writer to win both main prose prizes at the same festival.

The judges were Aled Islwyn, Gwen Pritchard Jones and Dafydd Morgan Lewis, and five novels were submitted in what was, according to the judges, a very close competition.

But, Ceridwen and her novel, Hannah-Jane, is this year’s winner, and in his adjudication in the Cyfansoddiadau a Beirniadaethau, Dafydd Morgan Lewis says, “This was the first novel out of the box, and I immediately knew we’d have a winner this year.” And in her adjudication, Gwen Pritchard Jones wrote, “The language is a pleasure to read and it flows smoothly. Ceridwen creates beautiful descriptions.”

This evening’s adjudication was delivered by Aled Islwyn, who said, “At first, this appears to be a conventional, community and comforting story about a fastidious old lady, with secrets lurking in her background, and with her memory failing... as well as the day. But gradually, a more mature depth appears, a depth which is quite moving at times. Thanks in particular to the Japanese element, there’s an original perspective on a number of familiar situations. As the novel progressed, I found myself turning the pages with more and more enthusiasm.

“Thank you to the five authors for some thought-provoking reading material. It’s extremely close between Ceridwen and Mursen: two excellent writers and two wonderfully similar novels in terms of themes and quality. It’s been a difficult choice, but after much consideration, we agree that Hannah-Jane by Ceridwen is the winner of this year's award.”

Lleucu is originally from Llanfihangel Genau’r Glyn (Llandre) in Ceredigion, but has lived in Rhostryfan near Caernarfon for nearly three decades.

Her work includes seven novels and two volumes of short stories for adults and eight novels for children and young people. She won the Urdd Eisteddfod chair at Pwllheli in 1982, has won the Tir na n-Og prize twice for her novels for young people, Annwyl Smotyn Bach and Stwff, and the Daniel Owen memorial prize (for her novel Rhwng Edafedd) and the fiction medal (for Saith Oes Efa, a volume of short stories) at the Sir Gâr National Eisteddfod in 2014. She won the Golwg360 people’s prize for Saith Oes Efa as part of the Welsh Book of the Year ceremony in 2015.

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